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The famous Temple of the Sun of Qosqo was a synthesis of the Inca organization of architecture and religion, which had already reached the peak of its 1438 level. Possibly, it represents the “Navel of the World”, therefore, the center of the world is the Andean prehispanic worldview.

According to our story, it was the first Inka, Manko Qhapaq who built the original temple. But, it was the ninth Inca Pachakuteq, who since 1438 rebuilt, enlarged, improved and modernized the most important religious complex of the extensive Inkairo Empire

Cusco Qoricancha
Cusco Qoricancha

There are certain discrepancies about the original name of the complex and although they are not mutually exclusive, they cause relative confusion. Often in the chronicles and history treaties of Intiwasi this name is found, (Inti = sun, wasi = house) which means “Sun House”, also the name Intikancha that would mean “Sun Palace” (this is taking into account that almost all incairos palaces owned the noun “Kancha”). While its most popular name is Qorikancha it would mean “Golden Palace”. Maria Rostworowski suggested that the ancient temple was known as “Intikancha” and after Pachakuteq as “Qorikancha”.

The main door of the temple faced towards the northeast, almost in the same position of the current entrance to the one of Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo) Old Convent, with views to Intipanpa (“Place of the Sun”) that today occupies the small park in The front. According to the chroniclers it was a religious complex constituted by temples dedicated to different decades. It had a design very similar to that of a classic “kancha”, with enclosures around a central patio, where according to Cieza de León, all the doors were plated with gold plates.

All the chroniclers agree in stating that the quality of the construction was extraordinary, it is a fact that the gray basaltic andesites from the quarries of Waqoto and Rumiqolqa said that the walls have the “sedimentary or called Imperial Inka” of type that is the maximum expression of architecture in pre-Columbian America. The stones are between medium and large that the outer surface is rectangular in plan, the structure is horizontal straight that in the most important temples show lateral views with marked convexity.The joints between the stones are polished, they are perfectly made that do not allow the insertion of even a “razor blade”. The structure of cross section is “tied”, ie in the form of clips or clips of bronze in the internal joints that joined together the lithic pieces avoiding damaging horizontal displacements in case of earthquakes. The wall also has a vertical decreasing structure, that is, with larger stones at the bottom and smaller and smaller towards the top. The walls are wider in the base than in the upper part, with the classic inward inclination (there is no measure or general rule for the inclination) balanced with the trapezoidal shape of the doors, niches and openings. These characteristics mean that the walls must maintain themselves forming a strong and resistant anti-seismic structure, which was able to withstand the two large earthquakes after the Spanish invasion in 1650 and 1950, which destroyed all the colonial buildings. Today in some Inca walls of the urbanization there are some cracks. They are not the result of miscalculation or the technique of the Quechua architects, but simply, a consequence of the changes carried out in colonial times, earthquakes and exposure mainly to inclement weather and erosion, after all . According to some studies, finely carved stone walls had a continuation of sun-dried clay from bricks at the top forming very steep gables to allow rainwater drainage. The roof was made of wood with thatched roof and “ichu” the Andean wild grass, with eaves that protrudes about 1.6 meters. (5.25 feet), the roofs were modestly re-dressed on holiday days, when they were covered with colorful multi-colored blankets made with special feathers. Gasparini believes that what was mentioned was often by the chroniclers “gold trimmings” that served as a crown that surrounds the entire upper outer part of the temple served, moreover, in order to disguise the difference between the fine stone wall and the upper part of the adobe wall. The floor in the open areas of the temple must have been completely and finely paved with stone slabs, while the floors within the enclosures were undoubtedly made with the clay baked as a solid block of ceramic, as the treated plants found in Machu Picchu.

In the Andean cosmogony it was considered that the Moon or Mamakilla was the wife of the sun. Therefore, the Temple of the Moon is located on the eastern side of the Solar Temple, which had a rectangular floor with the best quality of architecture, unfortunately, was almost completely destroyed in order to build the Catholic Church. One of its doors is still visible, as well as its eastern wall with the classic trapezoidal niches. Among the niches is the dark horizontal strip that is believed to be the support area of ​​the silver plates that completely covered its walls. In the center of the temple, there was a representation of the silver moon and on both sides of it the embalmed bodies of the dead Qoyas (Queens), according to their antiquity

The Temple of the Sun stood out in the complex, which encompasses the space occupied today by the Catholic Church of Santo Domingo.Its eastern end was completely demolished, while the western part still survives the formation of what is known as “solar building round”, that is, the semicircular wall overlooking the current street Arrayán and Avenida El Sol. Temple of the Sun had its four walls and even the wooden roof completely covered with gold plates and planks, according to the description of Garcilaso that should have a rectangular plant, with a very high thatched roof to facilitate ventilation. It is worth noting who gives detailed information on the subject was the famous chronicler from Cuzco Garcilaso de la Vega, who wrote as indicated by itself “what is swallowed is milk and I saw and heard from my ancestors …”. On the eastern wall of this temple it should have been the main altar of the façade and, as it is known, contains the representation of the sun god on a gold plate with the shape of a “round face and rays and flames”. solar representation was so large that it covers the entire front of the temple from wall to wall, in the distribution of riches among the conquerors, that piece of gold corresponded to the release of a lot of Mancio Sierra de Leguisamo, an inveterate gambler who gets lost during a night playing dice, event by which the famous saying “I bet the sun rises before dawn”, Cronista Sarmiento de Gamboa suggests that Pachakuteq ordered a distribution in such a way that the Sun occupies the main place along with the a representation Wiraqocha God on his right side and Chuquiylla (it must be “Chuki Illapa” or thunder, lightning and lightning) to his left side. In addition, on both sides of the sun’s image were the “Mallki” (mummies or embalmed bodies in fetal position) of the dead the Inca kings, according to their antiquity, and in litters of solid gold.

More than this vast complex there are 5 water sources, in which the drinking water transported through underground channels, water springs or fountains that were kept in complete secrecy flowed. Those water sources had religious duties as water was another priority in the Andean religion; they were also adorned with precious metals, had spillways of gold, and large gold and silver jars. In colonial times the water dried up as a result of the lack of maintenance and destruction in use. Garcilaso indicates that he saw only one of them, the last one the Dominican monks used to irrigate their garden. Since 1975, the convent and the church were rebuilt at the same time that some archaeological excavations were also carried out, which finally made it possible to search for one of the 5 original fountains. It is lower and before the “round solar building”, the water still flows through its finely carved channels. It is possible that in the future the remains of the other sources described by Garcilaso will be found. Until 1990 most of the space in the Solar Garden was covered by different buildings, thanks to a law that came into force in the late 80’s in the central government and, especially in the Municipality of Cusco, bought land and houses of the sector and some archaeological works were carried out. The objective was to discover our past and make known what little remains of the greatness of the complex, which as a Spanish soldier Cieza de León wrote in short, was one of the rich temples that exist in the world. “

In the center of the central courtyard of the cloister is an eight-sided fountain carved in a unique piece of andesina that according to some historians has Inca manufacture. However, its shape and characteristics are not classical in the Inca stonework. Therefore, if it was carved in the Inkario it must have had another form that was transformed in the colonial era. Also today, around the arches there is a collection of canvases representing the life of Santo Domingo de Guzmán painted by anonymous artists of the local schools of Cusco

After the distribution of the houses and palaces during the Spanish invasion, the Qorikancha corresponded to Juan Pizarro who donated it to the Dominican Order represented by the first bishop of the city of Cusco Fray Vicente de Valverde. Immediately he executed the construction of his church and the convent on the most important Inca Temple demolish almost completely to adapt it to its new use.That original church was destroyed by an earthquake on March 31, 1650. Subsequently, the current structure was raised, as well as the tower in 1780, with an elaborate baroque style under the direction of Fray Francisco Muñoz. On May 21 1950 another violent earthquake destroyed much of the convent and the church, as well as its towers exposing the Inca structures and many of the inner zone of the “construction of the Solar Round”. At that time a strong “indigenist movement” suggested the relocation of the church and the recovery of the Temple of the Sun, it is a pity that the political power of the Catholic Church did not allow the attempt to clear the ruins of the sanctuary of the great Tawantinsuyo, Qosco Sacred Capital of the Incas.

Qosqo Inca’s Sacred Capital


San Blas is today a neighborhood in the center of the city known as the “District Artists”, with narrow and twisted streets, many of them steep. In the Inca times it was one of the most important districts of Cusco and its name was “T’oqo-Kachi” (T’oqo = hollowonada, Kachi = salt). Like the other districts it was inhabited by the Quechua nobility. It seems that the church was erected on an Inca sanctuary dedicated to the worship of “Ilapa” God (thunder, lightning and lightning). Possibly it was opened for the first time in 1544 by the second of the city Bishop Juan Solano. Although some other versions say that it was after 1559 as a consequence of the order of Viceroy Andres Hurtado de Mendoza, by which the “Indians” had to build churches for their indoctrination in the neighborhoods where they lived. Its structure was simple with a rectangular floor plan and adobe walls, but after the earthquakes of 1650 and 1950 it was partially reinforced with stone walls. It has a single nave and two doors before which there are large squares, and a bell-shaped stone tower built after the 1950 earthquake made with mud bricks.

Inside the church is one of the greatest jewels of colonial art on the continent of the Pulpit of San Blas, which is a filigree made in cedar wood by expert hands the management of a gouge. It is not known with certainty who was the artist or artists who did it, how long the work lasted, or any other detail about it. However, the pulpit is there as a mute witness to a great Catholic devotion and consecrated work. There is sufficient evidence to affirm that the carving was done with funds given by the protective art of Bishop Manuel Mollinedo and Angulo, for what it was at the end of the 17th century. There are serious discrepancies about the identity of the performer.

Most authors suggest that it was made by the most famous Quechua woodcarver: Juan Tomás Tuyro Tupaq who was contemporary and protected by Mollinedo and Angulo who entrusted him with the manufacture of several works. It could also have been the work of some contemporary artists with other Mollinedo like Martin de Torres, Diego Martinez de Oviedo who made the monumental High Altar of the Society of Jesus, or the Franciscans Luis Montes who made the choir of the Church of San Francisco de. The oral tradition has its version collected by Ángel Carreño that in his “Tradiciones Cusqueñas” manuscript had declared in writing the name of Esteban Orcasitas as the author of the pulpit, but for the first edition of his book the name was changed by Juan Tomás Tuyrutupa, Tuyrutupa was Quechua and Cusqueño, but according to that traditional version he was a leper carver from Huamanga (Ayacucho). The story tells that he once had in his dreams a revelation of the “Blessed Virgin of Good Success”, who told him that if he wanted to be healed of his leprosy he had to look for it in the small square of Arrayanpata in the city of Cusco. After a long journey and many misfortunes, one day he found the painting on a wall after the ceiling of the “Lirpuy-Phaqcha” chapel fell in falling on his knees and crying invoked him with the rosary to the Virgin and became in petals of rose with which it rubbed the whole body so that it is completely cured. The piece of wall that contained the painting was cut and moved to the church of San Blas, then the people agreed to the construction of an altarpiece and a pulpit for the Virgin. The grateful Quechua carver promised to make the pulpit without charging any money for the work estimated at 1400 pesos or soles. The work took 4 years of hard work with the wood of a huge cedar tree that was cut in the square Kusipata (present Regocijo). But, at the end of his work, the sculptor failed in his oath as he asked the priest of the church 70 pesos in order to entertain a mestiza Cuzco woman. After fixing the statue of St. Paul in the pulpit’s soundboard, he stumbled and fell shortly after he died. His body was buried under the pulpit.

Like any normal pulpit of another, the Church of San Blas has a Balcony (basin), a thorax (main body), a sounding board (dome) and a gallery (entrance). The find is spherical and supported by a structure of Bronze.

The main door of the temple faced towards the northeast, almost in the same position of the current entrance to the one of Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo) Old Convent, with views to Intipanpa (“Place of the Sun”) that today occupies the small park in The front. According to the chroniclers it was a religious complex constituted by temples dedicated to different decades. It had a design very similar to that of a classic “kancha”, with enclosures around a central patio, where according to Cieza de León, all the doors were plated with gold plates.

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