To the Churches of Cuzco

The religious circuit allows you to visit the Cuzco Cathedral, the Archbishop Museum, the Temple of San Blas and the Temple of San Cristobal. Follow us on this tour among the jewels of faith in Cuzco!

In June, itĀ“s festival time all around Cuzco. The most famous celebration in Peru is close: the Inti Raymi, June 24. They recently celebrated Corpus Christi, a Catholic festival where there is a procession around the city. If you are interested in religion and the way it is expressed, do not miss the religious circuit: the perfect occasion to visit the main churches and religious monuments.

1. The Cathedral

43,000 ft2, 5 naves, 11 chapels, 7 sanctuaries, a choir loftā€¦ It took 132 years to build from the Inca Wiracocha Palace and was completed in 1709. You have to visit it carefully and follow the stories the audio guide tells step by step (a three hour tour). But more than touring the Cathedral itself, you will go on a journey through the history of Cuzco and its colonization.

What you cannot miss:

  • Marco ZapataĀ“s paintings: There are 54 oil paintings in the arches of the cathedral. Marco Zapata is considered the pioneer of a type of Cuzco art, mestizo art, mixing catholic and native symbols. For example, his interpretation of the Last Supper includes shooting stars from the nativity and a guinea pig as the main course on the table.
  • The far altar: Located just behind the door of Forgiveness, by the entrance to the Basilica. It was built so that the people inside the church wouldnĀ“t be distracted when other parishioners enter. There you will find the Virgin of Forgiveness, a kind of Mona Lisa from Cuzco that follows you with her eyes.
  • The carved cedar: The choir loft is the most impressive with its 42 saints. The pulpit is also a refined work of art. DonĀ“t miss the twin organs from the seventeenth century that are still played on special dates.
  • The main altar: built with 2,750 pounds of silver sheets.
  • The stone dome in the Triunfo Temple: Formed by four cross shaped pillars presented on pedestals, forming four arches that support the central dome structure. Look at the four paintings that form each arc. A simple and beautiful work, contrasting with the lavishness of everything else.

2. The Archbishop Museum

In this large, beautiful house with a central fountain and birds that come to nibble the flowers, find pristine arches and passageways, and rooms with important possessions from past Catholic hierarchy. DonĀ“t forget to get a glance of the carved wooden doors and balconies.

What you cannot miss:

  • The coach: that came into the museumĀ“s possession in its original state, telling us about the olden times in Cuzco.
  • The paintings framed in gold: The image of the Virgin, the technique used was painting thousands of strands of delicate gold. This can be observed in several pieces of art.
  • The two glass paintings and beveled works: When you leave the first room, there are two unique pieces of art with this technique. You can still find mirrors with a similar or inspired style in art shops.
  • The small organ: with two bellows, which happens to be the first of its kind to come to Peru.

3. Temple of San Blas

The Temple of San Blas was the first to be built in Cuzco when this neighborhood, with a bohemian style today, was still called Toqo Qachi. Built with adobe and stone blocks and portraying a humble sensation on the outside, but houses unique jewels on the inside.

What you cannot miss:

  • The murals on the ceilings: just past the entrance.
  • The paintings: that adorn the walls of the temple, describing the life of San Blas. One of the masters from the Cuzco school: Diego Quispe Tito.
  • The pulpit of San Blas: It houses more than 70 figures and symbols: devils, grapes, bananas, ice-cream bean. It has eight seminude bodies and is another example of mixing.
  • The sculpture of Our Lady of Good Success: It was finished in gold leaf by the official guilder Juan TomĆ”s Tuyru TĆŗpac, a famous Cuzco colonial master.

4. The Temple of San Cristobal

The Temple of San Cristobal has been renovated and the roof and the beams that support it are immaculate. The tallest temple in Cuzco, the one you can always see facing the Plaza de Armas from any corner. Many come up here to enjoy the panoramic view. We recommend coming up by foot, access is available from Calle Saphy and then by continuing down the Cuesta de la Amargura, near Calle Suecia, or if you are coming from San Blas, go down Calle Tandapata and turn left. ItĀ“s worth climbing up to see the tower.

What you cannot miss:

  • The main baroque altar: Check out the central nativity, painted in shadows on the two doors, surrounded by a crown of mirrors.
  • The gilded balcony: with the back wall decorated with beautiful paintings. Locate the image of the Virgin in a niche in the central.
  • Climb the tower: which is included, to see the night fall over the city of Cuzco with the hills in the background.

These 4 places are part of the Archbishop Religious Circuit allowing us to explore the value of colonial religious art. The integral ticket costs 30 soles (15 soles for students), the entrance to the cathedral costs 25 Soles alone and each temple or museum cost an additional 10 soles. The ticket can be used for 10 days after being purchased. Take your time and go whenever you would like. The audio guides, available in several languages, ā€‹ā€‹are included and are very well done, with interviews and details.

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