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Visit the 12 oldest streets of Cusco, Imperial city of the Incas

If you are a curious person and loves finding interesting details when visiting a new place, then Cusco will be perfect for you. Once here, you will notice that old street have turned into neighborhoods. In this blog you will learn what the original name of each neighborhood was. Join us on this tour to the “Twelve oldest streets of Cusco”.

Plaza de Armas del Cusco

Plaza de Armas of Cusco

Twelve oldest streets of Cusco:

Before you do any challenging physical activity, you need to acclimatize to the altitude first. And what a better way to do so than than walking around the historic center of Cusco. Let’s see the oldest streets that you will find here:

1.- Tokokachi

In runasimi (quechua), it means “cave of salt”. Interesting, isn’t it? But, where is it? Nowadays, Tokokachi is known as San Blas Neighborhood, and it is located in the north central area of Cusco. Tullumayo river cross the neighborhood. According to history, some ethnic groups could have lived here even some time before Inca Manco Capac.

San Blas neighborhood still keeps a picture of the Inca and conquerors times. Its architecture is a combination of both periods, and that is why to walk these streets creates a sense of timelessness. It is in San Blas where the best folk artists of the city emerged, and today you can still enjoy the workshops, craft shops, and artisans along the narrow streets. Getting there is very easy since it is only 10 minutes from Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

San Blas, barrio de los artesanos

San Blas, artisans neighborhood

2.- Cayaukachi (“saline that grows”):

This street is located on the south side of Cusco. Nowadays, it is known as Coripata, in the district of Santiago-Cusco. During the Incas time, this area as delimited by Tullumayo river and the Contisuyo route.

If you visit this neighborhood while staying in Cusco, you should also visit the Coripata park. It is a well known area where you can have a good time and relax.

Plaza del distrito de Santiago-Cusco

Plaza of the district of Santiago-Cusco

3.- Munaysenka

In Runamisi (Quechua) and Spanish we can say it means “beautiful edge of the hill”. Nowadays, Munaysenka is the beautiful and elegant neighborhood of La Recoleta. It takes 30 minutes to get there if your starting point is Plaza de Armas.

La Recoleta is characterized for being a united neighborhood. Here you can visit the La Recoleta Temple. If you arrive in May, then you can take part on May 1st celebration.

La Recoleta, fiesta central 01 de mayo

La Recoleta, May 1st

4.- Rimacpampa, “ the talking square”, is now known as “Limacpampa”. It is located some blocks from the temple of the Sun near Tullumayo street (which was a river in the past).

Note:

I order to avoid any confusion, you must know that there are two plazas that have the same name, both close to each other.

Limacpampa Grande (Big):

One is called Limacpampa Grande (big). Here you can notice a monument with the faces of the Inca Empire founders (Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo).

Hatun Rimacpampa, se encuntra la imagen de los fundadores del Cusco

Hatun Rimacpampa, where you see a monument with the faces of the founders of  Cusco.

Limacpampa Chico (small):

The second plaza is called Plaza Limacpampa chico (small). In the middle of the plaza, you can notice an interesting stone with a catlike print. In front of the plaza, there are many tourist stores, hotels, bars, among others. Here you can find an highly recommended place to enjoy with good company of friends place, La Esencia. Young people usually show their art here and offer you hot natural tea to warm yourself.

Huchuy Rimacpampa, pequeña plaza ubicada cerca a la Hatun Rimacpampa

Huchuy Rimacpampa, small plaza located near Hatun Rimacpampa

5- Pumaqchupan (“puma’s tail”). According to a map of Cusco, it has a Puma shape and the tail is located between Tullumayo Av. and El Sol Av., in Paccha. From Plaza de Armas of Cusco, it will take 15 minutes to get there. Don’t forget to take pictures when being under the waters of Paccha.

Paccha de Pumaqchupan en Cusco

Paccha, Pumaqchupan in Cusco

6- Chaquillchaka

This street is located southwest of Cusco. Nowadays, it is located on the well known streets in the center of the city, Santiago and Belen. The places that you can visit are Temple of Belen, where Virgin of Belen and Saint Joseph depart to the Corpus  Christi.

Mamacha Belén

Mamacha Belén

7.- Kolkampata:

It is located on the hillside of Sacsayhuaman. During the Incas time it was the upper end of the Hanan Cusco (“High Cusco”). Nowadays, it is known as San Cristobal neighborhood. Once here, we recommend visiting the Temple of San Cristobal, and see his image. According to popular legend, he was a handsome, tall and strong man, who trying to help a young boy cross the Jordan river was stuck without being able to move. This was because that young boy was Jesus carrying the sins of humankind.

TEmplo de San Cristobal

Temple of San Cristobal

8.- Kantutpata (“at the spray-carnations height”)

In ancient Cusco, Kantutpata was separated from Kolampata through Tullumayo river. This street is known as Choquechaca. When you get to the neighborhood, you can walk around the arcs of Sapantiana. Don’t miss the opportunity to go to Plaza of San Blas, the neighborhood of the local artisans.

Getting to this neighborhood takes 15 minutes from Plaza de Armas.

Sapantiana, Choquechaca- San Blas

Sapantiana, Choquechaca- San Blas

9.- Pijchu (“summit of the hill”)

The original name have suffered some variations. Now, it is called Picchu, and is located 20 minutes from Plaza de Armas of Cusco. It is in Picchu neighborhood where the railway to Machu Picchu is situated.

10.-Karmenka (“shoulder”):

This is how Santa Ana neighborhood used to be called. Here you can observe the Temple of Santa Ana, and the Arc of Santa Ana. Something amazing that it offers is a great view of Cusco. It takes 20 minutes to get here walking from Plaza de Armas of Cusco. If you take the bus, you will get there in 10 minutes approximately.

Cuesta del barrio Santa Ana, Cusco

Uphill of Santa Ana neighborhood, Cusco

11.- Killipata (“kestrel place”). This old neighborhood was located northeast of Pijchu neighborhood.

12.- Wakapunku (“Sanctuary door”), where Astete house is located. It is between Chinchaysuyo road and Huatanay river.

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