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 at Cusco Cathedral
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
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|Coordinates:||13.516252° S, 71.977884° W|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Cusco Cathedral|
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.