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Bolstering community identity through cultural programmes in Cusco (Peru)

A variety of projects aim to protect Cuzco’s cultural heritage, promote social development through crafts and strengthen traditional knowledge for sustainable development.

About Cuzco

The City of Cuzco was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1983 under criteria (iii) and (iv).

Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city.

The 2013 State of Conservation Report for the property described that the State Party was appropriately and consistently addressing conservation and management issues of the property. No further reporting to the World Heritage Committee was required at the time.

Bolstering community identity through cultural programmes

Cuzco’s rich cultural heritage rooted in the Inca Empire and the Viceroyalty period of Peru is embodied in sites across the city. The city’s attributes that reflect 3,000 years of indigenous and autonomous cultural development in the Peruvian southern Andes anchored the property’s inscription on the World Heritage List in 1983. The ancient Coricancha Inca temple is now converted into the Santo Domingo Convent. In the neighbourhood of San Blas, colonial houses were built on the foundations of Inca sites and superimposed with existing constructions. These sites have been strengthened and promoted through cultural activities led by the Municipal Government and the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

While the area surrounding the Plaza de Armas is the favoured location to celebrate Cuzco’s festivities, the San Blas neighbourhood is widely known as the arts and crafts centre of Cuzco. Constituting the historic centre of Cuzco, these two areas are often at the centre of cultural development initiatives. For instance, a heritage project for development was jointly established by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the City Council to halt the deterioration of monuments, and a school workshop was set up focusing on conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage for social development through traditional crafts. The Earth Project was developed to strengthen traditional knowledge for sustainable development, an initiative supported by other city-run projects seeking to safeguard ancestral Andean technologies and ensure the continuity of Cuzco’s living culture.

Source: Culture Urban Future, UNESCO, 2016, p. 198. Pontificial Catholic University of Chile, report for Study Area 8

Contribution towards the implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

The initiatives described could contribute to the implementation of the HUL (Historic Urban Landscape) approach by developing integrated strategies that link the World Heritage property with the wider city context and local community.

Historic Urban Landscape Tools

Civic engagement tools Knowledge and Planning tools Regulatory systems

Contribution towards Sustainable Development

If fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could have the potential to contribute towards Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

  • Target 4.7: the described initiatives aim to promote the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

  • Target 8.5: the described initiatives aim to contribute towards achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, by promoting social development through traditional crafts.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Target 11.4: The initiatives aim to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural heritage

Note: the described potential impacts of the projects are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. UNESCO does not endorse the specific initiatives nor ratifies their positive impact.

To learn more
  • Read about the School Workshop program in LAC
  • Read about the School Workshop project in Cuzco

    AECID - Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo


    © UNESCO, 2021. Project team: Jyoti Hosagrahar, Alba Zamarbide, Carlota Marijuán Rodríguez.

    Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and site managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on heritage conservation with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.