Churches of Cusco

The Cathedral

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The first cathedral in Cusco was built in 1539 in the "Suntur Wasi", and was known at the time as the church of victory. Later between the years 1560 and 1664 a new cathedral was constructed on the site of "Kiswar Kancha", the palace of Inca Wiraqocha. It was designed in the shape of a Latin cross. The facade is in the Renaissance style contrasting with the Baroque and Plateresque. The Cathedral is also famous for its splendid interior.

It has excellent examples of colonial goldsmith's work and woodcarving and a valuable collection of canvases in the style of the so called Cusqueña School. On either side of the Cathedral, there are two auxiliary chapels, one for victory and the other for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The church of the Society of Jesús

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Construction started on this church of the Jesuit order in 1576 at Amarukancha or the Palace of the Inca Huayna Qhapaq. It is considered the best example of colonial Baroque architecture in America. The facade, all of carved stones, is spectacular. In the interior there is a beautiful gold altar, which is built over an underground chapel. The church also possesses a collection of sculptures and paintings, such as the wedding of Saint Ignatius Loyola's cousin and a Ñusta of Inca stock.

Church and Convent of the Merced

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Founded in 1536, the outstanding feature of the church and the convent is its tower in the Baroque style. In its interior you can find Baroque Renaissance cloisters. The choir is decorated with chairs in the Baroque Plateresque style and numerous figures and paintings of colonial art. There is a monstrance of gold and beautiful stones that is 1.3 m. high and 22 kg. in weight, with a big pearl in the form of a siren, and it is considered the second biggest in the world.

The convent of Santo Domingo

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The convent was built in the foundations of a monument of great importance for the Inca religion of the sun god, called "Inti". In the interior are enclosures with walls of fine polished stone. The chronicles affirm that they were covered with sheets of gold and silver, with idols and the representation of the sun. Its only tower is profusely carved in the Baroque style. Its interior possesses an excellent collection of paintings in the style of the Cusqueñas School.

The Temple of San Blas

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The Temple of San Blas was built in the old neighbourhood of "T'oqokachi" in 16th century. In the church you can see extraordinary examples of fine woodcarving in the Spanish churrigueresque style. The pulpit is carved from cedar wood and the main altar is Baroque style.

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