Inka Museum of Cusco
The Inca museum of Cusco is one of the best cultural centers of the imperial city. Provides an excellent insight into Inca culture. It has ceramics, textiles, tools and even human skulls dating from Tahuantinsuyo. The museum is located a few steps from the main square. The cost of the visit is 10 Peruvian soles (3 US dollars). The National University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC) is in charge of the place.
All about the Inka Museum of Cusco
The Inca museum of Cusco is located inside a colonial house called ‘Casa del Almirante’ as it was built for Admiral Alderete Maldonado in the 17th century (previously it was the palace of the Inca Huáscar). It is in charge of the National University of San Antonio Abad (UNSAAC), which makes available to the public a significant collection of ceramics (where a collection of queros or ceremonial vessels stands out), textiles, tools and more.
The different rooms that make up the museum include Inca history as well as the most important civilizations of ancient Peru in chronological order such as: the Chavín culture (1,200 – 400 BC), Marcavalle (1,000 – 700 BC), Nazca (100 – 800 AD) , Wari (600 – 1,200 AD), until Inca times (1230 – 1535 AD). The exhibition also includes didactic representations on subsistence techniques, caring for the environment and the recreation of a life-size Inca tomb.
The museum is located on ‘Cuesta del Almirante’ Street No. 103 in the historic center of Cusco (just a few steps from the main square of the city).
The city of Cusco has the best museums that expose Inca history and culture. In addition to the Inca museum, the Casa Concha museum stands out, also located a few steps from the main square. This museum exhibits a collection of objects found in the excavations at Machu Picchu. You can also visit the Coricancha site museum, where there are some Inca objects belonging to this temple, the most important in Tahuantinsuyo.
How to get?
To get to the Inka museum of Cusco, you only have to ascend the street ‘Cuesta del almirante’, located next to the Cathedral. After about 4 minutes of walking, you will reach the square. Right in front is the museum.
Map to get to the Inka Museum of Cusco
The museum is located inside the colonial palace known as ‘The Admiral’s House’, which was built following the mannerist trend in the late 16th century. The palace consists of a courtyard with semicircular arches, a court, and several rooms decorated with coffered ceilings and walls.
The facade of the building is simple. Only the façade stands out for its ornamentation with mullioned windows, columns on pedestals and Corinthian capitals. The main door is decorated with circular and square rosettes. The complex also has interior gardens and a colonial pool in the courtyard. It is one of the most beautiful houses in Cusco.
Pre-Inca cultures – This room presents a collection of objects and museographic material belonging to pre-Inca cultures, from the first vicuña hunters to important civilizations such as the Wari, through cultures such as Chavín, Nazca, Chancay, Mochica, Chimú and Paracas. A sample of mochica ceramics and Paracas textile art stand out.
Pre-Inca human settlements – This section shows some ceramics, tools and utensils belonging to the pre-Inca human groups that settled in the Cusco region, such as: the Marcavalle, Chanapata, Qotakalli and others. These small human settlements joined the Incas around the 13th century.
Environment – This room exhibits through dioramas the characteristics of the natural regions in Cusco, such as the yunga (high jungle area where tropical forests abound), the Quechua (temperate region of the Andes mountain range, characterized by mountains and rivers), the puna (high mountain plateau region where camelids and lagoons abound). Likewise, this section explores the importance of the environment in the conception of the Incas.
Inca origins – This room exhibits artifacts and interactive panels that explain the origin of the Incas, both the historical and mythological versions. The myths of the ‘Ayar Brothers’ as well as that of Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo stand out. This room also highlights the collection of ceramics and utensils belonging to the first years of the Inca curacazgo.
Inca continuity – This exhibition called ‘Los Incas del Qosqo’ exhibits a collection of ceramics, textiles, tools and utensils belonging to the Inca empire, such as the collection of queros (ceremonial vessels). There is also a graphic display of drawings by the chronicler Guamán Poma de Ayala, where historical moments of the Inca Empire are represented.
Invasion – This room shows the process of invasion and destruction of the Inca empire by the Spanish invaders during the 16th century. The collection of furniture of colonial origin stands out, which was established in Cusco with its new religion and customs. It also includes portraits, miniatures, sculptures, and information boards.
Mallki wasi – This room, one of the most striking in the museum, exhibits a life-size Inca tomb, where the mummified body is appreciated along with its personal belongings such as: ceramics, textiles and more. The room allows to understand some of the religious beliefs and practices of the Incas.
The Inca museum of Cusco also has a space where temporary exhibitions of mystical music are held, carved in stone, a center for textiles, burnt mattes, ceramics and local fabrics. The exhibitions are organized mainly by Cusco artists. Therefore, they are a great opportunity to show your art.
- Foreigners: 10 Peruvian soles (3 US dollars, approximately).
- Peruvians: 5 Peruvian soles (1.5 US dollars, approximately).
Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday, from 8 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.
Photos of the inka museum of Cusco
The Inca museum of Cusco has one of the best collections of Inca museum objects. Includes: mummies, ceramics, textiles, silver, gold and more. The entrance to this cultural site is not included in the Cusco Tourist Ticket (access ticket to various spaces and archaeological sites in the city).
The admiral’s house (colonial house where the Inca museum is located) was the residence of several personalities throughout the colonial and republican history of Peru. They stand out: the viceroy José de la Serna or Andrés de Santa Cruz (protector of the Peru – Bolivia confederation). In Inca times, on the site was the palace of the Inca Huáscar.
Some tips for the visit
To make an educational visit to the Inca museum in Cusco, it is best to hire the services of a tour guide. These are at the door of the museum offering their services. The average cost of a tour is 15 Peruvian soles per person (5 US dollars, approximately).
Taking photographs is prohibited inside the museum. Nor can you touch the museographic objects, which are protected by showcases or separation lines. They are objects of incalculable historical value.