Stones in the belly button

Cuzco means “belly button” in Quechua, the language of the Inca, as it was considered the heart and center of Inca empire.  From here the four regions of the empire spread through Ecuador and down to Mendoza, Argentina.

Upon our arrival to the city we passed by the massive monument to Pakuchatek, the forward-thinking Inca recognized for modernizing the empire.  The next day, I got my first glimpse of the Incan wall- the best remaining example of Incan stonework.  A wall that is one block long, in which there is not a single continuous straight line and absolutely no mortar.  The wall dances and the stones, ranging in size from a loaf of bread to an oven, seem almost organic.  We walked by this wall no less than 6 times during our two visits to Cuzco and each time I felt transported despite the kitsch that surrounds it.

Cuzco was alive during the month-long June fiestas.  There were parades of folk dances along the Plaza de Armas each morning and on the weekend we were fortunate to catch the closing of the Corpus Christi ceremony.

Numerous towering saints were shouldered out of the cathedral and paraded around the plaza accompanied by brass bands, no less. Wonderous brass bands.

Long after the saints had retaken the cathedral, the bands gatherned in the corners of plazas and revelers drank and danced into the night.  I ate alpaca kebobs (anticuchos) and wandered the plazas recording the different bands.

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About jdicus

I am a Spanish and social studies teacher on year-long sabbatical in Mendoza, Argentina. Our family consists of myself, wife Jenny Breen, and daughters Solana and Frances. With this blog we endeavor to chronicle our experience living abroad.
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3 Responses to Stones in the belly button

  1. Marilyn kelley says:

    Beautiful images and brilliant colors. Thanks for sharing. Marilyn

  2. Bruce says:

    Amazing architecture! How did they do that? If you are still in Cuzco check out the church in the main plaza where one stone has 37 corners. No mortar. Crazy. Thanks for sharing and look forward to hearing the stories in person upon your return.

  3. Janet Johnson says:

    It has been so fun and rewarding to see your pictures and read your blogs. Thanks for taking us along!

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