Cusco (Peru) most important churches

Barrio de San Blas: A neighborhood of artisans, workshops and craft shops. It is one of the most picturesque sites in the city with steep and narrow streets and old houses built by the Spanish over important Inca foundations. It has an attractive square and the oldest church in Cusco, built in 1563.

Hatun Rumiyuq (“the one with the big stone”): This is the most visited street with the palace of Inca Roca (converted to the Archbishop’s residence), and the Stone of Twelve Angles (a marvel of ancient stonework) which is considered emblematic to the city’s history.

Convento e Iglesia de la Merced: Founded in 1536, destroyed by the earthquake in 1650, and rebuilt in 1675. It stands out for its Baroque Renaissance style cloisters, choir stalls, colonial paintings, wood carvings, and an elaborate monstrance made of gold and gemstones that weighs 22 kg (49 lb) and is 130 cm (51.18 in) in height.

Iglesia del Triunfo: Built in 1539, is the first cathedral built in Cusco on the foundations of the Palace of Viracocha Inca. Today, this church is an auxiliary chapel of the Cathedral. The main basilica cathedral of the city was built between 1560 and 1664.

Plaza de Armas de Cusco: Known as the “Square of the warrior” in the Inca era, this plaza has been the scene of several important events, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Plaza de Armas was the scene of the death of Túpac Amaru II, considered the indigenous leader of the resistance.

Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (Church of the Society of Jesus): Its construction was initiated by the Jesuits in 1576 on the foundations of the Amarucancha or the palace of the Inca ruler Wayna Qhapaq. It is considered one of the best examples of colonial baroque style in the Americas. Its facade is carved in stone and its main altar is made of carved wood covered with gold leaf. It was built over an underground chapel and has a valuable collection of colonial paintings of the Cusco School.

Qurikancha (“golden place”): The most important sanctuary dedicated to the Sun God (Inti) at the time of the Inca Empire. Qurikancha was said to have featured a large solid golden disc that was studded with precious stones and represented the Inca Sun God – Inti. Spanish chroniclers describe the Sacred Garden in front of the temple as a garden of golden plants with leaves of beaten gold, stems of silver, solid gold corn-cobs and 20 life-size llamas and their herders all in solid gold.
The temple was destroyed by Spanish invaders who, as they plundered, were determined to rid the city of its wealth, idolaters and shrines. Nowadays, only a curved outer wall and partial ruins of the inner temple remain at the site.

Convent of Santo Domingo: With this structure as a foundation, colonists built the Convent of Santo Domingo (St. Dominic) in the Renaissance style. The building, with one baroque tower, exceeds the height of many other buildings in this city. Inside is a large collection of paintings from the Cuzco School.

You shouldn’t miss it, believe us.

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Eduardo Reyes