Cusco – Perú

The Qorikancha (in Quechua: Quri Kancha, 'golden temple'), originally Inti Kancha ("Temple of the Sun") is the Inca temple on which the Santo Domingo Convent was built.

Current ruins of the temple of the Sun or Qorikancha, preserved inside the temple of Santo Domingo.

Of the innumerable monuments that Cusco -the Millenary City of the Incas- contains, none has awakened as much interest as the TEMPLE OF THE SUN or QORIKANCHA, the main Inca Sanctuary, whose magnitude and layout, today we try to unravel. This monumental temple was destroyed and looted by the Spanish conquerors. In its place, the fathers of the Order of Preachers decided to build the current Church and Convent of Santo Domingo.

The enigmas to be deciphered are many, in spite of so many studies carried out after the reports collected by the chroniclers. We think that this is due to the fact that almost all the attempts to really explain the mysteries of the Temple of the Sun were more literary than systematic archaeological research.

Von der einstigen Pracht sind nur noch einige Innenräume erhalten, die vom heutigen christlichen Kloster Santo Domingo eingenommen werden, sowie eine sanft geschwungene Außenmauer, die mit zwei Brunnen aus der Killke- und Inkazeit verbunden ist, ein Werk perfekter Ingenieurskunst, das es uns erlaubt, uns vorzustellen, wie dieser sakrale Bau, der die Chronisten so beeindruckte, aussah.

Its internal walls, fitted and molded with millimetric precision, are even more surprising when it is known that during the Inca Empire they were not bare, but that all the walls of the temple, according to the chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega at the end of the 16th century, "were covered from top to bottom with plates and planks of gold".

Ruins of the Temple of the Sun or QoriKancha, night view.


Almost all the peoples of the world, at all times, built large squares in front of their temples. Intipanpa or Intipampa (name that translates as Plain of the Sun) is the place where the nobles, their courts, service personnel, dancers, etc. stayed when the Inca and the nobility moved to the Temple of the Sun during festivities. This place currently corresponds to the Plaza de Santo Domingo, apparently its limits and extension have not suffered almost no variation. It is the North of what was the Qorikancha.


It became the great deposit of offerings that all the subjugated and confederate nations brought to the Sun God, the offerings consisted of representations of flora and fauna of the Tahuantinsuyo. According to some historians, these offerings made in gold and silver were of natural size and were so many that they filled the terraces in such a surprising way and in such numbers that the Spaniards called it The Solar Garden. In colonial times it became an orchard of the Dominican friars. It is located in the western part of the Qorikancha, it can be seen from the Sun Avenue in all its extension.


There were 5 water fountains, the origins of the water in the fountains was a guarded secret. The fountains had religious significance and were decorated with precious metals. They were located throughout the extension of the Qorikancha, currently we can see a fountain with octagonal corners in the courtyard of the Qorikancha.

Ruins of the Temple of the Sun or Qorikancha, day view

If you wish to visit this beautiful temple, there are several events you can attend:


The Convent of Santo Domingo - Qorikancha has two temporary exhibition halls and receives between fifteen and twenty-five contemporary art exhibitions each year. Local, Peruvian and foreign artists present their work here. The exhibitions change every month. The annual program of exhibitions is formed on the basis of an open competition of artistic projects. Admission to the inaugurations of the art exhibitions is free for the public.


El Convento de Santo Domingo – Qorikancha es uno de los principales centros culturales de la ciudad del Cusco. Además de las exposiciones temporales, en sus espacios se organizan conciertos, charlas, proyecciones audiovisuales, presentaciones de libros, funciones teatrales, festivales y encuentros artísticos. El convento dispone de un moderno auditorio, acondicionado especialmente para conferencias, charlas y proyecciones audiovisuales. Los conciertos de música clásica, sacra y tradicional se realizan en el Templo de Santo Domingo. El ingreso a todos los eventos organizados por el convento es gratuito para todo el público.


The convent holds two annual plastic arts contests. The main contest, with two acquisition prizes, summons diverse techniques and artistic genres. It is held in August and is dedicated to the day of the Patron Saint of the Order of Preachers, Saint Dominic of Guzman. The theme of this contest varies each year. The second contest is organized at Christmas and has two categories: 'Toy as art object' and 'Imagery as contemporary art'. This approach is inspired by the traditional fair, called Santurantikuy, which is held in Cusco's Plaza de Armas every year on Christmas Eve, where religious images are sold to make nativity scenes and toys for Christmas gifts.

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