Shoe Repair Shop

Shoe Repair Shop
Year Photographed: 1993

Origin: Peru

Native Language: Quechua / Spanish

This repair shop sits in the center of what is considered the largest ghetto within the city limits of Cuzco. There is no running water or sanitary facilities. This area is one of great historical significance. It lies inside the city of Cuzco's original puma design. The puma was respected by the Ancient Inca for its cunningness. This area has been occupied by Incas for a thousand years. The entry ways to Cuzco were always guarded and no one could enter the city between sunrise and sunset. The center of Cuzco was comprised of over 4,000 neat cut-rock structures. It was described by the Spanish as having spacious malls, fountains, palaces, shrines, temples, and villas. Most of the buildings were covered in thatched roofs and the narrowed roads were neatly paved out of stones. Cuzco had both sewer and water systems. Inca royalty regularly took baths with water tapped off from hot springs. As it is today, each ethnic group wore its own clothing designs and headgear. Fine cloth had more value than gold. The finer and more intricate the weaving, the greater the value. Textiles were even accepted for taxes. Everyone wove, even the wives of the Incan rulers.

In 1536, Manco Inca rebelled against the Spainards. He set fire to the city of Cuzco in an attempt to force them out of the city. By the time it was over the entire city was just a shell of itself and bodies littered the streets. Gradually, the thatched roofs were replaced by Spanish earth colored tiles. Next, the Spanish workman began crafting Spanish architectural features onto the buildings of the Incas. Then the Christian churches were constructed, and soon afterwards the sounds of bells could be heard throughout the city.