We are staying in the neighborhood of San Blas, an artist community on the hill above the main square in Cuzco. The streets are very narrow, and the buildings are built incorporating Inca stone work, mostly as foundations and sometimes as doorways. In San Blas, there are many artisan shops, where you can see people weaving the clothing in the back rooms. We are staying next to the main plaza in San Blas, which has a weekend craft market in the plaza next to the church, with indigenous and artisan crafts for sale.
We can get a decent cheap room for about $13 and a set menu lunch for about $4-5, which includes soup, tea and a main course (usually well seasoned meat with rice or a small pizza).
The Spanish conquest resulted in the removal the old Inca buildings but utilized the Inca stone foundations for new churches and colonial buildings. During the time of the Inca, the main square was surrounded by Inca palaces. You can see the foundations with the famous Inca stonework, especially on the backs and sides of the buildings on the main plaza. But their facades on the main plaza all have colonial architectural styles.
The famous Inca stonework has two main types, the more complex polygonal shapes where each stone is custom fitted to others around it, and more regular rectangular shapes. The polygonal shapes were considered more structurally sound, and were often used for terraces or retaining walls, while the straight rectangular style was considered more appealing and thus used for the very important ceremonial and royal buildings.
The Inca built a new palace for each ruler, since the body of the old (and dead) ruler was kept and ‘fed’ in his old palace. The result was that the main square was quickly filled with palaces of the living (and dead) Inca rulers. During important ceremonies, both the living and the dead rulers where honored in front of their respective palaces.