Friday, October 16, 2015

Qoricancha Cusco

Qoricancha and Santo Domingo Church
One Inca ruin we had to see after experiencing Sacsayhuamán was Qoricancha. The most important temple complex in the center of ancient Inca Cusco. There is even today, a street called Pumacurco that ran between the two. Pumacurco was known as the Path of knowledge.

Qoricancha in 1936
The ninth Inca emperor, Panchacuti Inca Yupanqui (1438–1471) rebuilt Cusco and the Temple of the Sun, enriching it with more oracles and edifices, and adding plates of heavy gold to the walls. He took the bodies of the seven deceased Incas before him, and enriched them with masks, head-dresses, medals and bracelets of gold, placing them on a golden bench for veneration at Qoricancha.

Digital View of Qoricancha Gold ledge
Qoriconcha’s adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues and a complete golden garden with gold corn and llamas. Spanish reports tell of its beauty and richness and that it was “fabulous beyond belief”. When the Spanish required the Inca to raise a ransom in gold for the life of their kidnapped leader Atahualpa, most of the gold was collected from Qoricancha. After the Inca paid the ransom, the Spanish killed Atahualpa anyway.

Qoriconcha was the most important Inca Temple of the Sun. It was where the Golden Ledge was, a Border of gold about 33 inches  (83 cm) wide and around 3 inches (7.5 cm) thick. It ran along the top the of the walls of the temple. The Conquistadors were very impressed.

The Spanish later destroyed Qoriconcha and on its foundations built the Church of Santo Domingo. Construction of the church took most  of a century. This is one of many sites where the Spanish incorporated Inca stonework and foundations into the structure of a colonial building. 

Original Inca Walls left within the Spanish Church 
A major earthquake struck Cusco in 1950 and badly destroyed the Dominican Priory and Church of Santo Domingo that were built on top of the Qoricancha complex. The city's Inca architecture survived the earthquake though. The granite walls of the Qoricancha were exposed, as the church was destroyed. While some wanted to restore the church to its colonial splendor, many Cusco citizens urged officials to retain the exposed Inca walls. Eventually they won out and now people from around the world get to enjoy looking at the granite walls, doorways and floors from Qoricancha itself.

Quality Inca Stonework

Don’t miss this site. It’s truly incredible what was uncovered after the 1950 earthquake. This temple site marks the exact center of Inca worship. Hire one of the guides at the door, it’ll really help you understand the site and the absolute perfection in Inca sacred stonework and construction.

Qoricancha is an important historic site to see and experience.

Highly recommended!

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