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The Cathedral of Cuzco, or Cathedral Basilica of the Virgin of the Assumption, is the main temple of the city of Cuzco and houses the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Cuzco. The Cathedral Basilica of Cuzco, along with the temples of the Triumph and the Holy Family, make up the Cathedral complex.

It is located in the northeast sector of the current Plaza de Armas of the city. During the Inca Empire, the place was occupied by both the Suntor Wassi (lit. “House of Government”) and the Kisoarkancha or Palace of the Inca Viracocha. The complex occupies an area of 3920 square meters and is the most important religious monument of the Historic Center of Cusco.

Since 1972 the temple has been part of the Monumental Zone of Cusco, declared a Historical Monument of Peru. Also, in 1983 being part of the historic center of the city of Cusco, it became part of the central area declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  

It is not only a symbol of the importance of the Catholic Church in times of the conquest, but it is also an example of the fusion of two cultures, of the will of the people, of different architectural styles, of the work of many artists and 2artisans and inside it houses all kinds of treasures that are a sample of the skills and talent of those who built it.

In 1538, after the return of Vicente Valverde with the royal decrees that recognized him as Bishop of Cusco, he began the construction of a cathedral employing an order of erection on September 4, 1538. However, this work would remain in its beginnings as it is clear from the response of the Cabildo of Cusco to the requirement of the dean of the Cathedral Luis de Morales that the work was suspended until the following summer.

In the next years, given the narrowness of the assigned site, an attempt was made to move the Cathedral first to the part that formerly corresponded to the palace of Pachacutec called Qasana and that Francisco Pizarro reserved for him (current Portal de Panes of the Plaza de Armas). However, this move was impossible because, in 1538, Pizarro had ceded the site to the Franciscans.

They then tried to use the part of the old Cusipata where the Hotel de Turistas del Cusco now stands, but this idea was also discarded in the 1540s due to the opposition of the Mercedarios, who had already occupied the site that they still occupy today, which would be very close to the Cathedral.

Faced with this situation, on the initiative of the second bishop of Cusco, Juan Solano, the Cabildo decided to buy the site of Alonso de Mesa adjacent to the one assigned for the construction of the Cathedral and that corresponded to the old Kiswarcancha that was the palace of Viracocha. This decision was taken on May 17, 1552.

Between 1560 and 1664, the Cathedral Basilica was built. Its construction was entrusted to Juan Miguel de Veramendi in 1560, who was replaced two years later by Juan Correa, who worked until 1564. He was followed by Juan Rodríguez de Rivera, Juan Cárdenas, Juan Toledano, and Bartolomé Carrión. However, when Viceroy Francisco de Toledo arrived in Cusco between 1570 and 1572, the construction of the Cathedral was halted. In 1615, Miguel Gutiérrez Sencio took over the direction of the work. Under his leadership, the Cathedral of Cuzco was completed in 1654.

The earthquake of 1650 caused minor damage to the Cathedral except for the collapse of the ribbed vault. This earthquake caused the change of the planes of the facade in its upper part and the suppression of the third body in the towers, the reason for which there is too much volume in the body, leaving the towers short, giving the appearance of solidity to the building.

The first mass in the Cathedral was held on August 15, 1654, and the definitive consecration of the Cathedral was on August 19, 1668, by the thirteenth bishop of Cusco, Bernardo de Isaguirre Reyes. 

The construction material was stone from nearby areas, and red granite blocks brought from the Sacsayhuamán fortress were also reused. 

It was recognized as a minor Basilica of the Catholic Church on February 8, 1928. The construction, with three naves, is built on a hall-type floor plan. A surprising detail is a fusion between the order of the capitals and friezes and the type of roof used: the ribbed vault, characteristic of the Gothic style. This gives rise to a surprising amalgam of styles, frequent in the Latin American Baroque style. The famous image of the Señor de Los Temblores is venerated in the Cathedral.

This Cathedral, with a Renaissance façade and Baroque, late Gothic, and Plateresque interiors, has one of the most outstanding examples of colonial gold and silver work. Equally important are its carved wooden altars.

Since this is the city where the famous Cuzco School, the most essential school in Colonial America, was developed, in the Cathedral, you can see important examples of local artists who were followers of this school.


The Cathedral of Cuzco has a rectangular ground plan of the basilica type with three naves: the nave of the epistle, the 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 ribbed vaults, the largest being the entrance vault and the transept vault. The 24 vaults are supported by basic structures formed by 21 stone arches and 32 semicircular arches. All these structures are made of andesite stone (a fine-grained volcanic rock chemically and mineralogically similar to diorite).

Church of Triumph

It was built in 1539 in a place called SunturWasi and served provisionally as the Cathedral of the city.

In this first construction, Fray Vicente Valverde placed the Cross that he had brought from Spain, which is known as Cruz de la Conquista (Cross of the Conquest), remaining in the same place corresponding to the main altar of this temple. On the main face was placed the image of Our Lady of the Assumption in memory of the victory of the Spaniards over Manco Inca in 1536, from which comes the name “El Triunfo”. This work, along with its protective walls and its three doors, concluded in 1664.

It was built with andesite stone on the base of the original template with its dome. The plant resembles a Greek cross; the stone dome is located in the center and formed by four cruciform pillars that rise on the pedestals to support four semicircular arches of stonework that supports the structure of the central dome.

Three naves form the temple: the epistle, the Gospel, and the central nave, a high choir located in the lateral sector of the gospel nave, precisely the entrance from the Cathedral to the Iglesia del Triunfo is through the Church’s choir loft.

The Temple of the Sagrada Familia

On September 13, 1723, the first stone was laid to begin the construction of the Temple of the Holy Family, commissioned by Bishop Gabriel de Arregui. After the death of the architect in charge of the work, it was restarted in 1733 and was completed on September 3, 1735. In 1996 with the support of the Archbishopric of Cusco and the European Union, the temple was fully restored because of its poor state of preservation and was closed for about 30 years.

The temple is composed of a nave in Latin cross of rectangular plant with small lateral niches. The walls inside the temple are made of polished stone with lime plaster. The whole Church is also built with an andesite. The roof of the temple is composed of five vaults built with rectangular bricks. In the sector of the clergy is located the altarpiece or main altar of baroque style with two lateral sacristies. 

The wall of the facade is treated as a rectangular stonework wall composed of three sections. The crowning of the facade is a border with circular ornaments on which the cornice ends.

Tourist Movement of Cusco.

Prior to the COVID – 19 pandemic, tourist sites, museums, and protected areas were identified nationwide, with Lima, Cusco, Lambayeque, and Puno being the regions with the highest presence of national and foreign visitors.

As Cusco is the leading tourist destination in Peru, it is essential to highlight the movement of passengers at airports. Cusco is the second region with 1.4 million passengers after Lima, with 11 million in 2021. Compared to 2020, 1 million passengers were registered, which indicates an increase of 31.9% by 2021. 

Regarding the influx in the different tourist attractions, in the year 2021, the Inca citadel of Machupicchu was the most visited with 461 thousand arrivals, followed by Sacsayhuaman with almost 325 thousand visits from both domestic and foreign tourists, then after its reopening in October 2020, Ollantaytambo recorded 296 thousand, the archaeological complex Moray with 260 thousand visitors and finally Pisaq with about 226 thousand. 

It is worth noting that, despite having experienced a slight recovery, there are still tourist attractions throughout the country that reported having received a minimal amount of visitors; in Cusco, there is the case of the Qorywayrachina Inca Trail, with only 277 visitors in 2021 and 3 foreign tourists until February of this year.

How to visit the Cathedral.

You can walk around the old imperial city on your own or take a tour among the varied offer you will find there.

City Tour

It includes a guided tour of the Cathedral, but you will have to buy the tickets at the door of the Cathedral or consult your operating agency to include it in your purchase package.

How much does the City Tour cost?

The price of the tour package is $ 20 per person. The tour includes a visit to the Plaza de Armas, Cusco Cathedral, Coricancha, Quenqo, Tambomachay, and Puca Pucara. 

Religious circuit ticket.

The ticket price for the religious circuit is 10 dollars for Peruvians or foreigners, and children under nine years old do not pay for entrance. The ticket includes four sacred sites: Cusco Cathedral, San Cristobal Church, San Blas Church, and Archbishop’s Square. 

Entrance to the Cathedral.

The entrance fee is US$10 and includes a recording explaining each work of art in the Cusco Cathedral.

It should be noted that these are approximate prices since the exchange rate of the dollar (concerning the sol, the official Peruvian currency) has varied constantly in recent months.

What is the history of the Cathedral of Cusco?

The history of the Cathedral of Cusco begins with the Spanish conquest. However, if we want to know its complete background, we must write about its antecedents since the time of the Incas.

At that time, the Kiswarkancha palace of Viracocha or Wiraqocha, the eighth Inca who governed the confederation of Cusco until the Chanca attack and subsequent coronation of Pachacutec, was built on the site where the Cusco Cathedral stands today. 

Upon the arrival of the Spaniards to the city in 1533, the primordial idea of building a church that represented the Catholic faith in the newly conquered lands was born, so after consolidating the capture of the city of Cusco by defeating Manco Inca, the official construction of the provisional Cathedral of Triumph began, which was established in the place known as Suntur Wasi, located next to the palace of Wiraqocha. In that place, Vicente Valverde placed the first Cross that arrived in Peru, the so-called Cross of the Conquest, which also participated in the capture and execution of Atahualpa, which remains there to this day. Today the Church of the Triumph is an auxiliary chapel of the main Cathedral, and there is independent access to it from a door in the nave of the Gospel.

On September 4, 1538, the erection order was issued, which started the construction of the city’s Cathedral; however, during the following years, different obstacles were encountered in the search for a suitable site, discarding the possibilities of the palace of Pachacutec in the current portal of the city and the Kusipata, where the Cusco hotel is currently located in the town.

Finally, on May 17, 1552, it was decided to purchase the Kiswarcancha, the old palace of Wiraqocha belonging to Juan Solano.

Already in 1560, the official construction of the Cathedral began under the direction of Juan Veramendi, who was succeeded by several architects such as:

  • Juan Correa
  • Juan Rodríguez de Rivera
  • Juan Cardenas
  • Juan Toledano
  • Bartolomé Carrión

The damage suffered by the ribbed vault due to the earthquake of 1650 caused changes in the upper part of the façade that led to the elimination of the third body of the towers, perhaps because of the haste to finish them or because of the fear of new seismic movements.

Finally, it was concluded under Miguel Gutiérrez de Sacio in 1654. On August 15 of the same year, an inaugural mass was celebrated. However, the consecration of the same took place on August 19, 1668, by the thirteenth bishop of Cusco Bernardo de Isaguirre Reyes.

On September 13, 1723, the construction of the temple of the Sagrada Familia began under the orders of Gabriel de Arregui and was delivered on September 3, 1735.

It was recognized as a minor basilica of the Catholic Church on February 8, 1928. 

The 1950 earthquake that struck the city left damage to the upper structures on the gospel side, which have now been restored thanks to Spanish cooperation. 

In 1978 King Juan Carlos of Spain returned the remains of the mestizo writer Garcilaso de Vega, which were deposited in the Church of Triunfo.

In 1983, UNESCO declared the city of Cusco and, with it the Cathedral of the town as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What is the significance of the Cusco Cathedral?

The Cathedral Basilica of the Virgin of the Assumption is the main temple of the city and houses the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Cuzco. The Cathedral Basilica, along with the temples of the Triumph and the Holy Family, make up the Cathedral complex and is located in the northeastern sector of the current Plaza de Armas. It is the most important and significant Catholic religious monument located in the ancient capital of the Incas.

A cathedral is a Christian temple where the Bishop has his seat or cathedra, thus being the central Church of each diocese or particular Church. The episcopal see or cathedra is where each Bishop presides over the Christian community, teaching the life of faith and the doctrine of the Church.

What is the architecture of the Cusco Cathedral like?

Due to the crucial period in which it was built, the architecture of the Cathedral of Cusco inherits the Gothic-Renaissance hybridism of the great Spanish cathedrals of the sixteenth century, adding to it the irruption of the Baroque style evident in its vast headwall and its monumental towers.

Its façade is of Renaissance style and contrasts with the elaborate and plateresque of its lavish interiors, where one of the most significant samples of gold and silver work of colonial art is preserved, with delicately carved wooden altars and an admirable collection of canvases painted by Diego Quispe Tito, Juan Espinoza, Basilio Santa Cruz, among others. The ceiling presents 24 vaults of Gothic and Mudejar inspiration seated on four rows of columns of seven each, where the central columns are free, and the seven arches that unite them form the central nave.

It also has a chapter house, three naves, a sacristy, ten side chapels, the choir, the pulpit, altars, and furnishings that are carved in cedar and alder wood. It also highlights the silverware of the Cathedral, where you can appreciate the carriage of Cusquenian silver, the surmounted of a template. Currently, this carriage is used in procession to carry the monstrance during the religious feast of Corpus Christi.

Its ribbed vaults, borrowed from the late Gothic style, rest on cross-shaped columns in the Renaissance style. Here everything is made of stone; many of its blocks have an Inca origin and were brought from the neighboring fortress of Sacsayhuaman, giving the impression of great solidity, which is the main difference with the characteristic lightness of the Cathedral of Lima.

In 1560, the official construction of the Cathedral was started by Juan Veramendi, who was succeeded by several architects such as:

  • Juan Correa
  • Juan Rodríguez de Rivera
  • Juan Cardenas
  • Juan Toledano
  • Bartolomé Carrión

What are the artifacts of the Cusco Cathedral?


There are many Catholic artifacts inside the Cusco Cathedral, some of which are fine pieces of colonial craftsmanship. Among them are the following:

1 – Altar: The Cathedral has two altars, the original lamb ran (alder) altar at the back and in front of it, the neoclassical altar of embossed silver, which is used today. The silver altar was initially made of cedar wood covered with gold flakes, but in 1803 (according to the inscription on the front of the silver panel), Bishop Heras donated the silver to be beaten and applied to the altar.

2 – Maria Angola Bell: The cathedral’s north tower holds the famous Maria Angola, a bell 2.15 meters high, weighing approximately 5980 kg. It was cast in 1659. As the bell is cracked, it is only rung on special occasions. It has been claimed that the bell is audible from more than 20 miles away.

3 – Sacristy: The Sacristy, a highly decorated part of the Cathedral, displays an extensive collection of figurative paintings by Marcos Zapata from the 18th century. Also, many portraits of the bishops of Cusco hang in the Cathedral, beginning with Vicente de Valverde, the first resident Bishop of Cusco. In the Sacristy, a large dark painting of the crucifixion is commonly attributed to the Dutch artist Anthony van Dyck. Some local guides say it is the work of the 17th-century Spanish artist Alonso Cano.

4 – Lord of the Earthquakes: The festivity of the Lord of the Earthquakes of Cusco was declared a Cultural Heritage of the Peruvian nation on December 28, 2007; this declaration recognizes this tradition of popular fervor as a religious cult that contributes to the Peruvian national identity due to the richness of the elements that make up this religious expression.

The divine image is carried in procession during Holy Week, on the Monday after Palm Sunday, in commemorating the earthquake and miracle of 1650.

When did the Cusco Cathedral receive its name?

The first Cathedral of Cusco was built and received its name in 1539 in the Suntour Wasi, today’s Church of Triumph, but in 1560 it was ordered to make one on the site of Kiswir Kancha, the palace of the Inca Wiracocha. The current Cathedral was declared built in 1664, more than a century later.

Which civilization used the Cusco Cathedral for what?

The Spanish conquerors chose the old palace of the Inca Viracocha to construct the temple. The objective was to substitute an Inca palace for a Christian temple and thus symbolically impose their civilization and new religion.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin is the central Church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco.

In addition to its official status as a place of worship, it has become an essential repository of Cusco’s colonial art. It also holds many archaeological artifacts and relics. 

What are the theories about the origin of the Cusco Cathedral?

The origin of the Cathedral of Cusco can be found in the arrival to the capital of the ancient Inca empire of the colonizing army of Francisco Pizarro Peru, along with representatives of the Catholic Church. They brought the conviction to evangelize the nation recently annexed to the Spanish empire. Under that feeling, in 1536, the Bishopric of Cusco was created and in charge of Fray Vicente Valverde, who is appointed Bishop with the task of finding the ideal place for the construction of the Cathedral.

As a first step and to strengthen the evangelization process, the Church of Triumph was built, next to which the Cathedral would later be erected and then, on the other side, the Church of the Holy Family.

Finally, the site is chosen. It was decided to build the holy building in the Quishuarcancha, the old palace of the Inca Wiracocha, a place that belonged to Alonso de Mesa at that time. 

In 1559 Juan Miguel de Veramendi was chosen as the architect in charge of the design and construction of the Cathedral, and the process of collecting the material for the work began. It was decided to work with the stones of the Sacsayhuaman Fortress because of its proximity and importance, and it was in 1560 that the first stone was placed in a ceremony that summoned the whole town. In the following years, some changes are incorporated into the original plans, expanding the original design of the Cathedral of Cusco to make it even more fabulous.

What are the myths about the Cusco Cathedral?

We present some of the most intriguing myths and stories that Cusco’s traditions have passed down to us about the Cathedral of Cusco.

What today is the Plaza de Armas was identified in Inca times with the name of Huacaypata (Waqaypata), which can be translated, with very different meanings, as “place where one cries” or “place of the warrior .”Perhaps both interpretations make sense, and it was here where, on the eve of the Inti Raimi or Great Feast of the Sun, the most hardened responded to the call of the Inca nobles to join their cries in an attempt to move the gods to keep drought and famine away from these lands.

Without leaving the Plaza de Armas, annexed to the Cathedral itself, stands the Iglesia del Triunfo, whose façade immortalizes the legend that it was the intervention of the Virgin, aided by the apostle Santiago, which allowed a handful of Spanish conquerors to defeat the mighty army of the Incas. 

Five hundred years later, the belief in divine intervention still persists: otherwise, it would not be possible to explain the cult of the Lord of the Tremors, to whom is attributed the ability to cushion the dramatic effects of earthquakes, unfortunately so frequent in the Andean region. 

El Señor de Los Temblores is an image sent by Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) whose dark complexion is attributed to the smoke from the hundreds of thousands of candles that, from then until now, must have been lit in his honor. 

The name, de Los Temblores, was possibly given in the spring of 1650 when no less than four hundred earthquakes shook the foundations of Cuzco. It is said that it was necessary to take Christ in procession so that these would cease. 

The Christ of the Tremors, as he has been called ever since, worked a miracle. The earth tremors ceased, and the people of Cuzco made the image, from that day on, their last resort, their last hope when there is hunger or drought. 

Another legend affirms that in the vaults of the Cathedral lie many cuzqueños who died in the plague epidemic of 1720. It is then the story of a dead arm that came out of the earth three times. The rector priest of the Cathedral and lawyer of the Royal Audience, Don Felix Cortes, was a witness of it and became ill with fright, dying shortly after. Those who knew about the event say that in his delirium, he repeated: ‘That arm is calling me! It seems that the arm belonged to a friend with whom he had agreed that the first one to die would come to look for the other.

Twice they buried the arm, and the second time, in order to better hold it, they placed a large stone over it, but it was useless because the arm came out again. That third time was not followed by others. Fed up with such macabre reticence, a clergyman of more superb temper than the other witnesses ordered it cut off and threw it into one of the ditches of the cemetery.”

The Gospel Tower houses a Quechua prince who, on the day the tower collapses, will go free and reunite his people, re-establishing the Tawantinsuyo. When the earthquake of May 21, 1950″ occurred, the venerable taitas of the ayllus waited for weeks to destroy the tower that cracked in three parts. It was useless because it did not fall, and the Spanish government rebuilt it. But they maintain hope and believe that someday the prediction will be fulfilled. 

The Gospel Tower holds the famous main bell of the city “Maria Angola,” which is 2.15 meters high and weighs 130 quintals (5980 k.). It was founded in 1659, and according to tradition, its name comes in homage to a formerly enslaved Black person named Maria, originally from Angola, who threw 25 pounds of gold into the crucible where the metal for the bell was melted, and its sound was audible as far as Urcos, some 40 km from the city; today the bell is cracked, has a hoarse sound and is rung only on special occasions.

Another story, more of love, states that María Angola was a wealthy lady who had a passionate affair with a Spaniard and became pregnant by him. When her father discovered it, he challenged the lover to a duel. Her father lost his life in the duel. The Spanish adventurer left for his homeland, promising to return to his wife, but unfortunately, he also perished during the crossing. After this tragic outcome, Maria Angola donated all her jewels and precious stones so that the bell could be melted with them as a symbol of devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Is the Cusco Cathedral important for the history of Peru?

The Cathedral is the most imposing Christian religious temple in Cusco and one of the most important in Peru.

It is not only a symbol of the importance of the Catholic Church at the time of the conquest, but it is also an example of the fusion of two cultures, of the will of the people, of different architectural styles, of the work of many artists and artisans and inside it houses all kinds of treasures that are a sample of the skills and talent of those who built it.

Where is the Cathedral of Cusco located?

The Cathedral of Cusco is located in the southeastern center of Peru. More specifically, in the beautiful imperial city of Cusco, in front of the emblematic Plaza de Armas. It was built over Quishuarcancha, the ancient palace of the Inca Viracocha.

What are the coordinates of the Cathedral of Cusco?

The coordinates of the Cathedral of Cusco are as follows:



13° 30′ 58.68″ S, 71° 58′ 41.16″ W (-13.5163, -71.9781).


19L 177601 8503808


13.5163, 108.0219

How did Cusco Cathedral become known?

The Cathedral, in addition to its official status as a place of worship, has become an essential repository of colonial art, and it also holds many archeological artifacts and relics. The Cathedral became world famous in 1983 when the historic center of the city of Cusco was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site.

What is there to see in the Cusco Cathedral?

The interior of the Cathedral of Cusco is composed of countless spaces and works of art of religious meaning that is a privilege to appreciate.

 The 10 side chapels:

They are the cathedral chapels, chapels or jails that are part of the Cathedral of Cusco and that keep priceless pictorial and sculptural treasures, each of them was the privilege of powerful families or groups of the city that venerated different saints and virgins of the Catholic Church. 

– Virgen de los Remedios Chapel

– Chapel of Perpetual Help

– Chapel of the Lord of the Rod

– Chapel of the Virgen del Carmen

– Chapel of St. James the Apostle

– St. Joseph’s Chapel

– Chapel of the Immaculate Conception or La Linda Chapel

– Chapel of the Virgin of Choconcocha

– Chapel of Our Lady of the Nativity

The 07 independent altars:

– Altar of the Lord of Unupuncu.

– Altar of the Holy Trinity.

– Primitive High Altar

– Altar of St. Anthony of Padua

– Altar of Jesus of the Transfiguration

– Altar of the Virgin of the Nativity and of Antigua

– Altar of the dying Christ.

The Sacristy:

In the Sacristy are preserved the pictorial portraits of the different bishops who have led the Archbishopric of Cusco. In addition, a Mannerist painting of the Christ of the Agony stands out.

Behind a prominent carved wooden door are the most important treasures of the city’s Cathedral, including 18-karat gold pieces inlaid with precious stones belonging to various saints and virgins.

3- The choir of the Cathedral of Cusco:

The choir of the Cathedral is built entirely of cedar wood, maintaining a baroque style that blends with the neoclassical, in which the images of 42 saints of the Church and 38 saints have been carved, in addition to 24 lower seats and another forty upper ones.

 4- The main altar of the Cathedral:

The main altar of the Cathedral of Cusco is probably the most important work of colonial goldsmithing in America, in which more than 1,250 kilos of silver were used in an altar of two bodies and three lanes in whose tabernacle is the rich custody of the Cathedral, while a beautiful figure of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception occupies the central part.

 5- The silver room:

In the silverware, room are kept rich pieces of gold and silverware, among which stand out the silver canopy made in 1733 with the legacy of the dean Francisco de Goyzueta Maldonado, as well as the silver stretchers of the Lord of the Tremors and also those of the Immaculate Conception called the beautiful of the Cathedral.


There are about 300 paintings of different sizes that adorn this precinct, which come from the hands of various artists, European, indigenous, and mestizos, among them, are.

The apotheosis of St. Christopher, painted by Basilio Santa Cruz, represents a muscular St. Christopher who, leaning on a palm tree, carries the child Jesus on his shoulders and is located at the door that connects the Cathedral with the Church of the Triumph.

Another group of important works found in the columns shows a beautiful incomplete collection of the parables of Christ painted by Diego Quispe Tito.

The famous Last Supper of the Cathedral of Cusco by Marcos Zapaca or Zapata shows a classic scene of religious painting but has fascinating peculiarities; for example, in it a guinea pig is served as the main dish and also in the windows of the outside of the room in which the protagonists are the surrounding mountains of the city of Cusco are reproduced.

One of the most beautiful paintings of the Cathedral comes from the European brush; due to the wide use of the techniques used, this painting is attributed to Bernardo Bitti, an Italian painter of the school of Michelangelo himself.

Lord of the Tremors

The Lord of the Tremors is the most basic image of the city, a religious icon that also rests in the Cathedral of Cusco, it is a sculpture representing a gigantic black Christ that has participated over the centuries in the various earthquakes that the city has suffered in the years 1650, 1740 and 1950, which is why it has earned the title it bears today, besides being taken in procession during the plagues that devastated the ancient capital of the Incas.

This solemn anonymous work of art is located in the nave of the Gospel, exactly next to the door that gives access to the Church of the Triumph.


Below the main altar, there is a small arched crypt. It contains the ashes of many deceased Cusco archbishops. It is worth mentioning that in the Church of El Triunfo is the crypt where the remains of the Inca chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega (author of ‘Los Comentarios Reales de Los Incas’) rest. The vault has a part of the ashes of the Cusquenian writer, and the other half is in Spain.

The silver room:

This section of the Church is also known as ‘The Silver Room’. It is a small side chapel with a varied collection of religious objects made of precious stones, gold, and, above all, silver. Among these objects is an embossed silver coffin that was used to transport the statue of the “Señor de Los Temblores” (Lord of the Tremors). Another item is a large trellis used during the famous “Corpus Christi” celebration that weighs up to 160 kilos.

How is the map of the Cathedral of Cusco?

The maps of the Cuzco Cathedral show its construction stages and the internal distribution of the sacred precinct.

Guide to Cusco Cathedral in Peru: History, Facts, Maps and Tours

What is the geography of Cusco like?

The department of Cusco is a geographical hinge: a gateway between the mountainous highlands, the Amazon jungle, and the extensive Andean highlands.

This condition translates into a landscape of solid contrasts and enormous environmental diversity, which has supported the development of essential cultures such as the Incas. Its great mountains are combined with high plateaus, rolling pampas, deep valleys, and Amazonian plains.

Cusco is an important regional center with a potential that is not only shown in the number of resources but also in its preferential position on the highways and roads. It is a territory of encounters where much remains to be explored.

The most important rivers: are Urubamba, Vilcanota, and Apurimac.

The Urubamba mountain range, Vilcabamba mountain range, and Vilcanota mountain range are the mlost mportant mountain ranges.

Snow-capped peaks: Ausangate (6,384 masl), Salcantay (6,271 masl), Callangate (6,110 masl), Chumpe (6,106 masl), Alcamarinayoc (6,102 masl), Verónica (5,682 masl).

Abras: Chimboya (5,150 masl) in Canchis; Hualla Hualla (4,280 masl) in Quispicanchis; Huaylla Apacheta (4,700 masl) in Chumbivilca and La Raya (4,313 masl) in Canas.

Pongos: (narrow and dangerous river passes, from the Quechua punku meaning door): Mainique and Timpia (500 masl) in La Convención.

Lagoons: Sibinacocha, Pomacanchi, and Languilayo.

What is the geological profile of Cusco?

Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru and the capital of the department of the same name. To write about the geology of its metropolitan area, we must indicate that it is located on the depression of Cusco-Huatanay, which is elongated in an NW-SE direction, with a length of 30 km and heights ranging from 3,150 to 3,400 meters above sea level. This depression corresponds to the current valley of the Huatanay River, a tributary of the Vilcanota. The filling material is alluvial, lacustrine and fluvial of Plio-Quaternary age.

The Cusco depression is a basin of tectonic origin, as two still active faults control it:

Cusco fault with an NW-SE alignment coincides with the valley floor of the Huatanay River, which extends from Cusco to Saylla-Oropesa. From a geological point of view, it is considered an ancient geological fault sealed by Quaternary sediments and currently shows no signs of recent reactivation.

Tamboray Fault is a normal fault of the N-S direction that separates the highlands from the mountains of Cusco. It extends over a length of 3.5 km at an average altitude of 4,000 meters. This fault is represented by an escarpment of 2 to 4 m, indicating recent movements.

The monogenetic volcano of Rumicolca sharply delimits the Cusco depression. This dammed the Huatanay River causing the creation of a large lake called Morkill in the Plio-Quaternary.

Geomorphology Cusco

In the city of Cusco, according to its location and altitude, there are different geomorphological units, summarized below:

Valley or depression of Cusco

The Cusco Valley, or depression, corresponds to the lower part of the Huatanay River, with flat morphology and minimal slope (˂ 1%). Its width varies between 4 km in the citizen route to 250 m in Angostura. It is associated with several levels of stepped terraces.

The Huatanay River has developed as a highly sinuous fluvial system, with meandering meanders in the southern part that migrate throughout the valley. Most of the valley’s deposits correspond to alluvial fans generated during rainy periods, along which the dwellings are located in all areas. They are composed of fragments and blocks in a clayey matrix. Wetlands are located in the most distal part of these fans.


The mountains are characterized by steep relief and imposing peaks at the limits of the basins. Their maximum altitudes reach 4,800 m, with slopes ranging from 25 to 50%. They are:

Pachatusan Mountains are located north of the Huaccoto plateaus.

Picchu Mountains, located west of Cusco, separate the Huatanay basin to the east and the Izcuchaca River basin to the west.

Vilcaconga Mountains are located south-southeast of the Huatanay watershed, where many rivers converge with the Huatanay.

Hydrogeology Cusco

Hydrogeological, the Kayra, and Soncco aquifers, belonging to the San Jerónimo Group, are considered the best in the area. They are characterized by large strata thicknesses (> 5,000m) and, above all, high groundwater production.

These are sandstones with minor amounts of conglomerates and shales. They are characterized by effective secondary porosity, which is given by a large number of fractures, allowing the aquifer to be classified as fissured.

The Kayra aquifer is made up of sandstones intercalated with low shale levels, all from fluvial environments, with micro and conglomerates. 

The thickness of this unit varies between 2,000 and 3,000 m. Here porosity values ranging from 6 to 16% and permeability measured in the field of 35 m/day are recorded.

The Soncco aquifer is 1,000 to 2,000 m thick of sandstones and fluvial conglomerates. Its thickness varies from 8 to 12%, while its permeability is 14.5 m/day. Four filter galleries have been constructed in these units, three in the Kayra aquifer and one in the Soncco aquifer. 

Exploitation is by gravity, naturally, or by natural catchments from springs and filtering galleries. These can produce flows more significant than 40 L/s and are used for human consumption and irrigation.

What are the hiking trails near the Cusco Cathedral?

There are trekking routes for all tastes, from low to high fitness, as well as day or week-long excursions. All you have to do is decide whether you prefer to visit Inca cities, light blue glacial lakes, live adrenaline-filled experiences, or stay in remote villages dominated by snow-capped peaks.

All treks around Cusco are located at high altitudes, i.e. above 2,400 meters above sea level.

Travelers who are not accustomed to living at such a high altitude run the risk of feeling dizziness, heavy breathing, and fatigue. Although altitude sickness is usually deemed the first few days as the body acclimatizes, the dangers of altitude should not be taken lightly, as they can be life-threatening. Before beginning any demanding activity, take a few days to acclimate.

You can stay in Cuzco or visit the Sacred Valley, which is lower and could help those who do not feel well in the Inca capital.

If you plan to do a lot of trekking around Cuzco, it is recommended to organize them gradually, from the lowest to the highest altitudes. 

Visit Cusco’s lower altitude attractions first, such as the Sacred Valley, and the higher ones gradually. You can do the Salkantay or the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and then finish with Rainbow Mountain. This is the best way to hike gradually near Cusco:

  1. Sacred Valley: Maras to Moray – Pisac – Tipón : altitude: 3,300 m
  2. Lares | altitude: 2900 -> 4400 -> 2800 m
  3. Inca Trail : altitude: 2900 – 4000 m
  4. Choquequirao : altitude: 3000 -> 1800 -> 2900 m
  5. Moonstone Trek : altitude: 3200 -> 4600 -> 2800
  6. Salkantay | Humantay Lake -> altitude: 3900 -> 4650 -> 1800 m
  7. Ausangate : altitude: 4200 – 5000 m
  8. Rainbow Mountain : altitude: 4600 -> 5200 m

What is the best time to visit the Cusco Cathedral?

The best time to visit the Cathedral of Cusco is in June. In that month is held ll Corpus Christi. The most important religious feast of the city. The 15 prominent sculptures of saints and virgins of the city are carried in procession to the Cathedral amid music, dances, and typical dishes. It is celebrated every year on the Thursday following the day of the Holy Trinity (June).

The festival was declared “Cultural Heritage of Peru” on August 6, 2004, by National Directorial Resolution No. 599-2004 issued by the National Institute of Culture. 

In addition to its religious character, this procession has a competitive character between neighborhoods or parishes that are accompanied by bands and troupes, which play for their respective dances in counterpoint to the others, living their traditional festival. In San Francisco square and the adjacent streets, typical dishes of the area, such as chiriuchu, are sold. 

Cusco can really be visited at any time of the year. However, if you take into account the weather, April to October is considered the ideal period. During those months, there is little chance of rain, the mountains are lusher, and the sun shines more.

In this regard, May offers one of the best climates of the year in Cusco. In addition, during those days, there were only a few tourists in Cusco. Therefore, the visitor can visit the tourist attractions with fewer people around.

The weeks before Christmas and New Year are also considered good times to visit Cusco. 

Where to stay nearby Cusco Cathedral?

Taking as a reference the distance to the Cathedral of Cusco, we recommend these options for your lodging.

Antigua Casona San Blas

 Hotel in Downtown Cusco, Cusco (0.5 km from Cusco Cathedral)

La Antigua Casona San Blas offers 26 rooms with WiFi, radiant heating, flat screen TV, unlimited hot water, a private bathroom, central patio with a fireplace and bar.

Prices start at 633 soles per night. 

Home | Antigua Casona San Blas | Boutique Hotel in Cusco, Peru 

Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, Cusco

 Hotel in Downtown Cusco, Cusco (0.2 km from Cusco Cathedral)

This former monastery dates back to 1592 and offers luxurious colonial-style accommodations arranged around a courtyard.

Prices start at 1,998 soles per night.

Atoq San Blas Hotel

Hotel in Downtown Cusco, Cusco (0.5 km from Cusco Cathedral)

Atoq San Blas Hotel is located in Cusco, 300 meters from Hatun Rumiyoc, and offers express check-in and check-out, non-smoking rooms, a garden, and free WiFi in all rooms. 

Prices start at 305 soles per night. 

MOAF Cusco Boutique Hotel

Hotel in Downtown Cusco, Cusco (0.2 km from Cusco Cathedral)

MOAF Cusco Boutique Hotel is conveniently located in the downtown district of Cuzco, 1.9 km from the Wanchaq train station. 

Prices start at 287 soles per night. 

MOAF Cusco Boutique Hotel:.Boutique hotel Cusco, Luxury hotel in Cusco 

Nao Victoria Hostel

Hotel in Downtown Cusco, Cusco (0.2 km from Cusco Cathedral)

Nao Victoria Hostel offers accommodation with a bar in Cuzco, 3 km from Wanchaq Train Station and 200 meters from Cuzco’s main square.

Prices start at 52 soles per night. 

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco

Hotel in Cusco Center, Cusco (0.2 km from Cusco Cathedral).

This hotel features an impressive interior décor with exposed antique bricks, vaulted ceilings, and elegant designer furnishings.

Prices start at 1,255 soles per night. 

What are the tours of the Cathedral of Cusco?

You can visit the Cathedral Basilica of Cusco on any of these tours.

City Tour

The city tour includes a guided visit to the Cathedral, but you will have to buy the tickets at the door of the Cathedral or ask your tour operator to form the entrance to the Cathedral in your purchase package.

How much does the City Tour cost?

The price of the city tour package is US$20 per person. The tour includes a visit to the Plaza de Armas, Cusco Cathedral, Coricancha, Quenqo, Tambomachay, and Puca Pucara.

Religious Circuit

The ticket price for the religious circuit is 10 dollars for Peruvians or foreigners; children under nine years old do not pay for entrance. The ticket includes four sacred sites: Cusco Cathedral, San Cristobal Church, San Blas Church, and Archbishop’s Square.

3 – Go on your own to the Cathedral.

The entrance fee is US$10 and includes a tape recorder with an explanation of each work of art in the Cusco Cathedral.

It should be noted that these are approximate prices since the exchange rate of the dollar (concerning the sol, the official Peruvian currency) has varied constantly in recent months.

You can reach the Cathedral on foot or by taking a cab or a bus that will drop you off near the Cathedral.

What are the closest destinations to the Cathedral of Cusco?

Among the tourist destinations near the Cathedral of Cusco, we suggest the following to visit:

La Merced Church

The Church of La Merced is one of the religious temples of Cusco built during the colonial era. It is famous for its beautiful architecture with staircases, domes, and bell towers. However, its greatest attraction is its internal relics, which highlight custody of 22 kilos and 1.25 meters high, which is made of gold, diamonds, pearls, rubies, and emeralds. It is one of the most valuable jewels of Peru. It is located a few steps from the Plaza de Armas of the city.

Church of La Merced del Cusco.

San Cristobal Church 

The Church of San Cristobal de Cusco is one of the most famous Christian temples, as it is located high above the city on an ancient Inca site known as Colcampata. The central sculpture of the temple is the patron saint San Cristobal, who walks through the town during Corpus Christi. The enclosure includes paintings of the Cusco school (colonial art) and a high altar decorated with gold leaf. The Church is included in the Cuzco Religious Tourist Circuit.

It is located 400 meters north of the Plaza de Armas in the city of Cusco. It is located in the San Cristobal square, in the Inca neighborhood of Qolqanpata.

Church of San Cristóbal 

Santa Catalina Church

The Church of Santa Catalina is one of the churches of Cusco with more history since there, the ‘Acllahuasi’ or ‘House of the Chosen’ was located. It is located just 100 meters from the Plaza de Armas of the city. Currently, besides being a church, it has a convent and a museum where the relics and historical pieces of the monastic cloister are exhibited. The cost of the visit is 8 Peruvian soles per person (approximately US$2.5).

Its exact address is ‘Calle Santa Catalina Angosta s/n.’

Church of Santa Catalina in Cusco

How to get to the Cathedral of Cusco?

All roads leading to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco will take you to the Cathedral of Cusco. 

There are several access roads, such as Loreto Street, Mantas Street, Del Medio Street, Espaderos Street, and Cuesta del Almirante Street. The latter is the most direct way to get there, and any cab service can take you there for approximately 2 to 5 US dollars. However, the most usual way to get there is by walking.

What to know before going to the Cusco Cathedral?

To make your stay in Cusco and your visit to the Cathedral as pleasant as possible, we offer some for your enjoyment in the imperial capital.

The Cathedral of Cusco is a must-see for art and history lovers and for all those visiting Cusco for the first time.

As the Cathedral is a sacred space, modest dress is best, even in the summer months.

Due to the high altitude, stay hydrated and take it easy. Chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea helps alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness.

The Cathedral is accessible to wheelchair users.

One way to visit the Church for free is to enter during mass, which takes place on Saturdays and Sundays at 7 am and 7 pm.

During the visit to the Cathedral of Cusco, taking pictures or film inside is not allowed, and it is also not allowed to touch the works of art or make disturbing noises. Remember that it is a religious place, and silence must be kept. If you wear a hat, remove it from your head when entering the temples as a sign of respect to the faithful.

If you like religious art, purchasing the’ Religious Circuit Ticket’ is a good option during your visit to Cusco. This ticket includes the visit to the Cathedral and other religious temples with essential treasures such as the Museum of Religious Art, the Church of San Blas, and the Church of San Cristobal. The cost of the tickets is 30 Peruvian soles.

How is the itinerary of the Cathedral of Cusco?

The itinerary that you will follow through the Cathedral of Cusco will visit the following areas or sectors:

Catacombs of the Cusco Cathedral

During the colony, the cathedrals or temples of the Spaniards had catacombs that had to keep the bodies of the believers. Under the main altar of the Basilica Cathedral of Cusco, there is a small crypt that contains the ashes of many of the deceased archbishops of Cusco. Similarly, at present, the Church of the Triumph of the Cathedral houses since 1978, part of the ashes of the Inca Garcilaso (Gomez Suarez de Figueroa, mestizo chronicler of Cusco). The ashes were brought from the Cathedral of Cordoba.

Temple of Triumph

The Church of Triunfo formerly functioned as the first Cathedral of Cusco. It is preserved as “the cross of the Conquest,” the first Cross brought to Peru by Father Vicente Valverde, a participant in the expedition of Pizarro. Its name commemorates the victory of the Spaniards against the natives, attributed to the miraculous intervention of the Virgin Mary.

Temple of Triumph

Between the corridors of the Cathedral and the Triumphal Chapel, you will be able to appreciate diverse paintings, highlighting two canvases painted by the artist Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo. 

Also, in this same place, we find the painting of San Isidro el Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. And the paintings of Martin de Rivera, all with frames carved in cedar and gilded with leaves or thin sheets of gold. For the gilding of their structures, railings, altarpieces, and altars, the technique of gold leaf was used. At first, the wood had to be carved and polished, and then it was smoothed with chalk or plaster, and later the surfaces were smeared with Bol de Arménico. Undoubtedly, it was a glue on which thin sheets of 18-karat gold were placed. 

Epistle nave

Above the nave or Epistle chapel, there are finely finished silverware objects. Like the others, the chapel has a beautiful gilded cedar pulpit, highlighting in the interior the “Template de Plata” or “Baldaquín” made in 1733.

The highlights of the Baldachin are the incense burners, the incense burner, the litters, and the candelabra, all made of silver. The larger objects’ frames and main structures have been carved in cedar wood and were covered with embossed silver plates or sheets. 

The Sacristy of the Cathedral of Cuzco

The Sacristy, known as the “Sala Pictórica,” is one of the most superior rooms of the Cathedral. It is located on the right side of the main altar, and its walls are dominated by portraits of the most important bishops of Cusco and the world, from Vicente Valverde (1499 – 1541). Among the other treasures of this room highlights the ‘Christ of the Agony’, a vast carved cedar altarpiece, which stands out for its realism, expressiveness, and satisfactory work.

In this same precinct are closets and trunks carved in cedar from the colonial time, the ceremonial vestments of the priests, and other elements of Catholic paraphernalia are kept. Here also behind a carved door, is the safety of the Cathedral of Cusco. In fact, this place holds the most valuable jewels of the Cathedral, including crowns and ornaments made of 18 and 24-carat gold.

The highlight of the monstrance is the jewel that weighs almost 22 kilos of gold and 5 kilos of silver. At the same time, it is adorned with more than a thousand precious stones, the most abundant being pearls, diamonds, and emeralds. Inside the Sacristy is also one of the two cedar altars that were not gilded, and has Solomonic columns typical of baroque art.

Altar of the Lord of Unupunku

The Cathedral of Cusco is built on a space of waters and subway streams, which flowed into the Plaza de Armas. At the back of the Epistle nave on the left side of the main altar is the Altar of the Lord of Unupunko – (Water Gate). The same one is in a beautifully decorated urn and within reach of all the devotees who come to the Cathedral. In addition, here is preserved an image in bulk (only bust and head) of Jesus carrying the Cross on the left shoulder. Specifically, it is the iconographic representation of the First Fall of Jesus during the Way of the Cross.

In fact, on the eastern side of the altar is the most crucial canvas of the Cathedral of the city of Cusco. It represents Christ with his apostles in the last supper, whose author is the Cusco painter Marcos Zapata. It means the last supper of Christ with Andean products in which the guinea pig or guinea pig is clearly seen.

Aisles of the Cathedral of Cusco

Walking through the corridors of the Cathedral of Cusco, you can appreciate the Altar of the Apostles of Christ. It was the first and main altar of the Cathedral and is carved in cedar. You will also visit the Altar of the Holy Trinity. In the same one, it highlights the painting of the Virgin and the Boy playing with a pigeon or kestrel painted by Bernardo Democritus Italian Jesuit. It is necessary to emphasize that it is one of the few works that are in the Church made by foreign artists.

Later on, the western side of the altar is the canvas representing the Paschal Lamb, by Marcos Zapata, with Christ and his disciples in the upper part. And below, King David and his harp, Mary Magdalene, and St. Peter with a rooster. At the same time, you can visit the Chapel of the Virgin of the Nativity, which is somewhat austere. Also, in front of it is the crypt where the remains of bishops and archbishops of Cusco are kept. Finally, above the grilled door is the painting that represents the earthquake of 1650 that devastated the city.

Later you can see the Chapel of the Virgin of “Choqonchaka” or the “Dulce Nombre de María” (Sweet Name of Mary), which boasts a profusely decorated baroque Cusquenian altar. Here you can also find the image of the “Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción,” which is very similar to the “Virgen la Linda .”Next, you will pass through the door that leads to the Church of the “Sagrada Familia” (Holy Family), whose side walls are painted with fine finishes. Finally, you will see the Chapel of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception and the Chapel of St. Joseph. And a canvas entitled “Santa María Real de la Almudena,” a Virgin venerated in Madrid, whose author is Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo.

8 – Chapel of St. James the Apostle

The Chapel of the Apostle Santiago is one of the most visited by the devotees inside the Cathedral of Cuzco. The altar of the Apostle is made of gilded cedar, where there is a painting representing the Apostle.

9 – The Door of Forgiveness

The main doors of the Cathedral are known as the “Puerta del Perdón,” and the main view or exit is towards the Plaza de Armas. The Cathedral of Cusco has two towers on its facade. 

10 – Chapel of the Virgin of Remedies

To be precise, the Chapel of the Virgin of the Remedies is located in the nave of the epistle. In whose baroque altar is finely carved in cedar appears a canvas of the Virgin and Child in whose heads there are superimposed silver crowns. This painting is one of the few that came from Europe through Mexico, Lima, and Huancavelica and finally arrived in the city of Cusco.

Also in this same area is the Chapel of the Virgin of Perpetual Help, whose portrait was made in embossed silver 30 centimeters. And it occupies a good portion of the central part of the baroque altar of gilded cedar. Here are also the sculptures of St. Joseph and, to his left side, the sculpture of St. Rose of Lima. Better known as the patron saint of America and the Philippines, as well as the Peruvian Dominican Saint for the Peruvians.

Temple of the Lord of Tremors

The Chapel of the Lord of the Tremors is the most important of the Cathedral of Cusco. According to tradition, the sculpture was brought from Spain in the reign of Charles V. However, during the restoration works of the statue it was discovered that its manufacture was in Cusco.

The devotion to the “Lord of the Tremors” comes from 1650, when a great earthquake brutally shook the ancient city of Cusco. The Catholic faith says that the quake was quite severe and did not cease and all the city’s inhabitants were desperate. Since there were constant aftershocks, in their desperation, the devotees began to walk the image through the square and the surrounding streets. Since the people took to the streets with their saints, the aftershocks of the earthquake gradually ceased. 

The Lord of the tremors is one of the most ostentatious saints in the country. He possesses a significant number of precious jewels and crowns. His original crown of the Señor de Los Temblores was made of almost a kilo and a half solid gold, and the same that was stolen in the decade of the eighties. Likewise, the nails shown in the hands and feet are of solid gold and precious stones. On both sides of the brown Christ are the sculptures of the Virgin Dolorosa and San Juan Bautista.

Main Altar of the Cathedral of Cuzco

The Altar of the Cathedral is in the central nave, whose structure is neoclassical and is carved in cedar and gilded with gold flakes. Currently, the main facade of the altar is covered with embossed silver plates and is the most lavish. Possibly the silver was donated by Manuel de Boza, a priest of the town of Santo Tomas in the current province of Chumbivilcas.

It is necessary to emphasize that the Cathedral of Cusco was dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption (Virgen de la Asunción). And the same is reflected in the middle of the main altar of the Cathedral of the city of Cusco. In the main columns of the High Altar are two Ambones (Pulpitos), the work of Martin de Torres. They are used to reading the Gospel and the Epistle during religious services or weekend masses. In the same way, in the central columns, there are canvases representing Saint Luke, Saint Matthew, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Jerome, and Saint Augustine.

In fact, in front of the High Altar is the Cathedral Choir, a masterpiece of wood carving. Undoubtedly, the choir is finely carved in cedar and is of baroque style. It contains the carved images of 42 Saints of the Catholic Church from all over the world and the upper part sculpture of 38 Saints and Virgins. In the middle of the choir is the pulpit or lectern that initially could be rotated and served to house the musical scores used by the musicians. And at the top of the side walls of the choir are two wind organs produced by bellows, today are no longer used, but are important relics of the Cathedral of the city of Cusco.

How much does it cost to visit the Cathedral of Cusco?

The costs to visit the Cathedral of Cusco are as follows:

Entrance with the Religious Circuit Ticket, or only to the Cathedral.

Partial adult: S /. 25.00

Partial Student: S /. 12.50

How much does it cost to enter the Cathedral of Cusco?

You can enter the Cusco Cathedral using the Religious Circuit ticket or the tourist ticket. 

Religious Circuit Ticket:

This ticket, which costs 40 Nuevos soles, allows admission to the Cathedral and other religious sites of interest, such as the Church of San Blas and the Archbishopric museum.

Tourist ticket:

On the other hand, buying an independent ticket for 25 Nuevos soles is possible.

Once you have this ticket, you can visit on your own or take the services of a travel agency that offers the classic City tour service, visiting attractions such as Coricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Qenqo, Pukapukara and Tambomachay in one afternoon.

What is the best vehicle to visit the Cusco Cathedral?

There are different ways to get to the Cathedral Basilica of the Virgin of the Assumption, and one of the most recommended is to take a cab and ask to be taken to the Cathedral of Cuzco. Another option is to take a public vehicle from the city to get there. 

Finally, for those who rent a car, the exact address is Northwest of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco 08002, Peru.

How many hours should a person spend in the Cathedral of Cusco?

The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and a half to 2 hours in the Cathedral of Cusco.

The opening hours of the Cusco Cathedral are from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00 hours; remember that due to religious activities, it may not be open for tourist use.

During the hours of worship or mass, it is also possible to enter, but only to the Cathedral itself and not to the temple of the sacred family or the Church of the triumph, generally on Sundays from 7:00 in the morning.

Which is the closest city to the Cathedral of Cusco?

The nearest cities to Cusco are the Cathedral of Cusco are the following: 

Pisac, Peru, located 17.76 km

Izcuchaca, Anta, Peru located 19.16 km

Calca, Peru 20.8 km

Urubamba, Peru, located 28.04 km

Ollantaytambo, Peru, located 42.35 km

Urcos, Peru, located 42.69 km

How is the past of the Cusco Cathedral presented to visitors?

The Cathedral is the most important and imposing Christian construction of Cusco. It consists of three adjoining buildings: the Cathedral Basilica, the Temple of the Triumph, and the Temple of the Holy Family. It was built between 1560 and 1654 following the baroque style. Its interior has objects of great value, such as paintings of the Cusco school, sculptures, objects made with precious stones, and many more. Due to its location in the historic center of Cusco, it is part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity declared by Unesco.

The whole structure is magnificent, and the Cathedral of Cusco is one of the most beautiful and significant monuments in America. Its proportions have a unique amplitude. Its towers are separated by a distance that exceeds the limits allowed in any western example to give this first Spanish temple in the Inca capital a more significant front and settlement.

How is the conservation of the Cusco Cathedral?

Studies and restoration work are constantly being carried out with the international community’s support for the protection and conservation of the Cathedral of Cusco. 

The structure of the Cathedral is designed to withstand gravity loads, and the shape of the arches and vaults is such that the resultant forces in any section is within the central core. Therefore, there are no tractions that could not be resisted with the materials used. 

On average, the maximum compressive stresses produced by gravity loads are within allowable limits. The slenderness ratio of the columns, and locally, the slenderness of the column walls consisting of masonry with masonry rigging, are reasonable.

The restoration work on the vaults has had positive effects, as the mass has been reduced somewhat, and the stiffness has been restored to levels similar to the original ones.

Is the Cathedral of Cusco a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The Cathedral was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as part of the list of the City of Cuzco in 1983.

Is the Cusco Cathedral in danger?

Since the beginning of its construction, the Cathedral has been endangered by the consequential damages caused, including the partial collapse of its structures, by the different earthquakes that devastated the city of Cusco.

The earthquake of March 31, 1650, practically destroyed the city. In the full construction process, the Cathedral resisted standing but suffered damage to its structure, collapsing 17 arches still without vaults and a ribbed vault behind the main altar. Despite this damage, the Cathedral was one of the few buildings that resisted to some extent.

It is known that the earthquake of 1650 separated two stages in the viceregal architecture of the city of Cuzco. In the predominantly Renaissance stage, before the earthquake, belfry bell towers prevailed in the churches of Cuzco; others, on the other hand, would be replaced by the newly built square buildings initiated in the Cathedral and in new churches such as La Compañía, San Sebastián, San Pedro and Belén.

Finally, the intense work developed by Fr. Juan Alonso de Ocón allowed giving the final impulse to the results, achieving in July of 1654 the culmination of the Cathedral. Thus, on August 19, 1668, after 108 years, the Basilica was consecrated in a solemn ceremony presided over by Bishop D. Bernardo de Izaguirre. Bernardo de Izaguirre.

 The Cathedral Basilica was later completed with the construction of the Churches of the Triumph (1732) and of the Holy Family (1735). A strong earthquake on May 21, 1950, caused considerable damage to the towers, main façade, and vaults of the Cathedral. In 1951, restoration work began on the Cathedral, sponsored by the Spanish government. The two bell towers, exterior and interior walls, and the vaults were the main focus of attention. The work was completed in 1953. 

On April 5, 1986, a new earthquake again compromised the vaults and bell towers. The bell tower of the Epistle tower was intervened between 1987 and 1989. However, the lack of budget prevented further work on the other building. Finally, the July 9, 1991 earthquake aggravated the existing damages in the Gospel bell tower. Due to the critical situation of the bell tower, its bells were definitively silenced to prevent the existing injuries from increasing with their vibration. 

In March 1993, the Archbishopric of Cusco, the National Institute of Culture-Cusco, the Municipality of Qosqo, and the Government of the Inka Region requested international support to carry out restoration works in the Cathedral of Cusco. In March 1994, a cooperation agreement was signed with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Peru and with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI) for the restoration of the bell tower of the Gospel tower. In May 1994, restoration work began on the building, and the result was completed in June 1995.

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