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Cusco, located in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range, used to be the capital of the Inca Empire between the XIIIth century until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1532.

According to an Inca legend, the city was built by Sapa Inca Pachacuti, the man who transformed the Kingdom of Cusco from a sleepy city-state into the vast empire of Tahuantinsuyu. Many believe that the city was planned as an effigy in the shape of a puma, a sacred animal.

Cusco is breathtaking, not only because of the incredible stone craftmanship of the Incas or the beautiful colonial architecture built on the Incan infrastructure, but also because of its high (3.400m) altitude. AMS (“Acute mountain sickness”) manifests itself thru headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and/or sleep disturbance. Locals offer a tea made of coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca) to cure this.

A final note: Cusco was found in 2006 to be the spot on Earth with the highest ultraviolet light level.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cusco
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca

Scanned from slide, cropped, increased sharpness and saturation, applied Neat Image.

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 260 W: 105 N: 596] (3885)
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