The cathedral of Cusco, built in the 17th century, forms a part of a three church complex; the cathedral itself, Iglesia Jesus Maria and el Triunfo.
The cathedral itself was built on the site of the palace of Inca Wiracocha. Stones from Sacsayhuaman was used on its construction after the architect, Juan Miguel de meramendi, ordered the destruction of the Inca fortress. Although Spanish constructers supervised its construction, it took nearly 100 years to be built.
Considered the first Christian church in Cusco, its name comes from the Spanish victory over an indigenous rebellion in 1536. Spaniards claimed to have witnessed two miracles in their hour of need. They were visited by the virgin of descent who led to the Spanish victory. It was not only the triumph of the Spaniards over the Incas, but also of the catholic faith over the indigenous religion.
Iglesia Jesus y Maria
Located on the left side of the Cathedral, la iglesia de Jesus y Maria shows colorful murals which have been partially restored and also a renovated gilded main altar.
La compañia de Jesus
On the southeast side of the Plaza is the beautiful church of la Compañia de Jesus; built on the site of the palace of the Serpents in the 17th century. First it was given to Pizarro after the Conquest then it was bought by the family who eventually donated it to the Jesuits after their arrival in 1751. During the earthquake of 1650, the church was destroyed. The present church took 17 years to construct and it was inaugurated in 1668.
It was originally built in 1534 by the religious order of the Mercedarians. The church was razed in 1560 erthquake in rebuilt in the 17th century. Inside the church are buried Gonzalo Pizarro and the two Almagros, father and son.
Attached is a very fina monastery. The first cloister is the most beautiful with its two floors archways and pillars. It also includes the priceless monstrance, decorated with thousands of precious stones.
It's an austere church reflecting many indigenous influences, but it has a wonderful monastery, cloister and choir. The cloister is the oldest in the city, built in the renaissance style, but with diverse influences. The ground floor has several crypts containing human bones. Some of the bones have been used to write phrases reminding visitors of their mortality. On one of the stairways the largest painting in South America can be seen (12 high 9 m wide).