Cusco Cathedral

Around the Imperial City, you will find numerous attractions and historical buildings to tour and appreciate. Among its most essential constructions, you can find the Cusco Cathedral, one of the most iconic churches in the city. The magnificent Cathedral was built in 1560 and took almost 100 years to complete. It was built on Quishuarcancha, the ancient site of the palace of the Inca Viracocha. The Cusco Cathedral was built with stone blocks brought from the fortress of Sacsayhuamán. It is one of the most famous churches in America and Peru. That’s why together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we want to tell you about this iconic monument of the Imperial City.



Cusco Cathedral description

The Cusco Cathedral is one of the most emblematic buildings of the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and one of the Cusco Top Attractions. This historical construction is also considered Cultural Heritage of the Nation and has a combination of unique characteristics such as Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles. The Basilica Cusco Cathedral is one of the largest deposits of colonial art that you can find in the Imperial City. The entire Cathedral houses an innumerable amount of works from the Cusco school of art. All of the works combine individual styles of painting corresponding to the 17th century of devotional Europe along with other symbolic techniques belonging to Andean artists from Cusco. Two different but no less important churches surround the entire Cathedral. The Sagrada Familia is located on the left side of the facade of the Cathedral while on the right side is the Iglesia del Triunfo. Being able to tour the interiors of the Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Cusco.


Cusco Cathedral history

The history of the Cusco Cathedral begins in the year 1560 when it was decided to undertake its construction. The building was not completed until a century later due to the sites chosen for its construction. First, it was decided to start construction where the Iglesia del Triunfo is now located, one of the best old churches in Cusco. Then it was decided to do it in the Cusipata area thanks to its size. But the land of Quishuarcancha was finally acquired in 1553, where today it is imposingly located. The reasons for the construction of the Cusco Cathedral were not always benevolent, as there was a clear intention to supplant the Andean religion with emerging Christianity. The Church was built on the foundations of an ancient Inca temple called Quishuarcancha. This temple was the site of the palace of the Inca Viracocha, a 15th century Inca emperor. The Spanish conquerors forced the Inca people to build the cathedral.


what to see in Cusco Cathedral

Inside the Church, you can enjoy numerous attractions with unique touches. Even on some tours in Cusco, you can visit and appreciate the wonders of the Cathedral. The entire Cusco Cathedral has splendid altars in the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical style. Under the right side of the main altar of the Basilica, you can find a small arched crypt that contains the ashes of some deceased archbishops. There is also the Silver Room, a little side chapel where you can notice a collection of religious objects made of silver and dating back more than a hundred years. Another one of the must-see attractions of the Cusco Cathedral is the choir stalls, made entirely of pure cedar. Last but not least, you can find a collection of canvases belonging to the Cusco school. This collection includes works by Diego Quispe Tito, Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallao, Basilio Pacheco, and Marcos Zapata, creator of a particular “last supper” where the main dish is the traditional roasted guinea pig. This work is displayed inside the Cusco Cathedral.


Cusco Cathedral location

The Cusco Cathedral is found in the heart of the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. It is located in the Imperial City, on the north side of the Cusco main square, within the historic center of the city. The entire complex covers an area of ​​3,918 square meters and is one of the most essential and iconic religious monuments in the whole of the Historic Center of Cusco.


Cusco Cathedral architecture

One of the must-see destinations on a city tour in Cusco is the Cusco Cathedral. In general, guided tours of the city offer the possibility of admiring the Cathedral from the outside, although it can also include a tour of the interiors. The cathedral is a visual spectacle due to its imposing architecture. The entire building is in the shape of a Latin cross, with a Renaissance-style facade and interiors. Due to the time in which it was built, it has an evident influence of a Gothic-Renaissance style that the great Spanish cathedrals used to have. You can even see some touches of Baroque style in its monumental towers and other parts of its facade.


The Cusco Cathedral is a must-see for those looking to tour the city. It doesn’t matter if you are exploring the city on your own, it is an unmissable building if you find yourself in the iconic Plaza de Armas. You can learn more about our private city tours with our qualified advisors. We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have been helpful in your future travel plans.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!