Historical Center of Cuzco City"Cultural World Heritage Site" by UNESCO
To go over the historical center of Cuzco, is walking by the city that was traced and designed by the Incas, it is like going for a walk by colonial buildings built on the base of the old real palaces of the Incas, is the coalition of two architectural styles that make it unique in the world, it is the opportunity to appreciate architectural and art jewels that contain their centennial or millennial walls.
There are several alternative circuits that can be made walking when visiting all these marvelous places that are signaled in the streets.
Some of these places need payed entrance - see tourist ticket
Plaza de Armas (Main Square)
Occupies the same place that the plaza Huacaypata (Quechua language, groan lament) that was traced by Manco Cápac when founding the city of Cuzco during the XII century. Around it the Inca kings Pachacútec, Sinchi Roca, Viracocha, Túpac Yupanqui and Huayna Cápac built their royal palaces, and the Acllahuasi (Temple of the Virgins). It was the place where the Inti Raymi took place in time of the Incas and the military celebrations after the victory in battles. Since the arrival of the Spaniards, the dimensions were diminished because of the areas around constructed that still remain such as the Cathedral, Iglesia de la Compañía (Church of the Company), the portals, arcades and colonial large houses.
La Catedral (Cathedral)
Catholic temple, built where the Inca Viracocha had his real palace, built in 1560 by the Spanish architect Juan Veramendi and then by master Juan Correa. It is a jewel of the colonial architecture, of Baroque style, with 10 chapels, where "El Señor de los Temblores" (The Lord of the Earthquakes) is venerated, patron of Cuzco. The biggest altar is recovered with pure silver sheets, the choir is carved and in front of the altar there is a seat in double array that is a masterpiece in wood. Plateresque pulpit, painting collection with more than 400 canvases. The monstrance is an impressive goldsmith masterpiece, made of solid gold of 27.7 Kg that measures 120 cm. height, with incursions of 331 pearls, 263 diamonds, 221 emeralds, 89 amethysts, 43 topazes, 17 brilliant, 5 sapphires and 1 agate. The bell of the tower of the Gospel, called María Angola was fused in brass and gold, and its toll is listened up to 40 Km. of distance. Located in front of the Plaza de Armas. Admission fee. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sat. 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. Sun. and Holidays 2:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús (Jesuit Church of the Company of Jesus)
Located in front of the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). Admission fee. Jesuit colonial temple, built on the real palace Amarucancha of Huayna Cápac in 1571, is one of the most beautiful of Cuzco, it possesses a central nave with 6 lateral underground chapels, around it labyrinths and secret passages, in which remarkable characters of the conquest and Spanish colony were buried. The temple is adorned with big canvases and sculptures carved in wood. It was reconstructed in 1651.
Iglesia La Merced (The Mercy Church)
Located in Mantas 121 Street, one block from the Main Square. Admission fee. It was the third founded in Peru (1536), it is a colonial architectural monument, of beautiful golden altarpieces, plateresque pulpit and a choir that constitutes a joinery masterpiece. The temple is adorned with beautiful canvases of Escuela Cusqueña. Their most valuable treasure is the monstrance, of unimaginable value; goldsmith piece made of gold, weight 22 kg. and it measures 1.3 meters height, which contains 2 enormous pearls and 615 of smaller size, 1,581 diamonds, besides emeralds, rubies and topazes. In the basements of the church rest remains of the Spanish conquerors Diego de Almagro, Almagro El Mozo (Almagro the Youngster), and Gonzalo Pizarro. Restored in 2008. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Iglesia y Monasterio de Santa Catalina (Church and Monastery of Santa Catalina)
Located in the corner of the streets Santa Catalina Angosta and Loreto. The current monastery was reconstructed in 1653 and the church dates of 1669. Built where the Acllahuasi was located. It possesses a museum; Acllahuasi (Quechua language: House of the chosen ones), or "Templo de las Vírgenes" (Temple of the Virgins): Was the Inca place in which the acllas (women chosen by their lineage and beauty, offered as eternal wife of the god Inti - the sun) lived perpetually. In this temple the Coya (queen), Ñustas (princesses) and the Inca king could only enter; between 500 and 1000 acllas lived there permanently. Visiting hours: Mass times.
Coricancha (or Koricancha) - Santo Domingo Church
Located in Plazoleta Santo Domingo. Admission fee. The inca place form the base of the colonial church and convent of Santo Domingo. The Coricancha (Quechua language: gold enclosure) was the main Inca temple, the Temple of Inti (the supreme god - the sun), it is a masterpiece of the Inca architecture, built in blocks of carved granite and smelted gold in the junctures of the blocks. Inside the temple existed a garden in which the trees, birds, animals, etc. were represented in gold. The temple was surrounded with a gold cornice and all the walls covered in gold plates. In the sanctuary a great disk of gold existed (Punchau) that represented Inti, the mummies of the Inca kings until Huayna Cápac (12th king), they were seated on gold seats and adorned with jewels, with the expression of being alive. Annexes to the Coricancha, were the temples of "Quilla" (moon), Illapa (ray), the stars, Chuychu and Uíllac Umu's lodgings (supreme priest). At the arrival of the Spanish conquerors it was plundered savagely and it was almost destroyed to banish the adoration to Inti, and over it a catholic temple (Santo Domingo) was built. Museo de Sitio del Coricancha. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sat. 8:30 A.M. – 6:30 P.M. and Sun. 2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
All the Inca roads of the Tahuantisuyo converged in the Coricancha, besides being the central point of the administrative division of the empire, and where the four "suyos" began and converged.
The artistic barrio (neighborhood), of narrow and high streets, beautiful little plaza, and a beautiful paqcha exists; in this barrio numerous artists and artisans reside, there are located the workshops of famous artisans such as the family Mendivil, Olave and Mérida. Panoramic views of Cuzco city.
Iglesia de San Blas (Church of San Blas)
Located in front of Plaza San Blas. Admission fee. Colonial Catholic temple, built in 1562, has a pulpit that constitutes a wooden carved jewel of incalculable value in which are represented saints' images and angels, Juan Tuirupata, Luis Montes and Diego of Aryan dispute the creation. Outstanding the baroque gold-leafed principal altar, the paintings and canvases that adorn it. Admision fee. Visiting hours: Mon. – Wed. and Fri. – Sun. 10:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. Mon. Sun. 2:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishops' Palace)
Located in the corner of Herrajes St. and Hatunrumiyoc St. Admission fee. Beautiful colonial mansion, in which highlights the front and balconies. Where the Museum of Religious Art is located, exhibition of religious art pieces of the colonial time. Built on the real palace of the Inca Sinchi Roca. In one of the megalithic walls, in the lateral side, on Hatunrumiyoc Street, is located the famous "12-sided stone", cut and carved stone block that has 12 vertexes assembled in perfect form, not being able to enter a knife leaf among its junctures. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sat. 8:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Church and Convent of San Francisco
Plaza San Francisco. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 5:30 P.M. Founded in 1645, it has two façades and a single, old Spanish style stone tower. The monumental painting, 12 x 9 meters / 39 x 30 feet, by Juan Espinoza de los Monteros relating the genealogy of the Franciscan family is the highlight of the convent.
Casa del Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (House of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega)
Located in the corner of the streets Garcilaso and Heladeros. Admission fee. Headquarters of the Regional Historical Museum of Cuzco since 1984, exhibition of pictorial works of the Escuela Cusqueña. Inca Garcilaso (1539-1616) was the Spanish conqueror's son Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega and a royal Inca princess, the Palla Isabel Chimpu Ocllo. He was a columnist of the Spanish conquest, the first writer in America; author of "Comentarios Reales de los Incas" (The Real Comments of the Incas), his work is the tearing testimony, exploitation of misfortunes of his homeland, personal conflicts and the narration and exaltation of the Tahuantisuyo, and aching justification of the Spanish conquest. During his childhood he lived in this house, reliquary of the colonial beautifully restored art. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Casa del Almirante (House of the Admiral)
Located on Almirante Street Nº 103. (S. XVII): It belonged to Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado, old colonial house with stone facade that shows the coat-of-arms, has a very beautiful ceiling decorated with carved panels. Headquarters of the Archaeological Museum of the National University San Antonio de Abad, exhibits archaeological pieces of the Inca culture and objects and furniture of the colonial time. Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. Sat. and holidays 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Casa de los Cuatro Bustos (The Four Busts House)
Located on San Agustín Street Nº 400. Beautiful colonial large house that belonged to the Pizarro brothers, Spanish conquerors. On its cover it shows four busts and a shield. At the moment a hotel is located here.
Built in the last years, likeness of those that existed in the Inca City of Cuzco. They are sources or spouts of water, where the water was venerated. The most important are Pumaqchupan (corner of El Sol and Tullumayo Streets), Pumacpampa (Santa Catalina Street) and San Blas's neighborhood.
Monumento al Inca Pachacútec (Monument to the Inca Pachacutec)
Built in honor of one of the biggest Incas in the Tahuantisuyo, statesman and great conqueror.
Inside the historical Center it is also recommended the visit of the colonial large houses of the Marquises San Juan de Buenavista y Rocafuerte, house of the Counts of Cabrera, house of the Counts of Peralta, house of the Marquis of Picoaga, house of the Marquises of Valleumbroso.