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Cusco Highlights: Qorikancha and the Santo Domingo Convent

Qorikancha’s legendary city of gold & the Santo Domingo Convent

Possibly the most significant and sacred building in the entire Inca Empire, the Qorikancha was the name given to the Temple of the Sun in Cusco, dedicated to the worship of the Sun God. Qorikancha was the centerpiece of a vast astronomical observatory and served as a calendrical device where approximately 4,000 of the most prestigious priests monitored celestial activity. Ancient chronicles recount the astonishing sights of the gold-covered complex and its garden, adorned with solid gold corn cobs and twenty life size gold llamas with herders. The temple itself was lined with 700 gold sheets that reflected the sunlight, each weighing around 4.4lb (2 kg). These stunning images are now left to the modern visitor’s imagination, as these Inca treasures were immediately pillaged and melted down by the Spanish Conquistadores. Nowadays the colonial structure of the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, built by the Spanish as a means of enforcing the Catholic religion, superimposes the original Qorikancha foundation, but inside much of the original Inca construction remains. Qorikancha’s emplacement was also significant for the city of Cusco. Cusco was laid out on a grid plan in the shape of a puma, a sacred mountain lion. The pre-Inca site of Sacsayhuaman, on a plateau near the northern edge of the city, forms the head of the puma and the Qorikancha temple forms the center of the grid and thus, the heart of Cusco. A perfect blend of colonial and Inca architecture and a site overflowing with historical value and meaning, the Qorikancha ruins are an absolute must for the ultimate Inca experienceSee more of our favorite experiences in Cusco…

Qorikancha Temple, Cusco

Admire the unique blend of colonial and Incan architecture at the Qorikancha Temple / Source

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