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Cathedral of Cusco

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Cathedral of Cusco

The Cathedral of Cusco is one of the most impressive constructions in Cusco, Peru. The Cathedral of the Imperial City of Cusco or call it by its true name 'Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Cusco' is the main temple of the city and hosts the Diocese's headquarters in the cosmopolitan city of Cusco.
The Cathedral facade of Renaissance style, contrasts with the mud and plateresque of its luxurious interiors. In addition, it has one of the most important goldsmith's samples of colonial art, finely carved wooden altars and a beautiful collection of canvases from the Cusqueña School. To its sides two small auxiliary chapels rise, one of them, the church of the Triumph, which was the first cathedral of Cusco, erected in 1532 on the palace of the Inca Viracocha.
The Basilica Cathedral of Cusco, next to the Temples of the Triumph and the Sagrada Familia make up the Cathedral Complex. The tour that is purchased to visit the Cathedral also includes the Temple of Triumph and the Temple of Holy Family.

It should be noted that in 1983 the cathedral was named a cultural heritage of Perú, is currently used as a meeting point for all the saints in the celebration of Corpus Christy.


The Chapel of The Holy Family

The church of Jesus Marie and Jose, which is also called 'holy family', was built between 1723 and 1735 by Bishop Gabriel de Arregui.

The temple has a magnificent altarpiece of cedar, made in 1737, of baroque style, carved and gilded. It has three bodies and three streets, with mostly old images and canvases and a beautiful silver front, beautifully worked, as well as the tabernacle, the racks and the tabernacle, all very well made.

It is recorded that in 1745, José Pardo de Figueroa, Marquis of San Lorenzo de Valleumbroso, donated the front of silver, mayas, blandones and other jewels, as well as a silver lamp and a crystal lamp. Since then the temple looks more splendid. The interior paintings were donated by the noble Indian Antonio Sinchi Roca. The pictures are titled the Eucharist, the Penance and the Baptism, which possibly formed part of a collection dedicated to the Sacraments.


The Chapel of the Triumph

It was built in 1538 at the place called Suntur Wasi and served provisionally as the Cathedral of the city. On the main face was placed the image of Our Lady of the Assumption in memory of the victory of the Spanish over Manco Inca in 1536 from where the name 'El Triunfo' comes. Its three doors conclude in 1664. It was built with andesite stone, based on the primitive temple with its dome.

The plant resembles a Greek cross, the stone dome is located at the center formed by four cruciform pillars that rise on the pedestals to support four arcs of half a point of deposit that supports the structure of the central dome. The temple is formed by three naves: from the epistle, the gospel and the central nave, a high choir located in the lateral sector of the nave of the gospel, it is precisely entered from the Cathedral to the Church of the Triumph by the church sotocoro. 


Cathedral of Cusco History

Previously the 'trump chapel' was used as the Cathedral of Cusco, later in the 16th century Bishop Fray Vicente Valverde seeks a site for the construction of the new Cathedral of Cusco. In 1559, Bishop Fray Vicente Valverde sent the plans of the cathedral to the King of Spain. The construction of the Cathedral of Cusco was located in the palace of the Inca Wiracocha since the Spaniards wanted to demonstrate the triumph of Catholicism over the Andean culture.

It should be noted that the construction of the Basilica Cathedral of Cusco started in 1560 to 1658 and lasted approximately 100 years. The construction was supervised by Hispanic architects and priests, but executed with sweat and tears by the Inca descendants.

According to the plaque in the Chapel of the Triumph, in the last Inca rebellion, 2 important saints: Santiago, who kills Morros and the Virgin of the Descendent, helped the Spanish defense against the rebels. Consequently, to that act the cathedral was named Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Cusco and Santiago mata morros was named 'Santiago, who kills Indians'


Architecture of the Cathedral of Cusco

The holy Basilica Cathedral of Cusco has an area of almost 4 thousand meters, with original designs made by the Spanish architect Juan Miguel de Vermedi. For the construction of the main walls of the cathedral they used andesite stone brought from the archaeological park of Sacsayhuamán.


The Basilica Cathedral of Cusco structure is Renaissance, the top contains 33 domes and its interior is shaped like a Latin cross, with cruises that connect with its two side churches: 'Church of the Holy Family' and the 'Church of the Triumph'. The Cathedral of Cusco has three naves: nave of the epistle, nave of the gospel and the central nave, coinciding with the three doors of the facade. It has fourteen cruciform pillars that define the distribution of the twenty-four rib vaults, the largest being the entrance vault and the crossing vault. The 24 vaults are supported by basic structures formed by 21 stone arches and 32 semi-circular arches. All these structures are made of andesite stone (fine-grained volcanic rock chemically and mineralogically similar to diorite)


The temple has a magnificent altarpiece of cedar, made in 1737, baroque, carved and gilded, three bodies and three streets, with mostly old images and canvases and a beautiful silver front, beautifully worked, as well as the tabernacle, the racks and the tabernacle, all very well made. 


Treasures of The Cathedral

The Basilica Cathedral of Cusco contains an unparalleled Andean and Spanish wealth.


Sillería del coro

The Choir chair is carved in cedar with a Baroque style, contains 42 carved images of Saints of the Catholic Church from around the world, and above 38 Women Saints and Virgins. In both sides of the seats they present female figures with indigenous features that show their breasts naked and belly bulging like an eye that according to tradition represent the 'Mother Earth', called by the Incas: 'Pacha Mama'.


Templete de plata

The Silver canopy or baldachin was made in 1733, it is used annually to transport the custody and most holy sacrament during the procession of the Corpus Christi, where also you can appreciate incense burners, bunk beds, chandeliers, etc. all made of silver cedar wood frames were covered with embossed silver plates.


The Custody

In the Cathedral of Cusco, the custody is a piece of 22 carat gold, measures 1.20 m, weighs 27 kg and contains more than 2,000 precious gems among diamonds, pearls, emeralds currently kept in a box next to the sacristy along with other jewels and crowns.


The Main Door of The Cathedral

Crossing the immense door of the Cathedral, called ‘The Door of Forgiveness’, we are facing the altar of our ancient lady, the Virgin of the Door. She is the virgin of the sad people, and according to popular beliefs her child sometimes smiles at his devotees to announce happiness and the virgin looks at you in all your journey from your entrance to the cathedral.


Cusco Cathedral Last Dinner Painting

The Cusco Cathedral Last Dinner Painting is not a perfect canvas but it is the most famous of the cathedral because in the middle of the table there is a tray containing a biscacha (guinea pig) important dish in the Andes and consumed only in the most special occasions; also the Andean painter of the Cusco Cathedral Last Dinner Painting put products with Andean elements on the table.



The catacombs in colonial period used to kept the corpses of wealthy and important people. In the crypt of the Church of the Triumph is kept a chest containing the ashes of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, chronicler and author of ‘Comentarios reales’.


Chapel of The Lord of Tremors

The Lord of Tremors every Monday holy goes to procession. He is nominated lord of the tremors since 1650 when the city of Cusco was shaken by a strong earthquake and in the midst of that telluric movement some cusquenian parishioners took in procession the image and in that way the tremor in the city of Cusco was calming.


How to Get to the Cathedral of Cusco?

After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco. The Cathedral is located in the northeast sector of the Main Square of Cusco. It is the most important religious monument of the Historic Center of Cusco.


How to Visit the Basilica Cathedral of Cusco?

You can visit the Basilica Cathedral Of Cusco in 3 ways:


City Tour

The city tour includes a guided tour of the cathedral, but you will have to buy the tickets at the door of the cathedral or you can also consult your operating agency to include your shopping package you entrance ticket to the cathedral.


How much does the City Tour cost?

The price of the city tour package is 20 dollars per person. The tour includes the visit to the main square, the Cathedral of Cusco, Coricancha, Quenqo, Tambomachay and Puca Pucara.


Religious Circuit Ticket

The price of religious circuit ticket is $10 for peruvian people or foreigners, children under 9 years old do not pay entry. The ticket includes 4 religious sites: Cathedral of Cusco, Church of Saint Cristobal, Church of Saint Blas, and the Archbishop's Square.


Ticket to the Cathedral

The ticket price is $10 including a tape recorder with the explanation of each work of art of the Cathedral of Cusco.


When is the best season to visit Tambomachay?

The best season is to do it in the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2022 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.


Other Tours in Cusco:

The famous Inca Trail Tours are the most popular excursions in Cusco - Peru; and considered among the best walks in the world. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.

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