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City (pop., 2002 est.: 301,342), south-central Peru. It is located high in the Andes Mountains at an elevation of about 11,150 ft (3,400 m). One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Western Hemisphere, it was founded in the 11th or 12th century and was once the capital of the vast Inca empire. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured the city in 1533. It suffered major earthquake damage in 1650 and again in 1950, though many sites have since been restored. Nearby ruins include Sacsahuamán, an ancient Inca fortress, and Machu Picchu, an Inca resort. Cuzco's cathedral (1654) incorporates the foundation and several walls of the Temple of the Sun. Many of the city's other buildings, including the university (1692), also date from the colonial era. The city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Cuzco, visit Britannica.com.