What's the History Behind Cusco's Rainbow Flag?

Have you seen the vibrant flag of Cusco waving in the wind? This intricate flag showcases Cusco's cultural heritage in vivid hues. But have you ever considered its true history? On this page, we will discover it - its source, symbolism, and relationship to Incan mythology will all be covered here!

Cusco province

Cusco is a city located in southeast Peru that was the former capital of the Inca Empire, commonly referred to by its Quechua name Qosqo. Today, it serves as an attractive tourist attraction due to its well-preserved colonial buildings and proximity to Machu Picchu. There are 13 districts within its province.

History of the Flag of Cusco

Cusco's flag features seven vibrant colors arranged as a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, sky blue, blue, and purple. These are the colors that jazzed up its creation. But what's the deal behind it? Well, surprisingly, this flag isn't as old, and it wasn't "officially" used by the Incas. 

Here's a timeline of Cusco Flag History:

  • Raul Montesinos Espejo introduced this rainbow flag to Cusco for the 25th Anniversary of Tawantinsuyo Radio station in 1973.
  • Five years later, in 1978, Cusco mayor Gilberto Muñiz Caparo adopts it and makes it official due to its immense popularity.
  • In 2021, it gets an update, adding Echenique's golden sun (Sol de Echenique).
  • Today, the flag steals the spotlight in all major official events and parades, including the celebration of the city's anniversary on June 24.
The flag of Cusco with El Sol de Echenique simbol
Cusco's Flag with the Echenique Golden Sun as a shield.

Origin of the Rainbow Flag of Cusco

Raul Montesinos Espejo designed the flag of Cusco after being inspired by Aymaran wiphala (an "emblem"). Indigenous people from Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, northeastern Argentina, and southern Colombia also collaborated in creating their own square flag in 1945.

The controversy over the Rainbow flag

Recently, the flag has caused considerable contention. Some feel it represents the LGTBIQ+ community flag and wish for it to be changed; other people believe that it represents Peruvian culture and should be displayed proudly.

Cusco's flag is easily recognizable. The seven colors represent each central region in Cusco.

Difference between Cusco and LGTBIQ+ community flag

The Cusco rainbow flag is an attractive and vibrant flag representing the Inca community in Cusco, Peru. The seven colors represent chakras in human bodies as well as seven elements of nature: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Inca people take great pride in flying their flag at Pride events globally - it can often be found flying above Cusco streets.

Flag of Cusco

The LGTBIQ+ community flag represents pride and support for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Michael Page designed it in 1998 and it has become an iconic symbol of this community. Each stripe in its length represents different areas within this wider movement.

  • Pink symbolizes attraction to those of the same gender
  • Red represents life; orange signifies healing
  • Yellow stands for sun
  • Green represents nature
  • Turquoise signifies magic and art.
The LGTBIQ+ community flag

The symbolism of the colors on the Cusco flag

Cuzco's flag features seven horizontally aligned stripes in rainbow-like colors to represent its history and identity. Adopted as official in 1978, the center shield of its flag was changed in 2021 to incorporate the Cuzco shield.

Attempt to change the flag of Cusco

Some residents in Cusco have expressed interest in altering the city flag, which has become an issue over time. The current flag features rainbow colors as a sign of hope and unity; some people believe that its design doesn't accurately represent Cusco's culture or history.

People want to alter Cusco's flag because it lacks symbols representing its history - specifically that of the Inca Empire - which are central parts of Cusco. Furthermore, indigenous communities view rainbow flags as signs of colonialism and oppression while other think it would better reflect Cusco's past and present.

Deliberating whether or not to change the flag can be an extremely complex matter and there is no easy solution available. Any decision will surely cause considerable debate, so it is crucial that all perspectives be carefully considered prior to reaching a decision.


Submitted by Susana Pasalagua on


La Manifestación de La Gran Misericordia y Pacto del Dios CREADOR de Todo con el Hombre!
Hermosa Bandera, Hermoso Cusco, Hermoso País Perú, Hermosa Gente!
Bendiciones desde México, tenemos Historias Similares!

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