Qosqo (navel or center) in southern central Peru was once the ancient capital of the Inkan Empire. Continuously occupied for three millennia, the oldest living city in the Americas perches 11,150 feet (3,400 meters) above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Strategically located, Qosqo reached out to the entire Tahuantinsuyu (Land of the Four Quarters) by means of an extensive road network. In the days of its glory, the city boasted about 100,000 houses and somewhere between 225,000 and 300,000 citizens, many of whom lived in the neighboring farmland. The population compares with modern Rochester. Jersey City, or Anaheim. It was remarkable for its physical planning, its social organization, and the gold-festooned buildings of massive masonry that adorned it.
Farmers and herdsmen of the Marcavalle culture established permanent settlements in the Qosqo Valley around 1000 b.c. The Chanapata followed 200 years later, and successive groups Qotakallis, Sawasias, Antasayas, and Wallas also occupied the site for about six centuries from a.d. 600. There is a tradition that Inkan Qosqo was founded some time in the eleventh or twelfth century by the legendary king Manco C