All about the Church and convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco
The church and convent of Santo Domingo is a colonial construction of Cusco. It was built in 1538 under the orders of the Dominican order. It is located on the foundations of the famous Coricancha temple, the most important of the Inca empire. It has a baroque structure that uses the strong stone walls of the Inca temple. Inside, its main altarpiece stands out as well as its collection of paintings made by artists from the 'Cusco school of painting' (16th and 17th centuries).
Where is it?
The church and convent of Santo Domingo is located 700 meters from the Main Square in the city of Cusco.
How to get?
The best option to get to the church and convent of Santo Domingo is to go on foot. From the Main Square of Cusco you only follow El Sol avenue for a few blocks until you reach the Coricancha. The entrance to the church is through Ahuacpinta 659 avenue.
The church and convent of Santo Domingo suffered several earthquakes, the strongest being the earthquakes of 1650 and 1950. Many structures of the church were damaged and had to be rebuilt. The Inca walls and buildings of the Coricancha, on the other hand, remained unscathed. This is due to the resistance of its stones and the perfection with which they were built. In addition, the Inca walls have a slight inclination to better resist earthquakes.
Map to get to the Church and convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco
The church and convent of Santo Domingo are integrated with the Inca building of the Coricancha, forming a single building full of beauty and history. The architecture of the church presents a baroque style, typical of the colonial era in Peru. It has three naves, the main one in the shape of a cross. The façade presents Plateresque characteristics. The towers have a simple structure but the bell tower stands out for its eight arches separated by 28 Solomonic columns.
The main altar is one of the most important attractions of the church. It is clad in silver and adorned with up to 23 canvases around images of saints and virgins where the effigy of Santo Domingo de Guzmán stands out in the central part. The images of San Alberto Magno, Santo Tomás de Aquino, the Virgin of the Rosary and others also stand out. The interior does not have altarpieces. The naves are decorated with a set of canvases from the 'Cusco school of painting'. The works 'Life of San Vicente Ferrer' by Marcos Zapata stand out.
Santo Domingo Convent
The convent used a large part of the walls and structures of the Coricancha to build its cloisters, patios, pools, balconies and windows. Around its square stands out a set of semicircular arches. Currently through its corridors some of the most famous paintings and treasures of the place are exposed. Outside the entire construction there is a huge garden full of flowers, trees and Inca walls.
The entrance ticket to the Coricancha as well as to the church and convent of Santo Domingo has a cost of 15 Peruvian soles (about 5 US dollars, approximately).
Admission to the church is free during mass hours, which are generally Saturdays and Sundays at 7 in the morning and at 7 at night.
The Coricancha (church and convent of Santo Domingo) is open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 9 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon. On Sundays, visiting hours are from 9 in the morning until noon.
Photos of the church and convent of Santo Domingo
On the outside of the church and convent of Santo Domingo (following El Sol avenue) is the 'Qoricancha Site Museum', which exhibits some Inca objects found in the Inca temple as well as some samples of textiles, artifacts, tools and bone remains.
The Coricancha was the most important religious temple in the entire empire of the Incas. Many tourists prefer to visit it through the half-day 'City tour Cusco', which also includes a visit to the Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay and Pucapucara.
The Spanish built their main churches on ancient Inca temples and palaces. As well as the church and convent of Santo Domingo (on the ruins of the Coricancha), the church of San Blas (on the temple of the god lightning), the archiepiscopal palace (on the Inca rock palace) and others stand out.
During your visit to the Santo Domingo church, keep in mind that taking photographs is prohibited. This because the sacred character of the religious temple is disturbed. Inside the convent, however, you can take pictures.
The religious order of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in Cusco usually organizes cultural events such as recitals, concerts, as well as painting and sculpture exhibitions. Admission to these events is free.
If you are visiting on your own, you can hire the services of a tour guide at the entrance of the church. These people are prepared to give you all the pertinent information about the Coricancha as well as the church and convent of Santo Domingo.