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Qorikancha – What will you visit in the Cusco City Tour?

Posted on : 15 March 2021

Second: The temple of the Sun god or Qorikancha


Qorikancha, in Quechua, means golden temple. This temple was the center of worship to the sun, and for the Incas, the sun was in fact the main god and creator of everything. It is said that this enclosure was made of gold, and was a sacred place to worship the sun. The facade of the Koricancha was an impressive wall decorated with sheets of pure gold, three meters high, with a roof of fine and delicately cut straw. Its brightness was so spectacular that it could be seen from several kilometers away. Its construction dates from the time of the Ayamarcas. In 1438, the Inca Pachacuteq remodeled the entire city and gave more splendor to the Koricancha.

QorikanchaMany researchers and historians such as John Rowe, affirms that it was the Inca Pachacuteq who finished the construction of the Koricancha. Its splendor was such that its floors and walls, including the garden, had plants and animals in life-size gold. According to several chroniclers, the Koricancha had much sculpture of gods inside: There were representations of the God of the Sun (Inti), represented by a male figure called Punchaocanchiq, and there were statues of the Moon goddess (Mama Quilla) represented by a female figure made of silver.

QorikanchaIn 1533, the Koricancha temple was sadly sacked by the spaniards: they stripped and destroyed the precious metals that decorated it. In the distribution of Cusco, the temple was assigned to Francisco Pizarro. This fabulous Inca temple went through three earthquakes (1650, 1749, and 1950), and it’s a fact that it has not suffered any material damage.