History

At least three cultures have left their imprint on Cuenca. When the Spanish arrived in the 1540s, they encountered the ruins of a great but short-lived Incan city called Tomebamba (Valley of the Sun). The Spanish eagerly dismantled what was left of it, incorporating the elegantly carved Inca stones into their own structures. Before the Inca, the indigenous Cañari people had lived in the area for perhaps 3000 years. They too had a city here, called Quanpondelig (Plain as Big as the Sky). Except for a few interesting but limited sites, the physical remains of these pre-Columbian cultures have been erased – although some cracking museums here tell their story.