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Shamans Market - Cuzco, Peru
Cusco often spelled Cuzco (or Qosq’o in the Quechua language) is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).
This Andean city is the uneasy bearer of many grand titles. It is the historic capital of the Inca empire, and is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, as well as the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. Few travelers to Peru will skip visiting this premier South American destination, which is also the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Legend tells that in the 12th century, the first inca, Manco Capac, was charged by Inti, the ancestral sun god, to find the navel of the earth (qosq’o in the Quechua language) –the spot where he could plunge a golden rod into the ground until it disappeared. When at last Manco discovered such a spot, he founded the city that was to become the thriving capital of the Americas’ greatest empire.
The most important crop for the Inca, as well as the Maya, was and still is, maize — corn. Corn was used in ceremony, offered to the Apus — the mountain deities— and planted during sacred rituals timed with the motions of the stars. Corn has even been found carved in gold in underground tunnels in Peru, showing how the Inca worshipped this food. Researchers say corn was used in ceremonies in Ayacucho four thousand years ago. The first mention of corn is found in the writings of Pedro Martir de Angleria in 1492. The Spaniards said the bread of the Inca was maize or corn. It also was their wine. They brewed corn and made a drink known today as azua or chicha, similar to beer. Chicha comes in both purple and white versions, both quite powerful.