Church of San Pedro in Cusco
The church of San Pedro is one of the most famous religious temples in Cusco. It is located in the square of the same name, in front of the oldest and most touristic food market in the city. The temple was built in 1688 in the space that used to be the natural hospital. It is made in an Andean baroque style. Inside there are canvases and sculptures with religious themes. Its huge three-section altarpiece made of gold leaf stands out.
All about the Church of San Pedro de Cusco
The church of San Pedro de Cusco has a long history that began with its construction in 1688 on the natural hospital. The 1650 earthquake caused a lot of damage to the infrastructure which would cause its remodeling and current shape. Like many religious temples in the city, it was built following the Baroque tradition. Its main nave is shaped like a Latin cross. Its canvases, sculptures and the main altarpiece stand out, which is covered with gold leaf and shows the effigies of various saints and virgins. In the central part of this altar, the image of the Virgen de la Candelaria stands out.
The church is located on Calle Cascaparo s / n, in the Historic Center of the city of Cusco (right in front of the San Pedro market and the square of the same name).
How to get there?
The church of San Pedro is located a few meters from the Main Square of Cusco. Although it is possible to take a taxi from any part of the city, most tourists arrive on foot (approximately 10 minutes on foot). In front of the church is the famous San Pedro food market. On one side, the Peru Rail train station to Machu Picchu.
The 1650 earthquake caused great damage in the city of Cusco. Because the aftershocks did not stop and the fear of the population grew, some people decided to carry the image of a dark Christ brought from Spain. Then the tremors stopped and the image was baptized as the “Señor de los Temblores” or “Taitacha de los Temblores”, in the Quechua language. He is currently considered the “Jury Patron of Cusco”. His image rests in the Cathedral of the city.
During the colony, the area occupied by the church of San Pedro was a hospital, which was founded in 1556 to serve the indigenous population of Cusco. As was the custom in the Spaniards, these must have a chapel. Thus, one was built in 1572 thanks to the support of Viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza. In 1650, a strong earthquake shook the city causing the collapse of several buildings including the hospital for natives and the chapel inside.
In 1688 construction work began on the church of San Pedro thanks to the initiative of the Bishop of Cusco Manuel de Mollinedo. The works were in charge of the Cusco architect and sculptor Juan Tomás Tuyro Túpac. For this, stones were needed from the Picchu hill, near the city and which was an Inca construction. In 1950 the church suffered some damage from an earthquake. Currently, it is one of the most famous temples. It is located near the San Pedro market.
The church is made up of a three-section imafron as well as two side towers with Doric bell towers. The façade is decorated with niches and Corinthian columns. In the central part a cross in relief stands out. The main nave is in the shape of a Latin cross. To support its vaulted ceiling there are four arches at the base of which eight chapels were built with different figures of saints and virgins. The whole complex has a solid structure 68 meters long and 33 meters wide. It is made mainly of stone in an Andean baroque style, similar to the other Christian temples in the city made during the colony.
Inside the church
- Main altarpiece – The main altarpiece is made up of three bodies covered in gold leaf where you can see various images and sculptures of saints and virgins of Christianity. In the central part the image of the Virgen de la Candelaria stands out. The decoration of the altar is made up of a large group of carvings with religious themes. In addition to the main altarpiece, there are up to ten side altarpieces, also covered in gold leaf. The walnut colored pulpit features the effigies of Saint Paul and Saint Peter.
- Paintings and sculptures – The church boasts several pieces of art, including sculptures and paintings, from the Cusco school of art, which developed during the colony. The canvases that portray Bishop Mollinedo, benefactor of the temple, the paintings of five apostles by the Cusco artist Marcos Ribera as well as others that represent biblical passages stand out.
Price of admission
The visit to the church of San Pedro is free during mass hours (preferably Saturdays and Sundays from 7 in the morning).
Saturdays and Sundays from 7 to 8 in the morning.
Photos of the church of San Pedro
The church of San Pedro in Cusco is famous for the cult that it renders to the child ‘Manuelito’ (Andean representation of the child Jesus). Many Cusco families have an effigy of this child, who is blessed in the church of San Pedro on December 25 and January 1.
The main image of the church corresponds to the Virgin of Candelaria whose festival, on February 2 of each year, is characterized by typical dances and costumes. The image of the saint is taken on a litter through the streets of Cusco accompanied by dances and comparsas.
The church of San Pedro is located a few steps from some popular places in Cusco, such as: the San Pedro market, the Santa Ana arch, the church and Square of San Francisco. Take advantage of your visit to the church to get to know these other tourist attractions in the city.
In the Historic Center of Cusco, many colonial churches were built, such as the church of San Pedro. Do not miss the opportunity to visit other churches such as: the church of the Society of Jesus, the church of Santo Domingo (Coricancha), the temple of San Blas or the famous Cathedral of Cusco.