upon the shape of a puma (considered sacred by the Inka) crouching over the Saphi River. That stream was diverted through a paved canal crossing Qosqo’s central plaza—in every way the city’s heart.

Urban life was focused on the plaza. The great open space, paved with flagstones, was divided into two by the Saphi Canal, one part providing the setting for the Inkas’ principal, rituals and ceremonies. That was surrounded by the most Important buildings, including the sprawling, low palaces of the rulers and their extended families. Built of dressed stone, or at least stone faced, many were brightly painted; some had marble gates. The other part of the square was for public gatherings and celebrations. Near its center stood a platform (Usnu) from which the emperor and other dignitaries could speak to the people. Among Pachacútec’s improvements to city center were the Coricancha (a courtyard once covered in gold) and the Temple of the Sun, also encrusted, with gold plates and flanked by the trappings of the priesthood: cloisters, dormitories, gardens, and terraces, all “sparkling with gold.” What was beauty to the Inkas was merely wealth to the rapacious Spaniards and therefore quickly plundered after 1533.

Within the context of public buildings, something must be said of the Inkas’ superlative stonemasonry skills. Like the Spaniards, we marvel at the enormous granite or andesite boulders—some were almost 30 feet (9 meters) high—weighing hundreds of tons, that were transported great distances from quarries and without the benefit of the wheel. They were carved and dressed, for the most part, with stone chisels, although there is evidence of some bronze tools being used. Whatever the case, the bond known as Imperial Inkan masonry—medium-size stones laid in regular horizontal rows on very thin clay beds—was dressed with such accuracy that it was difficult to see the joints or slip even a knife blade between them.

From Qosqo’s central plaza, four main streets led to the high roads to the Four Quarters and formed the base of the divisional structure already described. Long, narrow, straight streets, all paved with cobbles of Rumiqolqa basalt, followed a regular, right-angled grid. Along the streets, covered channels carried a clean water supply. In contrast to the carefully dressed stone of the palaces, houses on the perimeter of Qosqo were built of random rubble or mud brick (adobe) and lined with painted clay stucco. Their steeply pitched, timber-framed roofs were skillfully thatched with ichu, the local wild grass.

Following a series of abortive uprisings between 1780 and 1815, Peru was finally emancipated from Spanish colonial rule in 1821. In the meantime, because of the local dialect, the Spanish name for the city had been changed to Cusco. The Inkan metropolis had been overlaid by three centuries of colonial architecture. Nevertheless, in 1933 Cusco was recognized as the “Archaeological Capital of South America,” and fifty years later it was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. By the late twentieth century, a strong nationalistic movement pressed for reversion to the original name, and in 1990 the municipality officially adopted “Qosqo” and the 1993 Peruvian Constitution declared it to be the Historic Capital of the country.

See also

Inka road system

Further reading

Burland, Cottie Arthur. 1967. Peru under the Incas. New York: Putnam.

Gasparini, Graziano, and Luise Margolies. 1980. Inca Architecture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hemming, John, and Edward Ranney. 1990. Monuments of the Incas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Queen’s House

Greenwich, England

The Queen’s House on the edge of the Royal Park at Greenwich near London was designed by Inigo Jones—probably the greatest of all English architects—early in the seventeenth century. It was a major architectural feat because it represented, all at once and in a single building, the introduction of a new kind of architecture in the face of a well-established and reactionary building industry.

Before Jones (1573–1652) stepped on her architectural stage, England had been trying for almost a century to come to terms with the new forms of the Italian Renaissance. Henry VIII’s attempts to bring Italian craftsmen to England had been resisted by