On a bright and sunny spring morning in Cusco, southeastern Peru, I made an up-hill journey to see the city’s Cristo Blanco.
A stroll through the center of city, followed by climbing a plethora of steps (and finding yourself completely breathless with each step due to the high altitude!), brings you to the ultimate view of the whole valley.
The steps up to the Cristo Blanco are surrounded on either side by tiny houses, streets and alleyways. Houses here begin in the center of the valley and go all the way up the hills and mountains. The reason is that the higher up you are and the more incomplete your house is, the less taxes you pay. You’ll therefore find exposed bricks, roofs missing and walls unfinished the entire way to the top of the hill.
The view from the top is indeed breathtaking with these massive mountains staring back at you and reminding you exactly how tiny you are in this great big world. Colossal mountains became a pretty mundane sight by the end of my trip but what never got old were the eerie shadows the clouds placed upon the mountains through the course of the day. Just beautiful!
The Cristo Blanco statue (not nearly as large as the one in Rio de Janeiro) was actually a gift from a group of Christian Palestinians who were seeking refuge in Cusco. It represents a symbol of their gratitude and was a parting gift when they returned home. The statue lights up at night and you can see it from almost anywhere in the city; glittering and protecting the valley.
Quite close to the Cristo Blanco are the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman which is a walled complex made of large, polished dry stone.
The view on top and around the hill of Cristo Blanco is beyond amazing! Miles of lavish green grounds and majestic rows of trees contrasting with the cold, stone structure of Sacsayhuaman and the white marble of the Cristo; and all the while the never-ending mountain range holding it all in an embrace.
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