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The Amazing New Adventures of Larry and Mark - Peru, Land of the Incas
Back in Cusco: Qoricancha
We are back in Cusco after our late afternoon at Saqsaywaman.
We are in time for one more visit - the Museum of the Site of the Qoricancha.
Called "Temple of the Sun" by the Spaniards, the actual translation is
"Golden Enclosure," a name that comes from the fact that the walls and floors of
the Inca temple were covered in sheets of pure gold.
The Qoricancha (or Coricancha) was by all measures the most
sacred site in all of the Inca culture. The Inca empire radiated out in four
quarters from this complex.
These gardens were once filled with llamas, and maize (corn) stalks, made
totally out of gold. When the Spaniards first invaded this region, the gold in the
garden at the Coricancha was some of the first to be looted. Spanish reports stated
that was 'fabulous beyond belief'. Later, much of the gold which was collected by the
Inca to ransom their king Atahualpa in 1533 came from this site. Unfortunately, Atahualpa
was never released, but was killed by the Spanish captors. More on history later........
This model is a representation of how the walls and fields looked
during the time of the Incas.
When the Spaniards came to Cusco, they destroyed much of the old
Inca buildings, but, recognizing strong construction, built many of their
own structures on the base of Inca stone.
Here we see the Church of Santo Domingo which was
built on the Coricancha's understructure. The gold was removed, and
nearly all interior structure was covered with walls of more
The major earthquake in 1950, much of the colonial building collapsed, exposing a lot
of the original Inca construction, and since then, great effort has been put into
restoring all internal Inca structures. Stone construction in the most holy sites, and
for the nobility, had the finest stone work. Below shows the unbelievable attention to
detail that the builders put into this work, with a small chink in the stone precisely fitted
with a "stone inlay" - as spoken by me, a dentist.
Inside the arched walls of the Spanish monastery can be found the walls of
the Coricancha. Typically, walls are angled, and the entrances and the wall
niches are tapered. It is thought that walls were built like this to better
withstand the frequent earthquake forces. Many times, the Inca construction
survived quakes which badly destroyed the Spanish architecture built around it.
Many pieces of unused stones were found at this site. Cusco was the center of the
culture we call the "Inca" but truly only the king was "inka." The country was
Tawantinsuyo (more on this later.)
It is believed that many times, gold rings were constructed which fitted into
the loops, holes and grooves cut into stone to stabilize construction. Remember -
gold was appreciated by the Inca for its beauty and its workability, not its value.
This is part of a wall mural (modern) by Cusco artist Miguel Cartagena with its explanation.
This is a replica of what was a gold late Inca - early Spanish colonial wall mural.
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