5 Museums You Should Check Out in Cusco

One of Peru’s pride, Cusco, is the cradle of the most beautiful Incan and Spanish archaeological ruins admired all over the world.

The oldest continually inhabited city in the Western hemisphere since its foundation in 1100 A.D., Cusco has been called the most remarkable of all Peruvian cities. The brilliance and ingenuity of its ancestors gave the region a myriad of breathtaking cultural and architectural abundance.

To add to these, the impressive local terrains and the hospitality of Peruvians make Cusco worthy of all the praises and attention it’s getting from locals and tourists alike.

Traversing through the city brings forth nostalgic feelings of Cusco’s rich past while infusing its vibrant present. Colonial structures were built atop the stone foundations of the Incan temples, convents, and churches, including the most important structure, The Temple of the Sun.

To learn more about the city and the region’s rich historical past, here are five museums that are a must to visit when you’re in Cusco.

Choco Museum

The Chocolate Museum. ©Margalit Francus
The Chocolate Museum. ©Margalit Francus

Peru is a great source of cacao products, and one can see this and other facts in the Choco Museum. A tour of the museum educates the visitors about the processes involved in chocolate making, showing its journey from cocoa beans into luscious and creamy chocolate bars.

There are interactive classes and tutorials being conducted to give you an idea of what it’s like to be a chocolate maker. There’s also a wide array of their finished cocoa-based products and souvenirs displayed in the chocolate shop.

Coca Museum

A museum that houses the Incans’ sacred leaf, coca, enlightens the visitors of the many wonders this iconic leaf has and its importance to the Peruvian identity.

Intense discussions on its medicinal and botanical components as well as other facts will also be brought up during the tour.

Qorikancha Site Museum

The Inca wall at Qoricancha. ©Pedro Szekely
The Inca wall at Qoricancha. ©Pedro Szekely

Qorikancha, also known as Temple of the Sun, means “golden courtyard or enclosure.” It is the most revered temple of the Incan Empire, housing priests and other religious members of the church.

It was almost fully covered with gold until the Spanish conquistadores demolished most of Qoricancha and melted the gold. They then built a Spanish Cathedral on its foundation.

Tourists can visit the grounds on the temple site but they can’t climb the original temple walls.

Cusco Planetarium

Cusco Planetarium. ©Info-Peru
Cusco Planetarium. ©Info-Peru

The fascination of the Incans with the sun and the heavenly bodies are given importance and emphasis in the planetarium. It is definitely worth it to check it out before your hiking trip to Machu Picchu so you’d be able to identify the constellations when you see them in the night sky.

Pre-Columbian Art Museum

Restored on June 2003, the museum exhibits the historical masterpieces and arts of the Peruvians through the ages. It used to be an ancient Incan ceremonial court during its time then reconstructed as a mansion of the Spanish conquerors.

The art exhibition halls are composed of gold and precious metal crafts, wooden sculptures, jewelry placed in bone or shell, colonial painting halls, and thematic showrooms of diverse Peruvian origins.

These are just a few of the museums showing Peru’s culture and history. Make sure to visit some or all of them in your visit to Cusco!

About Author

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Aleah
<p>Aleah Taboclaon is a solo traveler and freelance editor and writer. She’s backpacking solo in South America for two years. Read her solo travel tales and tips in http://www.SolitaryWanderer.com and follow her trips on Instagram (aleahphils).</p>

Comments

Margot
February 16, 2016
Beautiful town and very interesting post. Thanks!

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