All about the White Christ of Cusco
What is it?
The White Christ is a very popular statue in the city of Cusco due to its location at the top of the city, from where you have a privileged visit of the entire environment. The statue is made of granite, marble and plaster and is approximately 8 meters high. It is only a few meters from the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman so it is very visited by tourists who want to get a panoramic photo of Cuzco.
The White Christ is 5 kilometers on the highway from the Main Square of the city of Cusco. It is also just a few meters from the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman. Geographically it is located on the hill 'Pukamoqo' (red hill), a place that acquires a reddish hue during sunset. It is located 3,575 meters above sea level (11,729 feet).
How to get there?
You can get to White Christ by taking a taxi, which will take the visitor along a route of only 5 kilometers. The cost of this service is approximately 3 or 4 dollars. Another option is to take a public bus service, which travels a distance of 10 kilometers on average. The buses 'Cristo Blanco' and 'Señor del Huerto' that take there have a cost of 1 Peruvian sol (0.3 US dollars).
One option that many tourists prefer is to go to the 'White Christ' on foot. To do this, they must follow an uphill route of a little more than 1 kilometer. The route crosses the San Blas neighborhood until it reaches the road that leads to Sacsayhuaman. This route is a bit difficult due to the effort involved in ascending the streets and stairs.
Map to get to the White Christ of Cusco
The hill 'Pukamoqo' in the time of the Incas was a place of great importance since there they were deposited, in a symbolic way, land of the four 'suyos' or regions of the empire: the collasuyo, the chinchaysuyo, the antisuyo and the contisuyo . During the splendor of the Inca empire, in the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, located just a few meters from the 'Pukamoqo' hill, the Inti Raymi ceremonies were held, which brought together emissaries from all sectors of the empire.
In 1945, as thanks for the good reception for many years, the Palestinian Arab colony of Cusco donated the statue of the White Christ whose work was in charge of the Cusco artist Francisco Olazo. The laying of the first stone was held on the same day as the first Inti Raymi celebration in 1944. Between 1973 and 1974 the work of meshing and protecting the statue was carried out. Due to its white coloration, the work was called 'White Christ'.
Currently, the statue of the White Christ is one of the most popular attractions for tourists and local citizens. All bus tours in the city include a visit to this place. From time to time, maintenance and painting work on the statue is carried out. For Cusqueños, mostly Christians, it is a symbol of protection and blessing for the city. From there you have a spectacular view of the houses, mountains and other landscapes of Cusco.
The statue is 8 meters high. It is made with a base of iron, wire as well as granite and cedar, on which the body, arms, hands and head were built with clay. The face has a serene gesture, the hands open in a protective attitude and heading towards the city of Cusco. For the implementation of the work, the base, the body, arms and head were transported separately until they were unified in a single figure.
The visit to the White Christ of Cusco is free. You only have to get there, either on foot or by vehicle. Near the place there are photographers, handicraft vendors and many tourists.
Other monuments of Cusco
The monument to the Inca Pachacutec – This statue of more than 11 meters of altitude is a representation of the Inca emperor Pachacutec, the Inca who ordered the construction of Machu Picchu. It is held on a conical construction inside which a didactic sample of the Inca legacy in the city is exhibited. The statue is made of bronze and is in the middle of the Pachacutec oval. You can get there by walking or by bus.
The Inca of the Main Square – The Main Square of Cusco is the tourist center of the city. In the water fountain, located in the center of said square, the figure of an Inca stands out, which would represent the emperor Pachacutec. This was placed in 2011 as a replacement for another statue representing a 'red skin' Indian.
The Arch of Santa Clara – This construction located near the Square San Francisco was made as a tribute to the Peru - Bolivia confederation that occurred in 1835. As its name indicates, it is a three-span arch with Ionic columns, which represented a 'Arch of Triumph'. It had some modifications in 1932 until it reached the shape it has today.
Some things you should know
The sculptures that adorn the Santa Clara arch (located near the Square of San Francisco) were also built by the sculptor Francisco Olazo, who was the author of the White Christ. This Cusco artist also dedicated himself to local cinema.
The way more tourists visit the White Christ is through the panoramic bus ride through the city of Cusco. The journey, in addition to visiting some churches, temples, and markets in the city, makes a stop at this statue for tourists to take pictures and contemplate the beautiful landscapes. The cost of this service is approximately 10 US dollars.
Tips for your visit
The White Christ stands at 3,575 meters above sea level (11,729 feet). At that altitude, the tourist can suffer some of the symptoms of altitude sickness such as nausea and fatigue. This happens especially in the first two days of the trip. To reduce symptoms, it is recommended to drink plenty of water (not alcoholic beverages) and avoid high-fat foods.
A few meters from White Christ is Sacsayhuaman. Don't miss the opportunity to visit this famous archaeological site. Within walking distance you can also visit the other Inca sites of Cusco such as: Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay.