The Basilica Cathedral of Cusco is located in the northeastern part of Plaza de Armas in Cusco, at 3350m.a.s.l.
The Cusco Cathedral is the first place to hold religious ceremonies. Those who have visited it say it is the most beautiful church in Peru. It is composed of Iglesia del Triunfo and La Sagrada Familia. The construction took place as a result of the order of the Spanish conquerers of the Bishopric of Cusco, in charge of Fray “Vicente Valverde”. Being a canon, Don Ruiz acquired the land of “Kiswarkancha” (an Inca palace belonging to the Inca “Warikocha”) at the price of 2800 pesos.
In 1617, architect Fray Miguel Huertas intervened, modifying arches and vaults. In 1649, Francisco Domingo Chavez y Arellano intervened, master architect who finished the building; it was also him who built the façade or master wall. On the 14th of August of the same year, Dr Pedro de Arteaga y Sotomayor blessed the new cathedral, being conferred on August 15th with a party that lasted until the month of September. On August 1668, he was consecrated by Dr Bernardo Izaguirre.
The Cathedral of Cusco has characteristics of Gothic, Renaissance Mannerist and Baroque revival. Flanked by two solid towers, its side covers are mannerist, and the central, discreetly baroque.
The Cusco Cathedral was built on the Inca Palace known as “Sunturwasi”, created during the government of Inca Wiracocha. The construction of the cathedral started in 1534. The one in charge of the work was architect Juan Miguel de Veramendi, who ordered the destruction of the Inca archeological center Sacsayhuaman, in order to use the andesite type stones for the construction. It was the same natives who represented the workforce for the construction; a lot of them died, crushed by the rocks that fell from the top of Sacsayhuaman. The work took more than 130 years and it was not until the year 1668 that it was completed. Many artists intervened in the implementation of works of art, such as illustrious Cusqueñe artists like Diego Quispe Tito and Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo. The image most revered and most important of the cathedral was “El Señor de los Temblores” (The Lord of Earthquakes), patron of Cusco, that is found in the main altar of the cathedral.
The cathedral covers a lot of history and mysticism; its bell known as: “La Maria Angola” is particularly famous. The legend says that in Cusco lived a very wealthy woman, called Maria Angola who became a widow and, not being able to handle the grief of her loss, she entered the convent of Santa Teresa, donating all her precious gems and jewels that were melted to create the huge bell. In honor of that act of generosity, they named the bell after her.
The Cathedral of Cusco has splendid altars of both Renaissance and Baroque style and neoclassical style. Its carved wooden pulpit and the choir stalls are magnificent works of Cusco craftsmanship. There is also an important collection of paintings from the Cusco school works by Diego Quispe Tito, Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo, Basilio Pacheco and Mark Zapata, who created a unique "Last Supper" in which the main dish is roast guinea pig.
Opening hours: Mondays to Sunday from 10:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.
Mass hours: Monday to Sunday: 6:30a.m., 7:a.m., 8:00a.m., 9:00a.m.
Cost: Admission with Ticket Religious Circuit, or just to this monument with the following amounts:
Partial Adult: S /. 25.00
Student Part: S /. 12.50