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Location: Intersection of El Sol Avenue and Santo Domingo Street. Visiting Hours: Monday-Saturday from 8:00 to 17:00)

It was one of the most worshiped and respected temples of the city. "The gold precinct", as it was known, was a sacred place where people venerated the maximum Incan god: the INTI. For that reason, people could only get there fasting, barefooted and with some load on their backs as a sign of humility, in compliance with the indications of the main priest "Wilaq Umuo". According to the history, when the Spaniards broke into the temple, they did not respect any of the aforementioned rules.

 
 
Attractions Introduction
- Cusco Main
  Square

- Archiepiscopal
  Palace

- San Blas District
- Regocijo or
  Cabildo Square

- Acllawasi
- Hatun Rumiyoc -
  Inca Roca's
  Palace

- Koricancha
Other Attractions
Description
The front had a beautiful wall originating from the finest ashlars, simply decorated with a continuous gold band that was one palm high and was situated three meters from the floor, and a ceiling made of fine straw that was delicately cut.

One of the blocks of the second course has three holes that could have been used to evacuate the rain water of the inner yard, or as a leak for the chicha of the offerings. According to the experiments of Augusto León Barandiarán, if you knock inside the holes you will be able to hear the musical notes re, la and mi.

The stones that make up the temple have a slight boss in both sides, which show the sober aesthetics of the Incas. Formerly, the triangular atrium used as an entrance to the colonial temple did not exist and the wall rotated in right angle in the direction of Ahuacpinta, a street that still keeps a section of the original wall, which is almost sixty meters long.

In the opposite side of this street, the wall forms a curve rotating more than 90 degrees and it continues with a soft curve that was cut during the construction of the temple. The Coricancha wall crowned a system of cultivation terraces that descended to the river.


Constitution of the Coricancha
The base of the Incan constitution, for the construction of the temple, was an open space. The first one, which was next to Intipampa, comprised the main buildings to worship the Sun and other gods of the Incan pantheon, whereas the shed located in front of that square was used to venerate Punchao (a representation of the Sun that consisted of a pure-gold statue that was as high as a ten-year old kid), which remained there during the day and in the night was taken to the square to be worshiped; the idol "slept" accompanied by many ñustas in a close shed, outside the ground, and then it was returned to its original place in the morning.

According to Juan Diez de Betanzos, the chronicler biographer of the Inca Pachacutec, who "…measured with the cord and designed the house of the Sun", at least two squares were constructed at the bottom of the plot, one behind the other, and maybe they also constructed other squares that were much smaller and had service functions, which had disappeared.

It is worth highlighting that at the western side of the main square there were two medium buildings with hip roofs and, at the western side, there are two smaller buildings with the same roof type. The stone carving of these buildings or, the remains of them after the construction of the colonial convent, the earthquakes and reconstructions, is still very fine.


The "rooms"
The rooms (called "aposentos" by Garcilaso) were destined to the meetings of the religious hierarchy and they were also the places in where the Wilaq Umo or main priest was attended. At the bottom of the yard we could find the main room, of which there are only some remains currently.

Some investigations about this place state that it as a wide space with two bays made up by a central wall that supported the ridge. They were composed of six arranged in the central yard, always isolated and free from dividing walls. The gable ends or crests were made of adobe, just like in all the Incan buildings, and the roofing was carried out with wood structures and straw covers.


The garden
The famous garden inside the Coricancha was "hand-watered with the water brought on the backs" of the acllas and decorated three times during the year with corn cobs and gold fruits that the ñustas themselves placed during the periods of sowing, harvesting or when young men became warriors in the Huarachicuy festivity.

The temple for gods and granting geographic spaces a sacred character

As we mentioned before, not only they worshiped the Sun inside the temple, but also other gods such as the Moon and Venus. According to the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the medium place located at the northwest side of the temple was dedicated to worship the Moon, and the next one was devoted to Venus, the Pleiades and other constellations. On the other side of the yard, in two smaller precincts, people worshiped the lightning, Illapa, and the rainbow, Cuichu.

On the façade there was an altar, which supported the gold sheet that reflected the sun at dawn. Nowadays, it has been partially destroyed by colonial works that were reconstructed later on.

Coricancha not only housed the main gods of the Incan pantheon, but it also had a magical-religious projection arranged in order to grant the Tawantinsuyo geography a sacred character. Therefore, the centre of the main square, Inticancha, constitutes the departure point for the ceques, which are the virtual lines that communicated the temple with the spirits that lived in the mountains (Apus), before whom, even the powerful Incas inclined their heads. They were also linked to the summits, creeks, springs, rocky peaks, astronomic indicators and the main points of Cusco's landscape. Up to now, we know 327 ceques, 21 of which were located on the perimetric wall of the temple or on the fronts of close streets.

A large number of Indian tombs, which also served to get in contact with the Apus, were placed on the ceques, which could reach a 20-meter extension, with a meticulous accuracy regarding the alignment.


How to get there
If you want to visit this place after having discovered the marvels of the Sacred Temple of Coricancha, follow our recommendations and enjoy an environment of sacred mysticism.

You can get to the temple from the Main Square through Callejón de Loreto "Intiqhicllu", cross Maruri Street and after Pucamarca turn to the left so as to go forward through Pampa del Castillo. In this place, there were no edifications during the Incan time, instead of that, there was a series of cultivation terraces that descended to the river and it was a farm called Mancochuqui, dedicated to Huanacauri, the main tomb of the Incas.

The route leads to an enlarged square in where the church of Santo Domingo is located. This space was Intipampa, the Sun square or plain, which used to be twelve meters wider until the constructors of the colonial church decided to reduce it so as to construct their building.



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