1. Sacred Destinations
  2. Peru
  3. Cusco
  4. Cusco Cathedral

Cusco Cathedral

The 16th-century Cusco Cathedral. Photo © Sam Judson. View all images in our Cusco Cathedral Photo Gallery.
Cusco Cathedral by night. Photo © Bruno Furnari.
View across the Plaza de Armas. Photo © Mike & Amanda Knowles.
View from the Plaza de Armas. Photo © Jack.

Cusco Cathedral is a Baroque-style cathedral built on the foundations of the palace of the Inca Wirachocha in Cusco.

Construction began in 1550, using many stones looted from the site of the hillside Sacsayhuamán fortress, and was completed a century later. It is considered one of the most splendid Spanish colonial churches in the Americas.

What to See

Within the cathedral's high walls are some of the best examples of the Cusqueña school of painting, including a Marcos Zapata painting of the Last Supper with a local specialty, cuy (guinea pig), as the main dish.

The cathedral's centerpieces are its massive, solid-silver altar, and the enormous 1659 María Angola bell, the largest in South America, which hangs in one of the towers.

The cedar choir has carved rows of saints, popes, and bishops, all in stunning detail down to their delicately articulated hands. Five chapels flank each side of the nave; the one dedicated to Nuestro Señor de los Temblores (Our Lord of the Earthquakes) contains a solid-gold crucifix that, legend has it, minimized damage to the chapel during a 1650 earthquake.

There's non-Christian imagery in Cusco Cathedral too: figures of pumas, the Inca representation of the earth, are carved on the enormous main doors. Normal access to the cathedral is not via those doors but through the adjoining Iglesia del Triunfo, the city's first Christian church.

Quick Facts on Cusco Cathedral

Site Information
Names:Cusco Cathedral
City:Cusco
Country:Peru
Categories:Cathedrals
Styles:Spanish Colonial
Dates:1550
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Cusco, Peru
Coordinates:13.516252° S, 71.977884° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Cusco Cathedral

Below is a location map and aerial view of Cusco Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Fodor's Peru, 1st edition

More Information

Article Info

Title:Cusco Cathedral
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:09/10/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/peru/cusco-cathedral
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/peru/cusco-cathedral">Cusco Cathedral</a>