Cusco, often spelled 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. In 2013, the city had a population of 435,114. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).
The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th into the 16th century until the Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has become a major tourist destination, receiving nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru.
Geography and Climate:
The city of Cusco extends throughout the Watanay river valley. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). North is the Willkapampa mountain range with 4,000 m – 6,000 m high mountains. The highest peak is Sallqantay (6,271 m) about 60 km (37.28 mi) northwest of Cusco. Cusco has a subtropical highland climate. It has an ideal temperature for daytime comfort all year round. Its climate is generally dry and temperate, with two defined seasons. The dry season lasts from May to August, with abundant sunshine, and occasional nighttime freezes; July is the coolest month with an average of 9.7 °C (49.5 °F). The wet season lasts from December to March, with night frost less common; November averages 13.3 °C (55.9 °F). Although frost and hail are common, the only snowfall ever recorded was in June 1911. Temperatures usually range from 0.2 °C (32.4 °F) to 20.9 °C (69.6 °F), but the all-time temperature range is between −8.9 °C (16.0 °F) and 30 °C (86.0 °F). Sunshine hours peak in July; the equivalent of January in the northern hemisphere. In contrast, February, the equivalent of August in the northern hemisphere, has the least amount of sunshine.