Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun)
- Type: Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
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For a glimpse of the Inca's former grandeur, look no further than Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun), also known as "Court of Gold." In its heyday, Inca's elite watched as light bounced from 700 gold-plated walls and danced across the temple's altars and statues. And its splendor stretched from its glimmering exterior walls into its regal confines, where approximately 4,000 of the most prestigious priests and their attendants resided.
With gold gleaming from nearly every surface of the compound, it's easy to see why the Spanish were enamored with Qorikancha's riches. After the conquistadors invaded Cusco in 1533—and looted all its gold—only the Inca's elaborate masonry remained. Utilizing the Inca's masterful work as their foundation, the Spaniards began building their own churches and monuments, creating a rich blend of Andean and Spanish architecture. "Few places in Cusco illustrate the cultural clash/exchange between the Incas and the Spanish better than [Qorikancha]. You'll be impressed by the amazing stonework of the Incan architects," explains one TripAdvisor user.
You'll find Qorikancha located at Plazoleta Santo Domingo, which sits just south of Plaza de Armas. Admission costs 10 PEN (about $3.75 USD). Visitors are welcome to visit the temple from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.