Temple of Qoricancha

Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, was one of the most sacred and respected buildings of the Inca Empire. People from all over the empire came to the site to worship and pay tribute to their gods, but the inside of the enclosure was reserved for the most important personalities of the time. Due to its importance, the Qoricancha was built with finely joined stones with an impressive precision that give it a sober aesthetic.

The current Qoricancha and convent of Santo Domingo delimits in our days in the east with the main avenue of the city – the avenue of the Sun, in the east with the Ahuacpinta street, in the north with the Arrayanniyoq street, and today to the south with the current school of San Martin and multiple private properties that in Inca times were part of this sacred place.

Towards the side of the avenue of the sun is possible to find a large green area in which today are held various scheduled events, including the first part of the Inty Raymi, also today the site museum of Qoricancha, and the temple itself has fine stonework platforms that house the so-called Solar Garden, which in Inca times was adorned with exact copies of the most important plants and animals throughout the empire. In this structure stands out a semicircular building of fine rock carved with an accuracy characteristic of the imperial Inca period.

The frontispiece that delimits with the Arrayanniyoq street, in the practice does not have another Inca structure, that the one that we described as more outstanding in the previous paragraph and this denominated by the frontispiece of the church of Santo Domingo, the impressive bell tower of baroque style and the entrance door and control of the temple of Qoricancha for the one that all the tourists accede.

Finally, in the limit with the Ahuacpinta street it is possible to appreciate one of the best conserved walls, which in the same way is built with an impressive precision typical of the ruling style at the height of the Inca empire.

The Inca part of the interior of the enclosure to which the visitors have access and that have survived the destruction caused by the construction of the colonial temple, are the following:

Temple of the Lightning

This temple was dedicated to the cult of lightning, thunder or lightning, it is the only one that has three entrances, perhaps alluding to the three states of this lightning phenomenon.

Temple of the Sun

In this important enclosure the work of Garcilaso tells us that the mummies of the rulers were kept in order of antiquity, in front of a golden disc made of a very thick solid gold plate that in the middle had an orifice in which a powder made of the dry hearts of the dead Incas was kept, all protected and taken care of by priestesses who worshipped them and served them as if they were alive.

Temple of the moon

Like the temple of the sun, the chronicle of Garcilaso de la Vega describes that inside this enclosure were kept the mummies of the coyas or queens mummified by antiquity, around a representation of the moon represented in a massif of silver.

The temple of Venus and the stars

This enclosure located near the temple of the moon as its name says was dedicated to the worship of the planet Venus, very visible from this planet, which the Incas called Chaska.

Temple of the rainbow

It was given this name because the chronicles indicate that in this enclosure on a gold plate was painted the rainbow with its seven colors, as it was worshiped to know that they came from the sun.

Sacred alley

It is called this way to the alley of fine carved stone that takes directly to the temple of the sun, among its impressive stonework stands out, also a stone of perfect lace that has more than 24 angles.

Enclosure of the sacrifices

The functionality of this enclosure that unlike the others described above is open to the central courtyard of the entire complex, has not yet been determined exactly, but because of the rock that is now in the middle is called sacrificial room, as this has similarity to a table, however, it is necessary to mention that this was moved from the solar garden.

Ceremonial fountain

It is an octagonal fountain of colonial origin carved in rock, which is located in the middle of the patio of the enclosure, some chronicles have indicated that it could be of Inca origin, however, it is probable that mention is made to some other piece that no longer exists in our days.

The Santo Domingo Convent

Convent of Santo Domingo is another name with which it is known to what was the sacred enclosure or Temple of Qoricancha, however, in addition to the Inca part as we mentioned is the temple of Santo Domingo and also specifically the convent of the same name that curiously is inhabited today only by Dominican friars, although at some time there were also mojas in it.

Pinacoteca of Santo Domingo

In all this enclosure besides having the different temples or sacred enclosures, it has installed a gallery with paintings of the Cusquenian school of art among which are the serious of the life of Jesus as well as one of the few sculptures of the Virgin Mary with a grown belly that remain.

On the other hand, there is also in the corridors that run around the main patio a group of paintings that narrate the life of San Vicente Ferrer and Santo Domingo.

System of seques

In the place there is also a magnificent illustration of the system of seques described in the study of Tom Zuidema, which are in itself a system of sanctuaries that had their origin precisely in the Qoricancha or temple of the Sun.

Vision of the existing dark spaces in the milky way

A painting of the site also details an impressive representation of the Andean vision of the milky way in which, in addition to appreciating different constellations, the empty spaces of the same or dark nebulae were very important, in which the Incas apparently saw the creatures that existed on earth represented.



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Saska Hotel Boutique is located in Cusco, 200 meters from Coricancha, and offers concierge service, hypoallergenic rooms, free Wi-Fi throughout and garden. All rooms at this 3-star hotel have city, garden or internal views. The front desk is available 24 hours a day and has an elevator.


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