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The religious complex of Coricancha (Qorikancha) in the Inca capital at Cuzco contained the Temple of the Sun which was not only the most sacred site or huaca in the Inca religion but was considered the very centre of the Inca world. The site was also known as the Golden Enclosure and was dedicated to the highest gods in the Inca pantheon such as the Creator god Viracocha, the moon goddess Quilla and especially to Inti, the god of the sun. Little remains today except some sections of its fine stone walls which hint at the site's once massive size and the legendary stories which tell of the enormous quantity of gold used to decorate the temples and its golden garden.

Layout & Architecture

The construction of the complex is commonly attributed to Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the 9th Inca ruler (1438-1471 CE) who also embarked on a general rebuilding programme in the capital. Despite excavations, though, the exact chronology of the site is not clear. In Inca mythology the first Inca leader Manco Capac (Manqo Qhapaq) built a temple at the site in the early 12th century CE and archaeology does show evidence of pre-empire structures.

The lay-out of the site, as seen from above, actually resembled a sun with rays shining out in all directions. These were the sacred ceque (zeq'e) lines - physical and cosmic roads - of which there were 41 which led to an impressive 328 sacred sites. Cuzco itself was deliberately laid out to represent a jaguar and Coricancha was located at the tail. In typical Inca symmetry the second most important sacred site in the city - Sacsahuaman - was located at the head. Coricancha was also built where the city's two great rivers of Huantanay and Tullamayo met.

The doors were covered in gold sheets, as were the interiors and exteriors of the various temples and the inner side of the perimeter wall was even said to have been studded with emeralds.

Built using the fine masonry skills for which the Inca have rightly become famous, the massive walls of the complex were built from large stone blocks finely cut and fitted together without mortar. The large curved western wall was particularly noted for its form and elegant, regular masonry. Most walls also leaned slightly inwards as they rose in height, a typical feature of Inca architecture. Many trapezoid doorways and windows allowed access and light to enter the interior spaces and a broad band of gold was added mid-way height around the walls. The interior buildings were of one storey and had thatched roofs. The doors were also covered in gold sheets, as were the interiors and exteriors of the various temples and the inner side of the perimeter wall was even said to have been studded with emeralds.

Temple of the Sun

The most important temple in the precinct was the Temple of the Sun, dedicated to the sun god Inti. The interior and exterior walls of the temple, situated in the northern corner of the complex, were covered in gold - considered the sweat of the sun - which was beaten into sheet plates. There were, reportedly, 700 of these half-metre square sheets, each weighing 2 kg.

Inside the temple, besides golden artefacts relevant to the god's worship, was a gold statue of Inti encrusted with jewels. The statue represented Inti as a small seated boy called Punchao (Day or Midday Sun). From his head and shoulders the sun's rays shone, he wore a royal headband and had snakes and lions coming out of his body. The stomach of the statue was hollow and used to store the ashes of the vital organs of previous Inca rulers. Everyday this statue was brought out into the open air and returned to the shrine each night. Another important representation of the god - a giant mask with zig-zag rays bursting from the head - was hung from the wall of a specially dedicated chamber within the temple.

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The garden of the temple was a wonderfully conceived homage to Inti. Just as land - sometimes even entire regions - were dedicated to the god, so too, this garden was constructed in honour of the great sun god Inti. Everything in it was made of gold and silver. A large field of corn and life-size models of shepherds, llamas, jaguars, guinea pigs, monkeys, birds and even butterflies and insects were all crafted in precious metal. And if that wasn't enough to please Inti there were also a large number of gold and silver jars all encrusted with precious stones. All that survives of these wonders are a few golden corn stalks, a convincing, if silent, testimony to the lost treasures of Coricancha.

Other Temples

Five other temples or wasi were placed around the main square courtyard of Coricancha. In order of hierarchy, one temple was dedicated to the creator god Viracocha (more or less equal to Inti), one to Quilla the goddess of the moon, one to Venus or Chaska-Qoylor, one to the god of thunder Illapa, and finally one for Cuichu the rainbow god. Just as Inti's temple was covered in gold, Quilla's temple was covered in silver, a metal thought to be the tears of the moon. Each wasi contained a cult statue of that particular god and precious art and religious objects connected to them.

There was also a dedicated space for the mummified remains of former Inca emperors and their wives, known as mallquis. These were brought out of storage during special ceremonies such as those celebrating the solstices. Offerings were made to these mummies dressed in fine clothes, and the great achievements they had made during their reigns were read out for all to hear. There were also living quarters for priests and priestesses and still other rooms of the complex were used as art and religious treasuries stuffed with artefacts taken from conquered peoples. These may well have been kept in order to guarantee compliance to Inca rule, just as conquered rulers were sometimes held hostage at Cuzco for periods of the year. Yet another interesting feature of the site was an underground channel through which sacred water flowed to the surrounding squares outside the complex.

Other important functions of Coricancha included the taking of astronomical observations, especially of the Milky Way (Mayu). There was, for example, a pair of towers which marked the Summer solstice and sightings were taken from the sacred ushnu stone against man-made and natural landmarks on the horizon to track the sun. Sacrificial victims (capacochas) were also made ready for their great moment in the precinct's courtyard and then marched along the ceque lines to be sacrificed in the various provinces in honour of Inti and his living incarnation, the Inca emperor.

Later History

The rather plain entrance doorway of the complex survives today with its typical double jamb, as do sections of the outer walls and some interior walls. The Christian monastery of Santo Domingo was built on top of the complex, no doubt, in a deliberate attempt to signify that one religion had been replaced by another. Most of the gold from the site was, of course, melted into ingots and taken for the Spanish Crown. The star piece, the golden statue of Inti, was taken to a place of safety when the Spanish arrived but it seems that they did eventually find it thirty years later in 1572 CE but it disappeared without trace, probably melted down like so many other Inca artefacts.

Convent of Santo Domingo, Cusco

The Convent of Santo Domingo is a convent (or monastery) of the Dominican Order in the city of Cusco, Peru. Spanish colonists built it on top of Coricancha, the most important Inca temple of the capital of the people's empire. [1] [2]

Guides in Cusco will tell you the history of Coricancha begins with the Incas

The walls and floors of this magnificent structure were once covered in sheets of solid gold, and the adjacent courtyard was once adorned with golden statues. But this was before the Spanish arrived in Peru the 14th century. And after, this grand structure became a church.

The Incas created the golden temple, but were they the builders of the structure?

Some say ‘yes’. Others say ‘no’.

The complete story of the historic site of Coricancha, remains untold.

Many believe the Incas were responsible for the construction of Coricancha. Other believe the Incas built upon an even older structure that was already there, built and abandoned when the Incas occupied Cusco and the Sacred Valley. But what is known for sure is that the Spanish built the Church of Santo Domingo burying possibly hundreds, maybe even thousands of years of history.

Coricancha / Church of Santo Domingo today

I am interested in exploring the history behind the cultures who built many of the sites in and around the Sacred Valley of Peru. I believe many of the structures including Coricancha were constructed by the Incas on top of earlier ruins just as the Spanish constructed a church in it’s place. Many sites that include many different styles of construction from Sacsayhuamán, Machu Picchu to Ollytaytambo to name a few. There are some researchers like David Hatcher Childress that and Chris Dunn and Brien Foesrester that believe that much older compilations have contributed to the construction.

One thing is for sure, not all historians agree, so many of these question remains unanswered. But they do agree that the story of Peru travels back thousands of years into the past.

Exact masonry so precise, no motar used, some believe constructed by ancient cultures dating back thousands of years. What do you think?

Miro and I walked along the walls that encased the once great structure and noticed there were 3 distinct stone works styles in the wall. The Spanish built the highest level but the lower two levels that created the perimeter are distinct from one another. There is at the foundation, very precise stone work where all the blocks fit together with such precision, to this day, not even a human hair can fit between the joints. And the bricks themselves are not a uniform size, as it appears each stone was cut specifically for that location. In fact, the same stone work can be found at Sacsayhuamán, just outside the perimeter of Cusco. The difference between the stones at Sacsayhuamán and Coricancha is that they are of greater scale, some stones weighing up to 100 tons. But walls of Coricancha are smoothed. We are told the Incas had only stone chisels a few hundred years ago.

Miro walks along the walls of Coricancha

Archaeologists, who have researched Cusco and the Sacred Valley, across the many sites left behind can agree that numerous earlier cultures thrived in the area, pre dating the Incas. One example is the Killke culture which flourished from 900 to 1200 AC, prior to the Inca period. Some mainstream archeologists attribute the grand the walled complex, known as Sacsayhuamán, just outside of Cusco as being built by the Killke. However there is a growing number of researcher from many disciplines that believe that ancient cultures thrived in Peru thousands of years back. And with greater technology than we are led to believe was possible.

I will be exploring some of the other sites throughout the Sacred Valley and into Bolivia in the future. Keep in mind, to have the technology of cutting, moving, measuring and creating massive structures with precision would require technology on the same scale as the builders of the great pyramids in Egypt and other sites throughout the planet. As a life-learning adult, archeology continues to amaze me.

Legends of the Inca and the mysterious Sun Disk that disappeared after opening a Stargate

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Across the globe, two ancient civilizations worshipped the Sun. In South America, the ancient Inca ruler Pachacuti came to power with help from a mirrored sun disk. In Egypt, the Pharaoh Akhenaten focused all worship on a sun disk called the Aten.

Were these both cases of worshipping an idol of the Sun, or was there more to the story? For ancient astronaut theorists, these disks seem to represent advanced technology of extraterrestrial origin. Critics and mainstream scholars would shine a light on expected earthly explanations instead.

In this first article, we’ll take a look at the Inca, the Temple of the Sun, and the mysterious legends of the sun disk, as shown on the Ancient Aliens series. Later, we’ll look at the stories of the Aten and Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Ancient Aliens Season 12, Episode 15 focuses on the story of Pachacuti and his mysterious sun disk. The show proposes that the sun disk was a literal communications device. Rather than merely an idol that one would pray too, it was perhaps similar to a modern smartphone with advanced computer circuitry.

“Worldwide, it doesn’t matter what ancient culture, there is some type of a worship of a disk that came from the sky,” says Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. “It’s possible that this disk had some type of an extraterrestrial connection and that this disk was a technological device.”

The legends about the sun disk suggest that it was used to open a portal to other worlds at the Gate of the Gods, La Puerta de Hayu Marca. The bizarre and spectacular 23-foot square doorway-like structure near Lake Titicaca is considered by some a possible Stargate. An average-height person can stand inside the carved out T-shaped “door.” In the middle of this door, there is a small circular depression, as if for holding something in place.

While it could merely be an abandoned project, local legends suggest otherwise.

“Locals are said to call the doorway the ‘Puerta de Hayu Marca,’ or ‘Gate of the Gods,’ and local legends apparently speak of people disappearing through the doorway as well as of strange sights, such as ‘tall men accompanied by glowing balls of lights walking through the doorway.'”

Another legend holds that the first Incan priest-king Aramu Muru took the sun disk to the Gate of the Gods and used it to open a portal. He stepped inside and disappeared forever, leaving behind the disk. After that, what happened to the disk is lost to history.

“[Aramu Muru] approached a giant doorway cut into an artificially flattened mountainside. In the center of this stone indentation was a hollow into which he placed the sun disk. When he did so, the stone door shimmered and became bright. Aramu stepped through the portal and it thereafter returned to stone. He was never seen again, and the door never changed again.”

See the scene from Ancient Aliens as well as more background below:

More about the Gate of the Gods and Aramu Muru below:

In the video below, Ancient Aliens theorists speculate about what may have happened to the sun disk. Was it smuggled out of the temple through underground passageways near the fortress temple complex Sacsayhuaman? Or was the disk taken to the sacred site of Lake Titicaca, where the creator god Viracocha was said to have emerged?

Nobody knows, and so the mystery may always remain.

The sun disk is missing, but the amazing ruins of the Temple of the Sun, or Coricancha (Qorikancha) at Cuzco, Peru remains. The temple and garden were said to have been decorated with large quantities of gold and dedicated to Viracocha and his intermediaries with humans. Those governing intermediaries were the moon goddess Quilla, and her husband Inti , the god of the Sun.

Mask of Inti via Ancient History Encyclopedia

Was the sun disk merely an idol of worship and prayer? Or was it something more extraordinary, a device for direct communication with the “gods?” Or even a device for opening a Stargate? You decide.

Next, learn about Pharaoh Akhenaten and his mysterious sun disk: What was the Aten, the sun disk of Pharaoh Akhenaten?

Coricancha: archaeological site

This temple was built during the government of the Inca Huiracocha in the 13th century, approximately. Emperor Pachacutec, the builder of Machu Picchu, was the one who embellished it in the 15th century. The thin walls of the temple express the highest level of engineering that the Incas achieved. Its walls fit perfectly without any mortar. Much of the walls as well as doors and temples are known to have been covered by a broad band of gold. After the Spanish invasion, the temple was looted and the gold stolen.

Santo Domingo Church and Convent – Coricancha

Enclosure of the Sun

  • In this room was a representation of the god Huiracocha and some Inca mummies. The enclosure was protected by mamaconas or priestesses from the sun. This temple does not present any material in the joints of the stone blocks that form its walls and there is no space between the blocks, as if they could have shaped the stones as they pleased.

Enclosure of the Stars

  • In this temple the stars, servants of the moon, daughters of the sun and the moon were worshiped. The Incas believed that the stars were placed in the sky in correspondence with all the animals on earth. In the middle part of the Temple of the Stars you can see a ceremonial niche where you can see works done in low relief and bone remains of auquénidos. This niche is directly related to the sunrise during the winter solstice.

Rainbow Enclosure

  • This temple is called the rainbow enclosure, as it was thought that it came from the sun. All the walls of the enclosure must have been completely covered in gold. According to the chroniclers, on a plate on the wall was the arch of heaven painted in its seven colors.

Sacrificial Enclosure

  • Adjacent to the rainbow enclosure there is a large space whose specific function has not yet been deciphered. In the middle of this enclosure there is a lithic element in the form of a table, brought from the sacred garden. That is why this room is known as a place of sacrifice. At the bottom of the wall there are three well-carved holes that served as drainage.

Ceremonial fountain

  • It is a fountain from the colonial era worked by hand that fulfilled the function of an octagonal water tank and a square base. Some chroniclers affirm that it is of Inca origin and that chicha was poured into it, as an offering to the sun god (god Inti).

Coricancha Enclosures

Lightning Enclosure

  • This enclosure is also known as the temple of thunder or lightning. It is the last of the enclosures whose access has three doors. As its name indicates, it was destined for the cult of lightning (the Incas named it with the Quechua word ‘Illapa’ ). The worship of this god consisted of animal offerings and even, in times of drought, with human sacrifices of boys and girls (Capacocha ceremony).

Sacred Alley

  • This famous passage led to the most important enclosure in the Coricancha where the god Inti (sun) was worshiped. It consists of two enormous stone walls built with perfectly carved blocks. Among these, a rock with more than twenty-four angles stands out. The alley is approximately 10 meters long. It is one of the most photographed venues by visitors.

Sacred Gardens

  • The gardens were decorated with the various species of Andean flora as well as multiple gold and silver works. You can still see one of the sources of the ancient sacred garden. During the festivities of the sun, the peoples conquered by the Incas made a pilgrimage to the city of Cusco, bringing different offerings that were stored in these gardens.

Best Inca ruins in and around Cusco

1. Coricancha

Located in the heart of the city, Coricancha can be found within close reach of most hotels. During the Inca Empire, Coricancha was undoubtedly one of the most important sites and was dedicated to Inti, the Sun God, and the walls were once covered in gold. Here, the site was also the location where revered Incas were laid to rest inside.

Today, the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo sit above the Coricancha site, and the curved Inca wall is the only remaining feature.

2. Ollantaytambo

Explore Ollantaytambo

The Ollantaytambo Ruins consist of a steep fortress and were previously used to protect the Incas from the Spanish conquistadors. Reaching the top of the fortress will literally take your breath away, and its location allows for impressive views down the length of the valley. While you’re there, you can visit the nearby ancient Inca temple that was built from huge stone pieces and features ancient symbols carved into the stone walls.

3. Pisac

Pisac is a small town that boasts a colourful market along with narrow cobbled streets. Nearby are the Ruins of Pisac a huge Inca citadel that boasts incredible views of the Urubamba Valley. It’s famous for the spectacular terracing which curves around the hill and at the top, you will see preserved temples, baths and the ceremonial centre.


4. Moray Ruins

The archaeological site of Moray is found on a plateau approximately 50 kilometres outside of Cusco in the Sacred Valley. It is more remote than Ollantaytambo and Pisac so receive fewer visitors than it’s popular neighbours. The ruins feature a circular terrace, shaped like a bowl which you are free to climb. It is believed that this was once used as an agricultural research base for the Incas used to experiment with crop growing.

5. Sacsayhuaman

From Cusco, you can easily walk to Sacsayhuaman. Translated to Royal Eagle, this is another jaw-dropping fortress temple and one of the largest structures built by the Incas. It offers incredible views of the city and is near the Cristo Blanco statue.

Sacsayhuaman is the final site of the Inti Raymi parade which happens every year. Dressed in full Inca costume, the Inca perform a prayer to the Sun God before sacrificing a llama. The festivities are ticketed but many locals choose to watch from two hills overlooking the site.


6. Wiñay Wayna

These ruins can be found on the Inca Trail itself, and they are thought to be the ruins of a town en-route to Machu Picchu. They sit elevated overlooking the Urubamba River, made up of a number of houses and baths.

7. Machu Picchu

It is easy to see why Machu Picchu is one of the seven new wonders of the world. Nestled high up in the Andes, Machu Picchu has continually lured avid travellers and explorers since 1911 when Hiram Bingham was led there by a local Quechua boy. It was designed by the Incas to be completely self-contained and watered by nearby natural springs.

Here you can see ruins of palaces, temples, houses, and baths which are very well-preserved.

Machu Picchu is a true sight to behold

No trip to Peru would be complete without seeing these incredible ruins. The one thing that defines them is how they have all been built without concrete. Everything was designed to fit together and everything was hand-carved.

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Inca Architecture

Much of what the early Inca knew about architecture they acquired from the Tiahuanaco culture. These people thrived on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca in what is today known as the country of Bolivia. The Tiahuanaco were master architects, masons, and stone cutters. They were known to fit carved stones so close together that the mortar was almost invisible. The use of rectangular plans for their streets, buildings, and courtyards, as well as the idea of tight polygonal joints came from Tiahuanaco people. Master masons from this area were imported by the Inca.

Blocks of stone had to be cut, ground, and polished until the outer surfaces locked perfectly. Today, we are still not certain how the Incas cut stone. We do know that most buildings required vasts amounts of labor, and that the fortress of Sacsahuaman alone required 30,000 men. The Inca had no wheels, cranes, or lifting devices. Their architects used geometric shapes when building, and trapezoids were used extensively for doorways, windows, and alcoves. Inca architects incorporated springs and steams into their work whenever they could.

Incan Housing

The Inca used thatched roofs, and sometimes they were very elaborate. In some cases they were so densely woven that they would last for years. All of the temples used thatched roofs, even the Coricancha. The Inca were conservative architects. They relied on proven methods. They never did excel in woodworking.

The Coricancha was probably the most beautiful of all of the Inca temples. It was also the most important. It was considered to be the holiest sanctuary in the Inca empire. The word Coricancha means “Enclosure of Gold.” It got this name because its walls were made of sheets of gold that were up to a foot thick. All of the Spanish chroniclers agreed that the workmanship on the Coricancha matched some of the most famous buildings found in Spain. When the Spaniards destroyed the Coricancha, they cut up the gold and silver that lined the temple and its side buildings. In all they took over 3,000 pounds of gold from the walls.

Qorikancha, The Temple of the Sun Schedules, Prices and Tours

In the historical center of the city of Cusco, less than 5 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas, is the Convent of Santo Domingo, built on the ancient Temple of Coricancha (or Koricancha) known as the temple of the sun or golden temple.

It dates back to the period of the Spanish conquest, when the Pizarro brothers invaded, plundered and fought in the name of the royal crown of Spain so that this Inca temple would pass into the hands of a Catholic religious order and become a convent.

The shape of Coricancha was that of a sun, and the paths that came out of it were the rays that illuminated in the direction of the sacred sites for the Incas (more than 320 sacred places).

But not only the Inca buildings had mythological forms, but the layout of the important cities was also shaped like animals. Cuzco has the shape of a puma or jaguar, and the temple of Coricancha is located in the tail. The second most eminent sacred place of the puma city was the Sacsayhuaman fortress, which is located on the head of the animal.

The part of the Inca temple was known as the gold enclosure. In addition to the gold that was in many of its walls and doors, it was also dedicated to the god Inti (Sun God). But the temple was not only decorated with gold, but there were also even emeralds in the Inca temples, and in the internal walls as well.

The walls of solid stone carved and fitted without any type of mortar or cement, but that later we will enjoy other constructions like: “The fortress of Sacsayhuaman” and in “The ruins of Ollantaytambo”.

In the outside part of the enclosure, we can also see this work in stone, calling the attention the exterior western wall that makes a curve of more than 90º degrees, and that was part of the system of platforms of the city.

On the inside there are remains on the walls of the plaster and the paintings with which the Spaniards covered them with images of their saints. But the earthquake of 1650 left to the light the Inca stones that can be seen today inside the church.

There is also a museum in which you can find canvases, clothes, religious objects, and contemporary artworks, giving an idea of the multifunctionality of this space today, since it holds everything from masses to concerts, art exhibitions, plays and almost any cultural performance you can imagine in the city of Cuzco.

Useful information to visit the Temple of Coricancha:

Location: At the intersection of Avenida del Sol and Calle Santo Domingo.

Less than 5 minutes from the Plaza de Armas of Cuzco.

Entrance fee:

  • The temple of Coricancha is NOT included in the tourist ticket.
  • Adults: 10 soles.
  • Students: 5 soles.
  • Children under 10: Free entrance.


  • Museum: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
  • Sundays from 14:00 to 17:00.
  • Santo Domingo Church: Monday to Saturday from 7:30 to 19:30.
  • Sundays from 7:00 to 11:00 and from 18:00 to 20:30.
  • Masses: Monday to Saturday from 7:00 and 18:30. Sundays 7:00, 18:30 and 19:30.
  • Children’s Mass: Sundays at 9:00.

Frequently Asked Questions Qoricancha Inca Site

What does coricancha mean?

Coricancha, Ccorichancha or QoriKancha (in Quechua: Quri Kancha, ‘Golden Temple’) was the main Inca temple, which was later destroyed by the Spanish during the colonization process. The site is located in the city of Cuzco in Peru.

Who built coricancha?

It is known that it was built during the government of the Inca Huiracoha, back in 1200 AD. (the dates of the Huiracocha government are debated), it is said that it was embellished by the Inca Pachacútec (he ruled between 1438 and 1471)

Who does the Coricancha temple in Cusco honor?

Over the years, the largest temple in the Inca state was built here. The great reformer of the empire, Inca Pachakuteq, rebuilt the sanctuary and endowed it with fabulous riches, which is why it was given the name Qorikancha, which means in Quechua “Golden Fence”.

Why is the Temple of the Sun important?

Possibly the most sacred and important building of the Tahuantinsuyo empire, Coricancha was the name given to the Inca Temple of the Sun. At the time of the conquest, the temple was destroyed and plundered

What is the Coricancha?

The Coricancha is a temple located in Peru, specifically in Cusco. This is the maximum representation of the union of the Inca culture with the Hispanic culture, since, it is a political and religious center that identifies both. In the same way, it is one of the most honored and respected of the whole city in which it is located.

What does his name mean?

Coricancha, Ccorichancha or QoriKancha (in Quechua: Quri Kancha, ‘Golden Temple’) was the main Inca temple, which was later destroyed by the Spanish during the colonization process. The site is located in the city of Cuzco in Peru.

Where it is located?

A few meters from the Plaza de Armas, on Cusco’s Av. el Sol

How to get to the Coricancha?

If you are in the city of Cusco, you can take a taxi, which depending on your location can charge you between 3 and 20 soles if you are very far from the center of the city the area is very quiet and touristy

What to see in the Coricancha?

In the Qoricancha the stones used inside were carefully worked, they have slight padding on the sides that express the sober aesthetics of the construction in the Inca Empire.

From the place, you can also have a beautiful view of the gardens where part of the Inti Raymi festival is celebrated today. Have you already met him? Go and visit it.

How to visit the Coricancha?

  • The temple of Coricancha is NOT included in the tourist ticket.
  • Adults: 10 soles.
  • Students: 5 soles.
  • Children under 10: Free entrance.

How much does the ticket to the Coricancha cost?

  • The temple of Coricancha is NOT included in the tourist ticket.
  • Adults: 10 soles.
  • Students: 5 soles.
  • Children under 10: Free entrance.

How much does a tour of the Coricancha cost?

You can visit the Coricancha temple in any of our tours inside the city if you are interested in visiting this beautiful Inca and Colonial site, it is already included in Our City Tour Cusco

What is the weather like in the Coricancha?

Generally the climate in Cusco is severe and quite hard but without going to extremes, the average annual temperature reaches 12°, sometimes rising to 18° in the mornings, and falling to 6° at night.

The ideal season for a visit to Cusco is between June and October, since at that time the sun shines almost permanently and although the days can, it is not at all uncomfortable. At night, temperatures drop to approximately 10 degrees Celsius, but the advantage is that there are no heavy rains, which is the case during the rainy season from December to April.

Peru's royal pedigree: direct descendants trace roots to Incan emperor and kin

Alfredo Inca Roca, 69, claims to have the documentation to prove his royal bloodline, in the form of a parchment signed in 1545 by the Holy Roman emperor Carlos V. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

Alfredo Inca Roca, 69, claims to have the documentation to prove his royal bloodline, in the form of a parchment signed in 1545 by the Holy Roman emperor Carlos V. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

Last modified on Tue 28 Nov 2017 12.36 GMT

When the last Inca emperor, Atahualpa, was executed by Francisco Pizarro in 1533, the conquistadores moved quickly to obliterate all traces of what had been the largest empire of its time.

Temples were sacked and stripped of gold on holy days, Inca nobles were forced to parade Christian saints instead of the mummies of their ancestors the engineering skills behind Machu Picchu and a 25,000-mile network of roads stretching from Colombia to Argentina were forgotten.

And in this new society that oppressed all of Peru’s indigenous population, the names of noble families – the “children of the sun” who had once lived as demigods – were gradually erased from history.

An 1807 painting of the submission of the last Inca emperor to the Spanish embassy of Francisco Pizarro, led by Hernando de Soto. Photograph: Ipsumpix/Corbis via Getty Images

But new research in genetics and historical records is tracing noble Inca bloodlines to the direct descendants of Atahualpa and his kin – often among the most humble families of modern Peru.

The Dutch historian Ronald Elward has been investigating the fate of the Inca nobility since he moved to Peru in 2009. “I discovered it was more common to find a gardener or servant with an Inca surname than a person from a middle- or upper-class background,” he said.

While surnames that indicate direct descent from royal blood – such as Yupanqui, meaning “memorable”, and Pachacutec, meaning “transformer of the Earth” – were proudly preserved in rural areas, indigenous names were looked down upon in urban centres.

Elward pored through tens of thousands of pages of public documents in Cusco, once the centre of the Incan empire, checking all available parish records for the period from 1720 to 1920 as well as the archives of more than 250 public notaries. After identifying 25 royal Inca families, he set about tracking down their descendants.

“The moment I started interviewing people about their life stories, the whole thing became less dusty records and more a social and cultural reality which had been very untouched. That was the main surprise,” he said.

Roberta Huamanrimanchi Tupahuacayllo, with her daughter, is descended from Inca blue blood on her mother’s side. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

One of Elward’s interviewees was Roberta Huamanrimanchi Tupahuacayllo, 40, who inherits Inca blue blood from her mother. A former municipal worker now caring for infant children, Huamanrimanchi described how she was teased at school for her long indigenous surnames.

“I’m very proud of my surname. I’m not ashamed, although people still laugh because it’s difficult to pronounce,” she said.

Perhaps in an unconscious echo of the Inca custom of keeping the mummies of deceased family members, Huamanrimanchi’s 79-year-old father, Mariano, proudly displays the skulls of his mother, sister and brother on the mantelpiece.

Other descendants are far more conscious of their royal pedigree. Alfredo Inca Roca, 69, claims he can trace his lineage back nearly 500 years to 1560, 17 years after the first Spanish people arrived in Cusco in 1543.

The urbane lawyer also claims to have the documentation to prove it, in the form of a parchment signed in 1545 by the Holy Roman emperor Carlos V, who was also the king of Spain. The missive grants his ancestor “Inga Roca” corresponding royal status and gives him a coat of arms which replaces the lions of the old world with South American jaguars.

“He used this nice phrase [to the conquistadores]: I don’t send you to kill kings but to serve kings,” Inca Roca said. “But it did not do much to alter the behaviour of the Spanish viceroyalty, which subjugated my ancestors.”

Inca pride is infectious in San Sebastian, where schoolchildren are now encouraged to learn their once-denigrated Quechua mother tongue.

Mariano Huamanrimanchi, 79, shows a relative’s skull that he keeps at home out of respect for his ancestors. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

The Peruvian geneticist Ricardo Fujita has drawn on Elward’s work to establish a DNA correlation between two groups numbering around 35 people who claim patrilineal descent from Huayna Capac, father to the executed Atahualpa.

The absence of any Inca mummies, which were destroyed by the Spanish, means DNA comparisons can be made only between those who claim they are descendants .

But backed by the National Geographic’s Genographic Project, the investigation has found genetic links between supposed Inca descendants and indigenous populations near Lake Titicaca, appearing to corroborate the myth that the sun-worshipping conquerors originated there.

“The official history of Peru [begins] when the Europeans arrive here in 1532 but before that we have 1,400 years of history,” said Fujita, head of genetics and molecular biology at Lima’s San Martin de Porres University.

“That history is not recorded in writing – but it is recorded in our DNA: we are reconstructing the history of the people that don’t have history.”

Cusco’s Temple of Coricancha: The spiritual center of the Inca Empire

Located on Ave. El Sol, just a few blocks from the main square In historic downtown Cusco , lies the most impressive temple built by the ancient Incas.
The Coricancha, or Temple of the Sun, (also spelled Q’oricancha in quechua, or with a “K”) was the Empire’s most important center of the Andean religion , where Inca kings and priests held devout ceremonies to venerate and exalt their principal sacred deity, the Sun god.
Nearby temples were dedicated to Quilla, the moon goddess and to the creator god Viracocha, and fountains and gardens once graced the site.

Marvellous architecture

This Inca temple is a magnificent structure. Outside, the massive Inca walls are topped by the large church of Santo Domingo, built directly on top of the Temple by the Spaniards, creating an odd combination of architectural styles. Approaching from Ave. El Sol, what immediately catches one’s eye is a huge perfectly curved wall, made of black carved stones, some 40 or 50 feet tall.

The perfect curvature and tight fit of each stone in the wall is splendidly intriguing. Standing beside it and looking up one has to wonder – how was this wall possibly built by ancient people without modern tools?

Inside the Temple the architecture is no less amazing. After entering through the doors of the church, you pass into a large courtyard surrounded by many large chambers build of the largest and most perfect stones of any Inca construction yet found.

The windows are trapezoidal in shape. The high, thick walls, made of calcite and andesite stone, are slightly tapered- wider at the floor, narrower at the top, to providing such stability that no earthquake has ever shaken them.

Why was it built?

How was this wonder of the ancient world built, and why? The legend tells that young Pachacutec, before becoming the greatest Inca king, was visiting a spring called Susurpuquiu, several leagues from Cusco, where he saw a crystal tablet fall into the waters.
As he was seeing visions of snakes and Indians in the tablet, it spoke to him, saying it was the Sun and predicting his great future reign. Pachacutec took the tablet and used it to envision what he wanted to create. His visions included the magnificently rich temple of Coricancha, which he had built during his long and successful reign.
Following its construction, the Coricancha was open only to the Kings and high priests, and to the temple virgins, or mamacuna. It was the center of important religious celebrations, the holiest place in the Inca Empire. The chronicles tell that both the outside and inside walls of the Coricancha were lined with huge sheets of gold. To the Incas, gold, rather than being valuable wealth or currency, itself spiritually represented the Sun god.

Watch the video: Кориканча. Золотой храм. Перу.


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