Cuzco welcomed us bathed in the chilly afternoon sun of late July (which is mid-winter in the Southern Hemisphere). Nestled in the mountains, at an altitude of 3400m., the famous capital of the Incas leaves every visitor literally breathless upon arrival (*).
I landed with no knowledge of the region’s historical background – a veritable tabula rasa – eager to explore the mysteries of the Inca civilization which, for me, remained concealed in exotic veils of ignorance. The first impression though was not as exciting as I had imagined: the Incas existed for only four centuries (12th c-16th c), with very ambiguous beginnings lost in the mist of legends, and an abrupt end after which nothing but ruins remained. Being Greek, I have grown with the unfortunate arrogance of the people who have left deep footprints dating back a few thousand years. Hence, I failed to see, at first glance, the significance of the Incas’ achievements at a period that Europe and the Middle East had already thrived several times over and were on the verge of the scientific revolution. [Read more…]