Cuzco, The Inca Jungle

Agua Calientes’ten bizi Cuzco’ya götürecek olan trene bindiğimizde, ruhumuza sinen Machu Picchu buyusunden bir turlu kurtulamıyorduk. Her şey ruya miydi, gercek miydi derken, birden bire geleneksel kostümlü bir animatörün ortaya cikisiyla tren hareketleniyor. Sov yaşlı turistlerin pek bir hosuna gitse de, benim ilgimi pek çekmiyor. Gercek rüyaya, rüya gercege derken trenimiz Cusco’ya variyor. Onceden ayarladigimiz taksimiz kapida. Gecenin bir yarisi, imparator Pachacutec’in sehrinin dolambacli, dar sokaklarindan gecip hotelimize variyoruz.

When we get on the train from Agua Calientes to Cuzco, it wasn’t easy be freed our soul from the magic of  Machu Picchu. While asking if everything was a dream or not, suddenly, the train leaps up with the appearance of an animator with a strange traditional costume. Although the elder people made fun of the show, I found it quite touristic so, it didn’t really touch me. After a while, we arrive Cuzco. Our taxi driver is waiting for us. In the dead of night we pass by the narrow streets of Inca ruler Pachacutec’s wonderful city and arrive our small hotel. 

Cuzco da, Venedik, Petra, Kapadokya gibi o kadar nefes kesici ki sehrin kendisi disindaki her sey o an icin      onemsizmis gibi geliyor. Turizm akisinin yogunlugu bile sizi bu dusunceden vaz gecirmeye yetecek kadar guclu degil. Bu tur yerler yasadiklari tum olumsuz seylere ragmen cekiciligini bir an bile olsun yitimeyen kadinlar gibidir.

Cuzco is one of those cities, like Venice or Petra or Cappadocia, that is so exquisite that everything else about it seems irrelevant, and no glut of tourism can quite cancel its charm. These kind of places are like women who never lose her glitter no matter what she lives.

Peruvian style nightclub! It was such a funny experience drinking Pisco and dancing with locals.

 Sanirim Cusco bu zamana kadar gordugum en guzel ve en farkli sehirlerden bir tanesiydi . Onu ozel kilan en onemli ozelligi ise zengin ve guclu gecmisi. Cusco aslinda, genellikle bir cok turist icin gecis noktasi olan bir sehir. Ucaktan inersiniz, bir-kac gun yukseklige alismak icin kalirsiniz, ardindan da Kutsal Vadi’ye giden o trene biner ve sonunda da Machu Picchu’ya cikarak kutsal gorevinizi yerine getirmis olursunuz. Fakat bir cok kisinin yanildigi bir nokta var; Cuzco asla ama asla bir gecis noktasi olmamali. Burasi da her ozel sehir gibi, ilgiyi ve zaman ayirilmayi fazlasiyla hak ediyor.

I can say that Cuzco is one of the most beautiful and different cities I’ve ever been. Its past and history make it so special. Cuzco usually is the Peruvian city you fly into before catching the train through the Sacred Valley to those famous mountaintop ruins at Machu Picchu. But many people are wrong; Cuzco is much more than a gateway. That’s why it deserves more time and attention like many special cities. 

Onceden soylemeliyim ki Cuzco korkak gezginlere gore bir sehir degil. Eger kolayi ve duzeni ariyorsaniz kesinlikle yanlis yerdesiniz. Sadece inisli cikisli dar sokaklari yuzunden degil, 3400 metrelik bir rakimdan soz ediyoruz. Vucudunuzun dengesi tamamen degisiyor burada. Mesela kucuk bir oneri: eger sigara iciyorsaniz, Cuzco’da ufak bir mola vermek zorunda kalacaksiniz. Isterseniz bir icmeyi deneyin, ne demek istedigimi o zaman anlayacaksiniz:)

Cuzco is not for the faint of heart or lungs, nor for the traveler who wants everything easy and tidy. Not only does it stand between you and that beloved Incan mountaintop, but it also stands about 3400 m above sea level. That causes a very interesting situation in your body. Here comes a little suggestion for you; if you’re a smoker, try to give a short break during your stay in Cusco. When you try to smoke you’ll understand what am I talking about:)

Tarih her sokakta tum ciplakligiyla karsimizda. Bu yuzden hotelimizde hic vakit kaybetmiyoruz. Cikar cikmaz karnaval ve renk cumbusunun tam ortasina dusuveriyoruz. Gunes tepemizde, karsimizda And daglarinin tum guzelligi. Suanda baska hic bir sey mutlu edemez bizi.

History is so alive in the city’s streets. That’s why we don’t loose time in our hotel and we go out to discover as much as we can. As soon as stepping out, we found ourselves in the middle of colour and carnival blast. The Sun is up and all the beauty of Andean mountains is in front of us. Nothing can make us happier than this at that moment. 

Şehrin kalbi Plaza de Armas’da atıyor. Ispanyol sömürge mimarisinin en karakteristik, bilindik kemerli, renkli binaları sanki bu gün bile Inkalara meydan okurcasına tüm meydanı çevrelese de, her yerde kirmizi beyaz Peru bayrakları ve Inka Imparatorluğunun (Tahuantinsuyo) simgesi, gokkusagi rengindeki bayraklar dalgalanıyor.   Yine de yirmi yıla yakin bir sure önce Cuzcolular Inca mirasına sahip çıkıp, bunu yaymayı basarmışlar.

The Plaza de Armas is, the center of life. Colonial arcades frame the landscaped square, surrounded by the sprawling cathedral and its neighboring churches—all built on Incan foundations. Red-and-white Peruvian flags fly beside rainbow-colored banners of Tahuantinsuyo (the Inca Empire). Two decades ago I noted that the Cusqueños took pride in the glory of their Inca heritage—in the intervening years they have learned to market and exploit it.

Cuzco’da tanistigimiz bir cok insan sadece Machu Picchu’yu gormeye odaklanmisti. Fakat hem Cuzco’da hemde etrafinda gorulecek bir cok etkileyici yer var. Sakin sizde ayni hataya dusup, bu guzellikleri gormezden gelmeyin. Eger, vaktinizi sinirliysa gezilecekler listesindeki ilk uc yeri sakin atlamayin derim.

A majority of travelers we met were only interested in seeing Machu Picchu, but there’s are so many fascinating and equally beautiful ruins surrounding Cusco. If your time is limited, don’t leave without seeing the first three on my list below. 

1.Cathedral 

Plaza de Armas ayni zamanda iki buyuk kiliseye ve cok guzel bir katedrale ev sahipligi yapiyor. Ozellikle Isa’nin gine domuzlu “son yemek” tablosunu barindiran muhtesem katedrali ziyaret etmeden donmeyin.

At the same time the Plaza de Armas is home for two splendid churches and one cathedral known for a painting of the Last Supper that shows Christ and the apostles dining on guinea pig. You shouldn’t miss ! 

2. Qorikancha 

Qorikancha müzesi aslında Cuzco’nun eski ve yeni tarihini en guzel sekilde anlatan yerlerden bir tanesi ayni zamanda da  Inka Imparatorlugu’nun Altin Avlu adini verdigi en zengin tapinagiymis. Gercekten de her tarafi altinlarla cevriliymis. Bugune dair cok buyuk bir sey kalmasa da Inkalarin essiz tas isciligini kalintilar arasinda gorebilirsiniz.

Part of the Santo Domingo complex, the Qorikancha is a must see in Cuzco. It offers a view into how the two cultures merged and have created today’s Cuzco. Qorikancha which means “Golden Courtyard” was once the richest temple in the Inca empire. It was literally covered with gold. But all that remains today is the masterful stonework. 

3. Sacsaywamán 

Cuzco etrafindaki tarihi yerler de Machu Picchu kadar gormeye deger. Iste bunlarin bana gore en etkileyicisi Sacsayhuaman. Mukemmel bir iscilikle insa edilmis taslarin arasindan gecerken dunyanin en tepesindeymis gibi hissediyorsunuz. Cuzco ayaklarinizin altinda. Nefes kesici ! Bir de etrafinizda durmadan “sexy woman” cumlesini duyarsaniz sasirmayin. Telaffuz etmesi zor oldugu icin Perulular turistler icin boyle bir yontem uydurmus. Okuyun bakin goreceksiniz cidden de “sexy woman” dediginizi duyacaksiniz.

The Inca sites around the edges of town are spectacular, especially the intimidating stone ramparts of Sacsayhuaman. This place makes you feel like you are at top of the world. Cuzco is under your feet! Just breathtaking! A funny detail; although sacsayhuaman means “Satisfied Falcon”, as it’s hard to pronounce, many tourists inevitably remember it by the mnemonic “sexy woman”. Try to pronounce, you’ll see ! 

Eger daha fazlasini kesfetmek istiyorsaniz Sacsaywaman’in etrafinda buyuklu kucuklu siralanmis olan diger uc kalintiyi goreceksiniz.

  • Bunlardan birincisi zigzag anlamina gelen Q’enqo. Kucuk ama etkileyici zigzag formundaki magarayi gormelisiniz. /The first one is Q’enqo. The name of this small but fascinating ruin means “zigzag”. It’s a large limestone rock riddled with niches and zigzagging channels. 
The entrance of Q’enqo
  • Tambomachay; anayola 300m mesafede Inca Banyo’su diye adlandiriliyor. Elle oyulmus taslarin arasindan akan dogal kaynak suyu gunumuzde bile kullaniliyor. / In a sheltered spot about 300m from the main road. The site know as El Baño del Inca, consists of a beautifully wrought ceremonial stone bath channeling crystalline spring water through fountains that still function today.

  • Pukapukara, Tambomachay dan ciktiktan hemen sonra yolun karsisinda goreceginiz tepe. Inkalarin kervansarayi diyebiliriz buraya. / Just across the main road from Tambomachay, this commanding structure looks down on the Cuzco valley. I’s more likely to have been a hunting loge, a guard post and a stopping point for travellers. 

4. Mercado San Pedro 

Degisen, modernlesen Cuzco’ya ragmen, butun gercekligini korumayi basarmis yerlerden bir tanesi. Zaten bir ulkede, sehirde lokal halka pazarlarda karisirsin, oranin ilk yerli yiyecegini, icecegini ilk oralarda tadarsin. San Pedro’da her seyi bulabilecegin marketlerden bir tanesi. Girer girmez eksimsi bir koku sariyor etrafimizi, kadinlar erkekler cocuklar etrafta kosturuyor. Koca koca domuz kafalarinin asildigi tezgahin onunden geciyorum, diger tezgahtan her derde deva karisimlarini satmanin derdinde, hemen onun yaninda kakao cekirdegi varilleri, incecik bir adam yanimdan geciyor gozum kayiyor ama dikkatimi orgu makinasinin basindaki caliskan kadinlar cekiyor. Duzensizce bir kenera kurulmus masalarda cabucak corbalarini hupleten yogun insanlari goruyorum sonra. Hissiyat ? Alisila gelmis duzenin arasinda kaotik bir ortam… Neredeyse yok denecek kadar az turist goruyorum. Taze sikilmis meyve suyu tezganlarindaki icinde hangi karisimin oldugunu bilmedigim kirmizi siseler. Ask karisimi diyor guleryuzlu satici, kirmizi huayruro cekirdekleri ise sans icin. Ve tabi ki Peru’nun olmazsa olmazi Coca yapraklari. Iki kutu maté de coca atiyoruz cantaya ve devam ediyoruz yolumuza.

Due to the changing, modernising Cusco, over at the Mercado San Pedro, there is nothing new. This is where the locals shop and this is where you’ll be integrated with locals. Pig heads hang in a butcher stall beside a woman selling concoctions that she promises will cure diabetes and arthritis, gastritis and gout. Nearby are barrels of cacao seeds for chocolate.  Women work sewing machines hard. People sit at makeshift tables and slurp soups and stews prepared on portable stoves by busy men and women. The sensation is one of chaotic familiarity among the regulars—I see no foreigners. Fresh juices from fruits I don’t recognize are squeezed and offered in tall glasses. There are love potions for sale, and red huayruro seeds for luck. And of course, there is coca leaf. We buy 2 packs of maté de coca and continue to our tour. 

5. San Cristobal Church 

Zorlu bir tirmanistan sonra goreceginiz manzaraya degecek bir yer. Eger turistlerden uzak, birazcik kafanizi dinleyecek bir yer ariyorsaniz dogru yerdesiniz. Aradiginiz huzur burada.

After a challenging hike, the views over Cuzco is worth to this pain. If you are searching a point in the town to have peace of mind, this is the place you should go . 

Nerede kalmali ?

Bana gore Cuzco’nun en guzel semti San Blas. Genellikle sehrin sanatcilari, bohemleri burada yasiyor. Mavili yesilli renkelere burunmus guzel kapili klasik binalari, araba gecmeyen irili ufakli, dar, tas sokaklari burayi sehrin en hip bolgelerinden birisi yapmaya yeter de artar bile. Bunun sonucunda da surekli acilan tarz restoranlar ve butikler de cabasi. Gök mavisi rengi ve  digerlerine benzemeyen degisik mimarisiyle kalbimizi yeni acilan  Quinta San Blas caldi. Kalite-fiyat acisindan oldukca iyi. Kahvalti cesidi acisindan da bizi oldukca tatmin ettigini soyleyebilirim.

Where to stay ?

According to me San Blas is the best neighbourhood in Cuzco. It’s also known as the artist’s and bohemian’s choice. It’s nestled on a steep hillside next to the centre. With classic architecture, it’s signature blue doors and narrow passageways without cars, it has become a hip part of town. As a result, it’s full of restaurants watering holes and shops. Our choice was Quinta San Blas. The hotel has a nice architecture and layout. Different from the clasical ones. With a nice cromatic scheme and good arrangements, was a pleasure to spent time there. The room and bed were very clean and comfortable. The breakfast was very satisfying.

Nerede yemeli ?

  • Gezmeye duskun oldugunuz kadar agiz tadiniza da duskunseniz, tum gezi rehberlerinde ve yazilarinda Cuzco’nun en iyi restorani olarak anilan Cicciolina’da bir aksam gecirmenizi oneririm. Onceden rezervasyon yapmayi unutmayin. / If you’re indulge in your stomach as much as travelling, you should try Cicciolina. It has long held its position as Cuzco’s best restaurant. Reservation is must.
  • Geleneksel tatlari deneyebileceginiz en guzel yerlerden bir tanesi de Pacha Papa. Lama etini ilk burda denedik ve cok sevdik. / Pacha Papa is one of the best place you can try traditional Andean cuisine. We first tried lama meat here and we loved it ! 
  • Juanito’s enfes bir oglen yemegi icin mukemmel tercih. Sandwichini al ve Cuzco’nun dar sokaklarini kesfe cik. / For a delicious lunch stop, Juanito’s is a perfect place. Grab your sandwich and continue discovering Cuzco’s streets. 
  • Jack’s Cafe’yi sanirim hic unutmayacagim. Yorgun argin vardigimiz Cuzco’da ilk aksamimiz sayesinde harika gecti 🙂 O kadar acikmistik ki kendimize kocaman bir tost ve yaninda bir tabak dolusu patates kizartmasi ismarlayip patlayana kadar yemistik. Ama uyarayim; bekleme sirasi oldukca uzun. Sabriniz varsa, odulunuz de bir o kadar lezzetli olacak. / I think I’ll never forget our first night in Cuzco and Jack’s cafe. We were so hungry and exhausted that we didn’t evet think twice while ordering two big toasts with two big portions french fries. We ate until stuff ourselves. It was so delicious ! I must tell that the waiting line is long, so, the more patience you have, the bigger will be your prize:) 
  • Son olarak, geleneksel tatlara ara verip, ev ozlemi cekenler sizleri La Bodega 138’e alalim ozaman. Pizzanizin yanina soyleyeceginiz artizanal biraniz da benden. / Lastly, the ones who are homesick for good atmosphere and uncomplicated menus, come to La Bodega 138. While ordering your pizza don’t forget to ask your artisanal beer from Sacred Valley ! 

Tasting first time Inca Kola at Juanito’s and didn’t like it !

Nereden alisveris yapmali ?

Sanirim Peru’da yaptigim alisverisi bu zamana kadar gittigim hic bir ulkede yapmamisimdir. Renkler ve desenler o kadar cezbedici ve benlikti ki gordugum her seyi almamak icin kendimi zor tuttum. Tum alisverisimizi Cuzco’ya biraktik. Fakat hepsini de Cuzco’nun degisik yerlerinden aldik.

  • San Blas sokaklari, meydanin kendisi, Cuesta San Blas, Carmen Alto and Tandapata, meydanin dogusundaki butikler alisveris icin en iyi adresler. Lokal artistler tarafindan yapilmis farkli urunleri San Blas civarinda bulabilirsiniz.
  • Daha geleneksel seyler icin dogruca Centro Artesanal Cuzco’ya gitmelisiniz. Resimlerde gordugunuz cantami oradan almistim. En uygun fiyatlara neredeyse aradiginiz her seyi burada bulmaniz mumkun.

Where to shop ?

I think I’ve never bought as much as stuff in any other country. The colours and patterns were so beautiful that I couldn’t get enough of them and hardly controlled myself not to buy whatever I saw. You should leave all your shopping session for Cuzco. You have immense choice of rich selection. 

  • San Blas- the plaza itself, Cuesta San Blas, Carmen Alto, and Tandapata east of the plaza – offers Cuzco’s best shopping. It’s the artisan quarter, packed with the workshops and showrooms of local craftspeople.
  • We bought all the souvenirs from different addresses but Centro Artesenal Cuzco is where you can find almost all traditional handicrafts for good prices . For example I found my backpack you see on the pics is from there. 

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