The Cathedral of Cusco
Beautiful church located in the main square of Cusco Peru. Find many pictures of religious paintings, many of them painted by indigenous artists during the conquest. Definitely a must see if you are in Cusco.
Everything you should know before visiting Cusco’s cathedral
Where is Cusco’s cathedral?
The Cathedral of Cusco is located on the north side of the Plaza de Armas, in the historic center of the city of Cusco.
Visiting hours and entrance fee:
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Tickets to visit the Cusco Cathedral
Religious program ticket: This ticket allows you to visit some religious monuments such as Cusco Cathedral, the temple of Santo Domingo, the archbishop’ s museum, among others.
Cost of entrance ticket:
Partial adult: S /. 25.00
Partial Student: S /. 12.50
It was built between 1560-1654. It is shaped like a Latin cross, built over the foundations of the Kiswarkancha, palace of the Inca Wiracocha, a century long before the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru. The location of Wiracocha’s palace was chosen with the aim of taking the Inca religion out of Cusco. Its construction took more than 100 years. The Spanish conquerors made the Inca people build the cathedral over this palace and adopt the Catholic religion.
Most of the building’s stones were extracted from Sacsayhuaman, a sacred Inca temple, located in the hills above Cusco.
In the year 1650 an earthquake shook the entire city of Cusco, damaging a large part of the construction of the cathedral. The changes in the upper part of the façade led to the elimination of the third body of the towers.
Cusco Cathedral Architecture
The Cathedral of Cusco has three naves: the epistle, the gospel and the central nave, which coincide with the three doors of the facade. In addition, the Gothic-Renaissance style of the cathedral reflects that of Spain during the period of the Spanish conquest of South America and also that of Cusco.
the cathedral has 14 side chapels containing different works of art, statues of saints, virgins and paintings. Therefore, therefore, Cusco’s cathedral can also be considered one of the most important museums in Cusco.
Many of the works of art that you will be able to appreciate in the Cathedral belong to the former Cusco school. The school was built by the Spaniards to educate the Incas and to teach them methods and techniques of European art in the Renaissance style.
The frames and structures of all large artifacts were made from cedar wood and covered with silver beaten plates.
Quechua painters were limited to painting only scenes of the Catholic Church. Restrictions imposed on Inca artists prevented them from signing their own works, making many of them unidentifiable.
Among the indigenous Cusco painters of that time, one of the most famous is Diego Quispe Tito (1611 – 1681) with his famous canvases of the ‘Zodiac of the Cathedral of Cusco’. Among the many canvases that adorn the cathedral are: the Virgen del pajarito (by Bernardo Bitti), the Lienzo de Nuestra Señora de Almudena (by Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo), the series of ‘San Lucas, San Marcos, San Juan y San Mateo’ (by Antonio Sinchi Roca) and others.
What to see in the cathedral of Cusco?
The sacristy – The sacristy is one of the most remarkable rooms in the Cathedral. The sacristy is located to the right of the main altar. Its walls are crowned by the portraits of all the bishops of Cusco, from Vicente de Valverde (1499 – 1541) to the latest ones.
El Señor de los Temblores
The statue of a crucified dark-skinned Christ is an emblem of the Cathedral.
It is commonly believed that it reduced the earthquake damage in the city during the disaster of 1650.
The work is made of various mixed materials, including poles, agave fiber and plaster.
The Choir Stalls
The choir stalls are a must see in Cusco cathedral. The choir stalls are made in the “plateresque” or “neo-archaic” style, which was widely used in Spain in the XV-XVII centuries, and are made of pure cedar.
The Last Supper
The Last Supper, as painted by Marcos Zapata in 1753.
The large painting features Jesus and the twelve apostles gathered around a table preparing for dinner with a roasted guinea pig as the main course.
The silver room
This is a small side chapel that contains a varied collection of religious objects made of gold, precious stones, especially silver.
frequently asked questions
a) Where to buy tickets for the cathedral?
The entrance ticket to the Cathedral can be purchased at the entrance door of the Cathedral itself.
You can also buy the ticket for the Cusco Religious Circuit, which includes the visit to the Cathedral, as well as the Temple of San Blas, the Temple of San Cristobal and the Archbishop’s Museum.
b) What tour should I take to visit the Cusco Cathedral?
The most recommended tour to visit the cathedral is the city tour which covers 2 important attractions in the city, the Qoricancha and the cathedral of Cusco.