The Inca are everywhere in Peru. They dominate postcards, clothing and tourist attractions, but more importantly this historic empire provides Peru with a foundation. It is a foundation structurally as well as culturally and is exemplified in Cusco. This city was the heart of Incan empire and the modern culture today is a direct result of this. Buildings are still supported by Incan architecture and the people still hold Incan beliefs to be true. The modern world of Cusco is greatly supported by the traditions of the Incas.
The city of Cusco was built upon Incan architecture, but not in a figurative sense. Incan structures were used as foundations for the Spaniards to build religious structures like a church and a monastery. The interesting contrast between these modern and traditional societies is very dramatically represented in the monastery of Cusco. Visiting Quirikencha, the Incan temple of the sun, it is evident that the traditional structure is stronger. After decades of earthquakes and other natural disasters, the modern structure, built by the Spaniards, has been ruined. The Incan stone work has outlasted the plaster and decorative structures of the Spanish. Even today the Incan structures are the foundation for the modern society as they support the growing tourism economy of huge city.
Although the culture of Cusco is very comparable to most cities, there are also traditional Incan practices that are still present in the culture. The people keep up with fashion trends and pop culture, but they may also give offerings to Pacha Mama or Mother Earth. This offering to Pacha Mama stems from the Incan sacrifices of food or animals for relief from natural disasters such as earthquakes floods or thunderstorms. Today the offering is much more discrete. Some Peruvians will splash the first sip of water on the ground before they take a drink for themselves. It is considered an offering to Pacha Mama and exemplifies the respect these individuals have for the gods, but it also shows the presence of traditional Incan culture in a modern society. It may seem that only few people of Cusco are still influenced by the Incas, but the legacy of the Incan culture is apparent when you now what to look for. Many individuals wear symbols of the Incan beliefs in the form of jewelry. The three sections of life which are the underworld, the natural world and the heavens are represented by three steps or three animals: the serpent, the puma and the condor. These symbols are ever present in the communities of Cusco, leading me to believe that the traditions of the Incas are very alive in the modern culture.