The Cathedral of Cusco is built on the site of ‘Quiswarcancha’, which was an old palace of Inca Wiracocha. The construction of the cathedral began around 1559, and was completed 100 years later! Many of the stones used in the construction, were originally a part of the Saqsayhuaman fortress outside Cusco.
Inside the cathedral you’ll find the main silver altar, the cedar choir which is decorated with many carved figures, several small chapels, and many great paintings from the Cusqueña School of Painting, for example a painting of the Last Supper with a guinea pig as the main dish.
There are two smaller churches connected to the cathedral, ‘The Church of Jesus Maria’ from 1733, and ‘Capilla del Triunfo’ from 1536. ‘Capilla del Triunfo’ was the first Christian church in Cusco, and was built over the foundations of the ancient ‘Suntur Wasi’ temple (God’s Temple).
A definite must see. It towers over and dominates the Plaza De Armas. Inside you get a feel for what happened to all the Inca gold and silver. The altars inside are fantastic! Made of silver and gold. You will also find a Museum of Religious art inside.
The Cusco Cathedral was completed in 1654 and took almost 100 years to build. It is located on one side of the Plaza de Armas and is the main church of the Archdiocese of Cusco. The location for both the Plaza and cathedral was chosen because it was a significant Inca site - the palace of the Inca king Wiracocha. The construction used many stones from the nearby site of Sacsayhuamán.
As well as a place of worship it has become a museum for the colonial art of Cusco as well as archaelogical arefacts and relics. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the City of Cusco in 1983.
Adjoining the cathedral but set back from it are the Chapel of the Sagrada Familia (on the left when looking at the cathedral) and the Iglesia del Triunfo or Church of Triumph (on the right).
Hours: Mon.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat. 10-11:30 and daily 2-5:30.
Entry by Tourist Ticket
Cusco's main Cathedral may not be as impressive on the outside as Inglesia de la Compania just across the Plaza, but inside it is the more beautiful of the two churches. Construction started in 1560 and continued for 100 years. There are two chapels built on either side of the main chapel. The one on the left is called El Triunfo. It is built on the site of the main Inca armoury. It symbolizes Spains victory over the Inca. On the right side is the Jesus, Maria y Jose chapel. Also inside the church is a fascinating painting of the Last Supper showing Jesus and the disciples having a last meal of cuy (Peruvian guinea pig).
The Cusco Cathedral was built in 1550 in the Baroque Style, right on the foundations of the palace of Inca Wirachocha.
I decided to visit this church really early in the morning at 6 AM and there were few people around and the sun was just starting to rise. I sat by one of the benches on the little garden outside and wondered how it probably looked like as it was being built, with the natives doing most of the work.
On the Cathedral’s walls are paintings which include the Last Supper of Marcos Zapanta which is famous for the “guinea pig” or “cuy” being on the table with Christ!
The massive centerpiece, a solid silver altar is just amazing! It must have been polished a lot. The Cathedral also has the largest bell in South America, the big Maria Angola bell from 1659.
I can’t remember well, but I think I probably heard the bell…or was it just my imagination?
One of the main things to see in the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral is an interesting place to visit. It first started as a smaller church which is now one of the chappels within the Cathedral. It was built between the years 1560 and 1664, mainly in a Reinassance style in the facade of the building, and Barroque style in the interior.
What I thought was interesting about the Cathedral, is that SUPPOSEDLY there are many hidden Inca symbols around the building, such as the sun, the moon or the rainbow. From what I've heard, which could very likely be only urban legends, behind closed doors that never open you can see these symbols, but since they're not catholic the church decides not to seach for any, as it would cause controversy!
Also this cathedral is dedicated to the "señor de los temblores" (lord of the tremblings), as to protect the building with the many earthquakes that the city suffers.
Notice that if you want to visit the cathedral you'll have to buy a sepparate pass, and it's a bit pricey as well compared to the rest of the monuments.
This is where we started our organized tour. Ot was very interesting to hear how the Cathedral was built and to learn about the Cusqueno artists that painted the canvas' and did the wood work in these two places. The only unfortunate thing is that we couldnt take pictures inside. The Cathedral actually house three different churches inside. I have to say it is very impressive. Its too bad that they dont make structures so beautiful anymore. There is so much detail in everything.
The altars are gold plated, some are silver.
Lo que normalmente se llama Catedral está formado por ella misma y por "dos capillas"la de El Triunfo y la de Jesús, María y José que es por la que normalmente se entra para visitarla
De estilo renacentista, se encuentran en ella las mejores expresiones de orfebrería colonial, tallas en madera de cedro y aliso, como el púlpito, así como una valiosa colección de lienzos de la Escuela Cusqueña.
Hay que destacar el altar mayor que es todo de plata y el Señor de los Temblores al que se le tiene gran devoción en Cuzco
No tepierda la Ultima Cena en que Jesús está comindo papaya , rocoto (ají relleno ) y un cuy
Prohibido hacer fotos en el interior!!!!
What normally is called The Cathedral is formed by it and by two more "chapels" the Triunfo and Jesús , María y José , that is where is normally the visitors entrance ´.
It has Renaissance style and you can see inside the best expressions of the colonial metal working ,cedar and "aliso"wood carvings , as the pulpit and a valuable collection of paintings of the Cuzco School
It must be highlighted the Major Altar made of silver and the Hearth quakes lord that is very venerated in Cuzco
Do not miss the Last Dinner painting where jesus is eating papaya , rocoto (pepper with meat ) and a cuy
No photos inside!!!!!!
I was completely amazed by the sheer size of the Cathedral in Cusco. There are so many different chapels and rooms that you could almost get lost!! It's not in the same league as St Peter's in Rome but it is very beautiful if you like lots and lots of Spanish Gold.
When I was there they were repairing the roof and doing restoration works. This is an earthquake zone and it got damaged some years ago and they are still restoring.
Definitely worth a visit regardless of religion.
The cathedral, built in 1550 and located in the northeast side of the Plaza de Armas contains over 400 12th century paintings done by the members of the renowned Cusco School. The “Lord of the Earthquakes” altar weights over 52 pounds and is made of solid gold and studded with precious stones. The main altar is covered with sheets of silver and is stunning!
The cathedral was built on top of the foundation of Inca Wirachocha’s Palace. Stones from the Saqsaywaman site were used in it’s construction. The cathedral in Cusco is very impressive and ornate. It is surrounded by several chaples. In fact you buy your ticket to enter at the Capilla de la Sagrada Familia. Then, you exit the Cathedral and pass through the Capilla del Triunfo which is the oldest church in Cusco. One thing to remember is the tourist ticket does not cover entry into the cathedral. You have to purchase a separate ticket to enter here.
The cathedral is full of contradiction and hidden meanings. The cathedral was started in 1550 but not completed until 1669. The façade has a renaissance style, while the interior has a Baroque style because of this delay. The natives of the land tried to combine Christianity with their own culture and religion. This was very interesting for me to see. I looked for evidence of it as I walked through the church, while the guide pointed out the more plainly seen examples. This is most evident in the famous painting in the Cathedral by Marcos Zapata of the last supper. Here, the apostles sit around a table instead of sitting on one side of it. They are dining on Cuy (guinea pig) a staple for the Incas. They are drinking Chicha ( a type of alcoholic corn drink which the Incas drank).
Another good example of this is the famous statue of “El Senor de los Temblones” or Lord of the Earthquakes. This has a figure of Jesus on a solid gold cross. The Christ on the Cross has Incan features, is darker in complexion and has profuse bleeding. There is a legend that states that in 1650 there was an earthquake. The townspeople were frightened so they started a procession and prayed with this statute. The tremors miraculously stopped after this.
The cathedral is a must see. Try to do the where’s Waldo thing and spot examples of the fusion of Christian and Incan influences in artwork the guide does not focus on.
An impressive cathedral that was built on the remains of an incan temple. Walking through the Cathedral is an interesting mix of Incan ruins and old colonial church.
Hours are Mon-Sat 10-11:30am and 2-5:30 pm and open Sunday 2-5pm
The Catedral del Cusco is one big church. It has an impressive collection of Icons, Paintings and other religious artifacts. In particular there is the Our Savior of the Earthquake, who supposedly was paraded around the city to stop an earthquake, and a painting of the last supper where Jesus and his crew are feasting on roast Cuy, Guini pig, and the impressive pulpit carved from a single tree.
My favorite was a icon of a saint who is holding his head in his hands. There is a large imaculatly carved wooded area that is filled with Icons of saints, One, a decapitated martyr i would guess stands srtong with his head off his shoulders and sitting in his hands.
Entrance is 13 Soles
When you tour Cusco's Cathedral, make sure you take a good look of the painting of the Last Supper. It was done by local indigenous artists of the Cusco School and is unique in the world. In this rendition of the archetypal Christian dinner, Jesus and the apostles are dining on cuy (guinea pig) and drinking chicha. How else would you celebrate Passover if you were an Inca? You can't have a big dinner without the cuy!
By the way, if you are interested in eating cuy, see our local custom tip on the topic.
This is maybe the main building in Cuzco, located right in the Plaza de Armas. It can be visited during mass (6-10am), but be respectful and don't make noise.
Otherwise, you can buy a ticket and do the whole tour, entering by a left side door. "Boleto Turístico" is not admited here, you have to buy the so called "Religious Touristic ticket" that lets you enter a few religious churches and museums.
It was built on the place were once was the Inca Viracocha Palace and used its basement, as well as some big stones from Sacsayhuaman.
There are many beautiful chapels and images, and some important guys are buried here (Garcilaso de la Vega...)