Cusco (Spanish: Cuzco, Cusco [ˈkusko]; Quechua: Qusqu, Qosqo [ˈqʊsqʊ], [ˈqɔsqɔ]), 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 and of the Cusco Province.
In 2017, the city had a population of 428,450. 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 until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983, Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the title "City of Cuzco". It has become a major tourist destination, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru. The indigenous name of this city is Qusqu. Although the name was used in Quechua, its origin is found in the Aymara language. The word is derived from the phrase qusqu wanka ('Rock of the owl'), related to the city's foundation myth of the Ayar Siblings. According to this legend, Ayar Awqa (Ayar Auca) acquired wings and flew to the site of the future city; there he was transformed into a rock to mark the possession of the land by his ayllu ("lineage"):Then Ayar Oche stood up, displayed a pair of large wings, and said he should be the one to stay at Guanacaure as an idol in order to speak with their father the Sun.