It is located in the Inca de Qolcanpata neighborhood, on the slope of Sacsayhuaman, at about 400 meters from Cusco Cathedral. It is very easy to reach on foot, walking first down Sweden Street, then turning right onto the slippery street.
It was built in the early years of the conquest by the Indian chief Christopher Paulla, lord of Qolqanpata, to show his devotion to Christianity. The statue of the patron saint is huge and is paraded in a procession on the Holiday of Corpus Christi.
During Inca times, this area was in the Hanan Qosqo or high Cusco; the neighborhoods Pumacurco, Choquechaca and Tacsecocha and also Qollqampata belonged here. This area is the repository of many Inca buildings that are scattered here, being part of Qollqampata palace, which belonged to Manco Capac, first Inca.
A large wall-platform with eleven niches of cellular rigging as well as remnants of Inca architecture of excellent quality can be seen on the top. The Inca Paullo Tupac Yupanqui converted to Christianity, took as a godfather the commissioner Don Cristobal Baca de Castro, who uses his name to found the chapel was built on the side of the square beneath the palace of Qollqampata.
The church of San Cristobal was erected on the grounds of the first Inca Qollqanpata Palace, which belonged precisely to the first Inca “Manco Capac”, who according to the theory came from the highlands, along with his “Coya” (wife) known as “Mama Ocllo” with the mission to found the Empire of the Incas.
The location of this palace was strategic, since it was in the mountains- which prevented possible floods, as Cusco was once a lake. It is said that the eleven niches that are there and that resemble windows were destined to bury the entire dynasty of the Inca, because they are positioned facing north in connection with the god “Inti” (Sun). The Temple of San Cristobal is the highest in Cusco; inside the convent a “Ushnu” stands out, a sacred place for the Incas, where they performed “repayment ceremonies” to the land.
Inside the church, one can appreciate golden works done by great masters. Both the front and the tabernacle are made of silver, the latter being of solid silver. There are pictures worthy of contemplation; paintings, made in the style of famous European masters (especially of Raphael named “The Divine”), whose distinctive piece is adorned in gold. There are also well-turned railings, golden altarpieces and altars of remarkable and fine carving.
Visit during hours of worship. The Mass hours in San Cristobal Church are: Monday - Saturday from 7:30 a.m. | Sunday: 8:00 a.m.
The entry to the liturgical acts is free.