Andes mountains were the birthplace of one of the great cultures
created by mankind. As in a handful of other places on the planet,
crops, and livestock were developed here an original form. Around 50
different plant species were domesticated (or discovered) in this area
among them potatoes, corn and cotton. These are some of Andean culture’s
greatest gifts to humanity.
The first human hunter-gatherers appeared in the Andes around 20,000 B.C. These groups had recently arrived across the Bering strait from Asia. They responded creatively to the challenges presented by this dramatic environment, and established their own societies. They posted outstanding achievements in both: technology and production, and also in the social, political and cultural spheres.
The culmination, and we would say the greatest expression of this millennia of Andean culture was the development of the political organization known as Tawantinsuyo (15 th century) The Incas who in the 13th century were only a small group occupying part of the Cuscos Valley (Qosqo) became skilled at refining and synthesizing the achievements of previous cultures and this, combined with their will to expansion and dominium created the imposing state whose outlying provinces were first seen by Europeans in 1527.
Qosqo was its capital city, expressing the full glory of the Andean culture developed over thousands of years in the territories representing todays Peru, Ecuador and southern Colombia, Bolivia and northern Argentina and north of Chile.
Qosqo was also a sacred city. Only the ruling elites lived here, their magnificent palaces and stone temples adorned with the finest and most luxurious treasures.
The Spanish arrived here in 1534. Though they admired the beauty and opulence of Qosqo, they burst violently into its evolution, transforming it substantially. However, the city maintained its role as a pivotal center for the newly-installed colonial society.
The city and its people were shaped by the traumatic and painful effect of this "collision-encounter" between the Andean culture and the Occidental one brought by conquerors. Nevertheless the thrust and weight of the former, proved decisive in defining many aspects of the new identity constructed by the Andean population.
Thus, todays Qosqo displays within its architectural splendor and socio-cultural diversity one of the most significant symbioses produced in the history of humanity.