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Coricancha: The merge of two cultures

An indisputable sample of the Inca and Hispanic cultures fusion.

Coricancha, 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 gathered at this temple to worship and pay tribute to their gods, but the interior of the enclosure was reserved for the most important personalities of the time. Due to its importance, the Coricancha was built with finely joined stones with an impressive precision that give it a sober aesthetic.

The incredible architecture of the Coricancha temple

On the inside, the walls of the various enclosures were covered with leafs of gold and silver. In the time of the Incas, within the facilities of the “gold enclosure” you could find many deities and samples of flora and fauna such as vicuñas, birds, trees and plants such as corn, made of gold and silver.

In 1530, along with the Spanish conquest, the order of the Dominicans built the temple of Santo Domingo on the foundations of the Coricancha, thus showing the power of the Spanish over the Incas. Later, the temple was looted almost completely, stripped of the precious metals that decorated it.

Interior of the Coricancha temple

What to visit in the Coricancha?

The Coricancha was sun-shaped, and the paths that came out of it were the rays that illuminated in the direction of the sacred sites for the Incas. You can find the following temples when entering the Coricancha:

Temple of the Sun

The main temple of the whole Coricancha, occupied more than half the width of the current Church of Santo Domingo. Inside this temple were the embalmed bodies of the Incas placed by antiquity in chairs and on tables of gold, the walls were covered with plates of gold and, a disk of ample thickness that represented the image of the Sun.

Temple of the Moon

This building was lined with silver planks and had the representation of the Moon made in silver. Inside the mummies of the wives of the Incas placed in order of antiquity were kept. Approximately, half of the Temple was demolished by the Spaniards to build the church of Santo Domingo.

Temple of Venus and the Stars

The Inca, according to references of historians, was located in this part of the Coricancha to be deified or to witness feasts or sacrifices made in the rectangular patio. It occupies part of the western side of the inner patio of the Coricancha.

Lightning, Thunder and Lightning Premises

It is in front of the temple of Venus, has three simple doors with jambs, equidistant and slightly trapezoidal, also has a window on each side wall.

The fountains

There were 5 water fountains whose origins are unknown, these had religious significance and were decorated with precious metals. They were located in all the extension of the Coricancha.

The Solar Garden

It became the great deposit of offerings that all the submissive and confederated nations brought to the Sun God. These offerings consisted of representations of flora and fauna of the Tahuantinsuyo, made in gold and silver. These were of natural size and were so many that they filled in a surprising way and in such number the andenerías that the Spaniards called it the Solar Garden. In colonial times it became the garden of the Dominican friars.

Convent of Santo Domingo

How to get there

The Coricancha temple is located in the center of the city of Cusco, between the intersection of Av. El Sol and Santo Domingo St., two blocks from Plaza de Armas. You can enter from Monday to Saturday from 08:30 to 17:30 and on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is priced at 10 soles for adults, 5 soles for students and is free for children under 10 years.

What to bring

If you want to visit this beautiful temple on your next vacation, we recommend you take the following items so that you have a memorable visit:

• Camera
• Sunblock
• Hat
• Sunglasses
• Coat

All ready? Prepare to be amazed by unique architecture! Without a doubt, visiting the Coricancha is one of the must-sees in your visit to Cusco. And if you really like to know about Inca history and culture, travel aboard the PeruRailVistadome train to Machu Picchu. Buy your train tickets!

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