Alternate History

Cuzco (Aztec Empire)

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General view of modern Cuzco, signal of Inca's economy recover
"The first Suyu, the only Suyu
City Populationl 5,143,800 inh
Metro 9,607,143 inh
Language Quechua
Governor Mahuan Qulumqu
HDI 0.845

Cuzco (also spelled in the local Quechua language as Qusqu) is a city in middle Incan Empire, near the Urubamba Valley (Sacred Valley) of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of Inca as well as the Cuzco Province. The city has a population of 6, 348, 935 which is triple the figure of 20 years ago. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its altitude is around 3,300 m (10,800 ft.). Cuzco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost a million visitors a year since the Aztec/American economic blockade was interrupted.

Pre-Spanish Cuzco

Many believe that the ancient city was planned to be shaped like a puma. The city had two sectors: the urin and hanan, which were further divided to each encompass two of the four provinces, Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Qontisuyu (SW) and Collasuyu (SE). A road led from each of these quarters to the corresponding quarter of the empire. Each local leader was required to build a house in the city and live part of the year in Cusco, but only in the quarter of Cusco that corresponded to the quarter of the empire in which he had territory. After Pachacuti, when an Inca died his title went to one son and his property was given to a corporation controlled by his other relatives (a process called split inheritance), so each title holder had to build a new house and add new lands to the empire, in order to own the land his family needed to maintain after his death.

According to 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. But archaeological evidence points to a slower, more organic growth of the city beginning before Pachacuti. There was however a city plan, and two rivers were channeled around the city. Archaeologists such as Larry Coben have suggested this city plan was replicated at other sites throughout the empire. The city fell to the sphere of Huáscar in the division of the empire after the death of Huayna Capac in 1527. It was captured by the generals of Atahualpa in April 1532 in the Battle of Quipaipan, and nineteen months later by the Spaniards (see Battle of Cuzco).

Modern Cuzco

Cuzco central station

Cuzco central station


Modern Cuzco view

Nowdays, the city has grown 12 times its original size since 1910. The city has a subway system with six lines and 74 stations. The Runa Simi International Airport, serves Cuzco's aerial traffic.

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