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“Face to face with Andean syncretism”

The Company of Jesus Church
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Sacsayhuaman and Temple of the Sun Tour from Cusco
Ranked #21 of 171 things to do in Cusco
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Face to face with Andean syncretism”
Reviewed 4 June 2014

Although the collision between indigenous Andean beliefs and the Catholic church can be seen in every Christian site in and around Cusco, we happened to visit the Jesuit church at a time of year when it was particularly evident. Front left of the main altar, flanking a small statue of a mountain-shaped Virgin Mary, were two ukukus; according to Quechua mythology, the ukuku is the half-and-half offspring of a liaison between a woman and a bear. Not exactly your standard Vatican-sanctioned version of Catholicism as seen in Europe. It's well worth paying out the 15 or 20 soles (£3-4) over and above the minimal entrance fee for a 20 minute guided tour from one of the freelancers waiting inside the entrance, as the church itself has little to nothing in the way of explanatory text for the tourist. Ours claimed that the reason figures of Christ in the Cusco region tend to have downcast faces rather than looking to the heavens is because during Incan times, no-one was allowed to look the Inca in the eye - an interesting though not entirely convincing theory as this kind of depiction is not really unique to the area. On the right as you walk in is the side-chapel - now part of a school - that once served as a holding cell for Tupac Amaru II immediately prior to his gruesome dismemberment in the Plaza de Armas. There's a hugely impressive and intricately carved altar in gold leaf, and the sacristy to the left of the altar has some interesting paintings. One of the most surprising aspects is the wide mix of decorative and architectural styles employed, ranging from quite simplistic to highly complex baroque work. Near the main entrance, a very narrow entrance leads to an equally narrow, and steep, staircase leading towards the bell tower. You can't reach the tower itself, but half-way up an opening onto the Plaza de Armas provides an excellent view of the square and the nearby Cathedral.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank -00simon00-
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
266 reviews
157 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“beautiful baroque sample”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

This was the only church I had the chance to visit. Worth paying 5 soles. From the 2nd floor you get very nice views of the square outside and the landscape. The altarpiece is really beautiful in gold leaf.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank MARIA C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
Level Contributor
913 reviews
478 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 575 helpful votes
“Come to climb up to the balconies on the 2nd floor”
Reviewed 17 April 2014

If you visited the main cathedral, this church is not much different. The one feature worth the admission is the ability to climb to the 2nd floor and take photos of the plaza from there. The perspective is well worth it.

Visited April 2014
Thank Brooklynite_Abroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
767 reviews
455 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 311 helpful votes
“Excellent Church with a View of Plaza de Armas”
Reviewed 16 March 2014

This is an interesting church to visit. An example of colonial baroque architecture, the church has a huge cedar altar covered in gold leaf, and a number of side altars depicting various saints. No photography is allowed in the church. However, there is a narrow staircase at the rear of the church which you can use to climb 30-40 meters to an area where you overlook Plaza de Armas and can take good pictures of the plaza from a higher vantage point.

Visited January 2014
2 Thank RodMcLeod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pikesville, Maryland
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great colonial church”
Reviewed 10 October 2013

This is another majestic church. Clearly colonial but it sets where Pachacutec's palace used to be. Inka walls can still be seeing surrounding the church. Beautiful decor gilded with pure gold (pan de oro) and silver.

Visited June 2013
Thank tania2160
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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