Cusco or Cuzco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cusco, its altitude is around 3,300 m. Cusco 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. It is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru by the Constitution of Peru.
The Killke occupied the region from 900 to 1200 A.D., prior to the arrival of the Incas in the 1200s. Archaeologists discovered, on March 13, 2008, the ruins of an ancient temple, roadway and irrigation systems at Sacsayhuaman, a famed fortress overlooking the Inca capital of Cuzco. Previous carbon-14 dating of Sacsayhuaman revealed that the Killke culture constructed the fortress in the 1100s. In 2007, excavations uncovered another temple on the edge of the fortress, indicating religious as well as military use of the facility.
Peru declared its independence in 1821 and the city of Cusco maintained its importance within the administrative structure of the of the country. Upon independence, the Department of Cusco was created and at the time maintained authority over territory extending to the Brazilian border. The city of Cusco was made capital of the department and subsequently became the most important city in the south-eastern Andean region.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city's urban sprawl spread to the neighboring districts of Santiago and Wanchaq.
In 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham departed from the city, subsequently re-discovering the ruins of Machu Picchu.
In 1950 an earthquake shook the city causing the destruction of more than a third of the city's constructions. Later, the city began to establish itself as a focal point for tourism and began to receive a greater number of tourists.
Since the 1990s, tourism began to take a dominant role in the city's economy and the hotel sector subsequently expanded. Currently, Cusco is the most important tourist destination in Peru. The city's urban sprawl is still expanding and currently it has extended into the San Sebastian and San Jernimo districts.
Under the administration of mayor Daniel Estrada Prez, a staunch supporter of the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, between 1983 and 1995 the Quechua name Qosqo was officialized.