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Cuzco

city, feet, temple, incas, gold, sun and silver

CUZCO, Peru, the most famous ancient city of South America. Situated in lat. 31' S. and Ion. 73° 3' W., Cuzco is at an elevation of 11,380 feet above the sea (compare Mount Washington, 6,288 feet, and Mont Blanc, 15,779 feet), and its climate is temperate; but in winter snow often falls. It was the chief town of the Inca tribe (q.v.). The writings left by Spanish conquerors and early chroniclers, upon which subsequent accounts have been based, not only preserved the Indian myths but also added some fanciful details in regard to the place, the inhabitants and their institutions. According to such myths and accounts, the founder of the city was Manco Capac, son of the sun-god; strong walls, we are told, surrounded it, and in its midst was a great square, from which started four roads binding together the °empire of the four quarters of the world° (in the native tongue, °Tahuantinsuye), the first road leading to Puitu, the modern Quito, the second over the Andes, the third to Chile and the fourth to the ocean. The temple of the sun, with the sur rounding dwellings for priests and virgins of the sun, occupied a district of the city called •The Golden.° Five mighty walls enclosed that sacred place. The temple itself was circular in form. Its chief hall, dedicated to the sun-god, contained an image of the sun made of beaten gold; the door-posts were of gold; all the walls were covered with discs of the same metal; and the mummies of the Incas ranged beside the god were decked out with golden ornaments. A door encased in silver led to a chapel dedicated to the moon-goddess, sister and wife of the sun god. Here the images and furnishings were of the white metal, and the mummies of the wives of the Incas were decorated with silver. A part of the site of the temple is now occupied by the church of S. Domingo. The Sacsahuaman fortress overlooked the city from a hill 250 metres high. It had a triple wall, built of enor mous stones. Through deep ravines on either side of the Sacsahuaman hill flow the little rivers of Huatanay and Rodadero, the former passing beneath the houses on the west side of the square, down through the centre of a broad street, where it is crossed by numerous stone bridges, and eventually uniting with the Roda dero. The main part of the old city was built between these two rivers; and even to-day the houses there commonly show the massive masonry of the Inca architecture in their lower portions, though having a modern superstruc ture. Now, as formerly, the streets run at right

angles. The government established by the Incas, though in form a despotic theocracy, was relatively mild and patriarchal. Nowhere and never have there been chiefs of state so suc cessful in monopolizing all power, all initiative. Accordingly, when the Spanish conqueror Pizarro captured Inca Atahualpa, the people were incapable of effective resistance. Ata hualpa's successors were Huascar and Manco. The former was slain; the latter was induced by promises of friendship to lead the Spaniards into Cuzco (15 Nov. 1533). An enormous booty was obtained by despoiling the temples and palaces. Besides gold and silver, the common soldiers received 200 slaves each, and the sacred sun-maidens were treated as a part of the loot. In 1536 the last of the Incas, Manco, besieged the city unsuccessfully. It remained the prin cipal Spanish stronghold for a long time, though Pizarro founded Ciudad de los Reyes (Lima) 6 Jan. 1535. Extremely interesting are the remnants of the fortifications, temple, etc., some of which are constructed of huge masses of rock (one piece 16 feet in height; others 10 and 12 feet) of irregular shape, yet made to fit exactly one into the other with minute accuracy, as in mosaics. Such works, con structed before 1370, are scarcely surpassed by any in the world in respect to their solidity and the skilful workmanship they attest. Among the public buildings are the Cabildo, the univer sity, library and museum, etc. The city has suffered from lack of means of transportation and communication. Only in the last few years has an effort been made to connect it by rail road with the Titicaca region. It is regularly built and contains several handsome buildings, prominent among which are the cathedral, in the Corinthian style, and the convent of San Domingo. There are also hospitals, a univer sity founded in 1692, a national college and a museum. It has shrunken in trade as in popula tion. Gold and silver work, leather, sugar, cot ton, linen and wool are produced to a limited extent. The inhabitants at the time of the con quest numbered perhaps 100,000; a century ago about 50,000; at present about 20,000.