Here was located the old Sun Temple in Inca times, the richest temple of all the Tihauntinsuyo. In fact you can still see the inca remains in the front esplanade, the church and monastery was built on top of the Inca ruins.
Entrance 1,60 USD. Boleto Turistico is not valid here.
This temple was literally "covered with gold" in ancient times, including statues of plants and animals in that material. All that is now gone (to Europe) but you can admire the original walls of the Temple.
Now it houses the convent of Santo Domingo.
This place is extraordinary. Originally was the Temple of The Sun, where the Inca celebrated the most important ceremony for this culture during the soltice of summer.
Today you'll appreciate a strange mix of structures, on one hand the spaniard church and in the other hand the original Koricancha temple.
The most spreaded versions tell us that this is the best example of the fusion of the kechua civilization with the spaniard culture.
The reality is very different.
This is the perfect example of the huge efforts made by the Spanish Empire to dissapear each trace of the kechua civilization. They built the Santo Domingo Church over the oldest walls of the Koricancha temple, destroying an important part of the temple and hidding the rest under the large church building.
But the kechua structures demonstrated that are designed to survive, and the church is just an ugly fragile building over the original beauty.
This region of the world is shaked constantly by strong earthquakes (the kechuas knew it very well) and after each one the church was destroyed at least partially, and the oldest inca temple outcrope victorious, exposing his admirable architecture without any damage.
After a lot of events like this with his expensives repairing jobs, the spaniards learned to respect the original stones astonished by his strenght. And now we knows they are loosing the battle.
The Santo Domingo Convent is one of the "Don't Miss" sights of Cusco-- for three reasons. Most obviously, it is an important colonial convent, containing a beautiful arcaded cloister and fine colonial bell tower. The second reason is to see the excellent paintings displayed in the many side rooms off the cloister. Santo Domingo contains one of the best collections of Cusco School painitings, and it is really fun to search them for unique Cusco elements, such as dinners of cuy or Conquistadors at the crucifixion. Finally, this sight is also noteworthy as it was the Inca Temple of the Sun. Inside the grounds you can see the exacting construction of the old Inca walls and portals. As is typical, the Spaniards destroyed it and built on top of it, sending the clear message that they were in charge. They also looted the Temple of gold -- supposedly there was so much gold in here that it took three months to melt it all down. So, no matter what your interest, the Temple of the Sun/Santo Domingo is worth a visit -- even though it is not on the city tourist ticket!
This was the site of a pre-incan temple. Incas built a temple dedicated to thier sun god, Inti, on these pre-incan foundations. After the arrival and conquest of Cusco by the Spanish, this site was converted into the Church of Santo Domingo. Today it serves as a convent.
Today much of the Sun Temple structure is still intact. This is an excellent archaelogicial site to witness 3 different periods of building - pre-Incan, Incan and Spanish.
Most daytrip tours of the Sacred Valley stop at Koricancha for a quick look around the temple/convent complex before heading out to the Urubamba Valley. The site is located within the Cusco city limits.
The ruins of Koricancha, the Incan Temple of the Sun in Cusco, serve as the foundation for the Spanish colonial Santo Domingo convent.
The museum of Koricancha on Avenida Sol is included in the Boleto Turistico, but not the actual temple/convent, which cost an additional 6 soles per person. Inside, you can compare the colonial architecture to the perfect formations of the Inca stonemasons. The quality was the best of all the ruins we'd visited, I think, with not enough space to slip even a piece of paper between the perfectly cut stones.
The rounded rock formation served as the site for the actual worship of the sun - although we couldn't find a way to access it from inside.
The Temple of the Sun was one of the most important temples in the Inca empire. As its names implies,it was dedicated to the worship of the sun. The courtyard was filled with life-sized gold figures,altars, corn and a golden sun disc at one time. When the Spaniards arrived, they removed the gold figures and melted them down. The original stonewalls of the temples were kept and used as the foundations for the Convent of Santo Domingo.
Admission is 4 soles. A little over a 1 US dollar.
The church and monastery of Santo Domingo was built over the foundations of Qorikancha, one of the Inca's most important and religious sites. It was several temples worshipping different natural gods, and the Temple of the Sun was the most impressive with - like an El Dorado legend - gold sheets covering the walls, gold altars, golden statues, and the holiest religious symbol of the Empire: "The golden disc of the sun". The golden disc was never found by the conquistadors (and is still missing), but they emptied the temple of its other gold, and the remains of Qorikancha were left to the Dominican.
They constructed the church and monastery in the 17th century, but the 1950 earthquake uncovered many of the old Inca walls, and later the Temple of the Moon, the Temple of the Lighting, and a couple of other chambers have been revealed. The Temple of the Sun has entirely disappeared, but this is still a must see in Cusco!
Once more the history goes the same way, even though sometimes it ended up nicely, the Spanish felt the need to transform every building they saw and turn it into something catholic! Qoriqancha was originally an Inca temple decicated to the Inti, the god of the sun, and in fact it was one of the most important temples of the Inca empire, and it's said that all its walls were covered in gold. However once the Spanish arrived, they decided to build the convent of Santo Domingo there. The result is an interesting mix of Inca and Reinassance style walls and ornaments. You can visit the convent with the "boleto turístico", and walk around the inside, gardens, take a look at the many paintings of the "escuela Cusqueña", as well as enter the little museum they have right next to the Qoriqancha (Museo del Sitio de Qoriqancha).
This small underground museum has just about the same artifacts than the Inca museum. The most interesting parts are the skulls that have holes in them, the ones that are elongated and also the mummified bodies that are well preserved. For the rest you will see the tools made out of the stones to cut, sculpt, kill, and else, some pottery, some textiles.
Unfortunately not all is explained in english, so unless you have a guide with you, or you speak spanish, you're on your own.
Admission is covered by the boleto touristico.
This little, underground museum just around the corner from Koricancha is worth a visit - and is included in the Boleto Turistico. There are some interesting exhibits about the artifacts uncovered at the site, including these gold Inca (maybe pre-Inca?) llamas. At the very least, they gave an idea for a souvenir, and now I have my own gold-colored llama here at home!
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