Cusco Landmarks and Monuments

(Cusco / Cuzco, Peru)

Photo showing the Jesus ChurchThe sheer quantity and quality of landmarks and ancient monuments surrounding Cusco is just enormous, many of which date from Inca times. Always impressive is the Saqsaywaman, an incredible ruined Inca fortress just 2 km / 1 mile to the north of Cusco, serving as the largest remains of any significance within the immediate vicinity.

Other imposing landmarks in the Cusco area include the city's cathedral, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the Palacio del Arzobispado and the Phuyupatamarca. A large and elaborate structure, the Phuyupatamarca boasts imposing defence walls constructed into a hillside, built many years ago by the Incas.

However, do be very careful when visiting deserted sites and landmarks outside of Cusco, in the early morning or evening, since robberies are sometimes reported at these times. It is always sensible to arrive and depart as a group.

Further view of the Jesus church

Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus (Company of Jesus Church)

Address: Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru, PE
The Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus is a magnificent structure and is really very hard to miss. This is particularly the case if you are arriving in Cusco at night, since the church is illuminated by spotlights and clearly visible by those arriving on the train from Machu Picchu. The Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus dates from the latter part of the 16th century, when it was built by the Jesuits, and stands alongside the cathedral, on the Plaza de Armas.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 11:30, 13:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts for students and children

Picture of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo / Korikancha Temple

Iglesia de Santo Domingo / Korikancha Temple

Address: Plaza de Santo Domingo, Cusco, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 084 24 9177
Once one of the most important of all the Inca landmarks in Cusco, all that remains of the once glorious Korikancha Temple are its foundations. This underlying Inca structure now forms the base of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, which has suffered at the hands of Peruvian earthquakes over the years, particularly in 1650 and again in 1950. However, as the photographs in the entrance of the church clearly show, whilst the colonial structure suffered much damage, the Inca walls were hardly touched. The cloister is the best place to view what is left of the Korikancha Temple.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 14:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children

Convento y Templo de La Merced (La Merced)

Address: Mantas 121, Cusco, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 084 23 1821
Generally referred to as simply 'La Merced', the Templo y Convento de La Merced is an especially important colonial church, being founded as a convent in 1542. Although it was completely destroyed during the 1650 earthquake, it was soon totally rebuilt once more. On the left-hand side of La Merced is a small courtyard, which serves as the entrance to the church's monastery. The church contains a huge quantity of gold artefacts and is home to a number of important tombs, including those of both Gonzalo Pizarro and also Diego de Almagro - two very notable conquistadors.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

La Catedral (Cathedral) picture

La Catedral (Cathedral)

Address: Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru, PE
Construction of the city's famous landmark cathedral began in 1559, although it took almost an entire century until it was finally completed. Cusco Cathedral stands on the site of the Inca Palace of Viracocha, and many of its blocks were taken from nearby Saqsaywaman. The cathedral is sandwiched either side by the Iglesia de Jesus Maria and the Iglesia del Triunfo, and contains a wealth of exceptional colonial art. In particular, the sacristy is filled with historic paintings of past bishops. Each year, many major religious celebrations are staged here, with the festival of Corpus Christi being amongst the biggest.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 14:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts for students and children

Palacio del Arzobispado (Archbishop's Palace)

Address: Hatun Rumiyoq, Cusco, Peru, PE
The present-day building of the Archbishop's Palace actually stands on the foundations once supporting the Inca Roca, a God Emperor of the Inca Kingdom (Sapa Inca). Therefore an extremely important landmark of the past, the Archbishop's Palace is better known locally as the Palacio del Arzobispado and its more recently colonial structure using green distinctive andesite stone. Various religious art works and artefacts are on display inside.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 11:30, 15:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge

Photograph of Phuyupatamarka (Town Above the Clouds)


Address: Camino Inca, Cusco, Peru, PE
In total, the Phuyupatamarca complex comprises 15 different buildings, as well as two spacious plazas, some ceremonial baths and a number of well-placed observation areas, used as vantage points and hanging rather precariously from the side. Phuyupatamarca is frequently surrounded by low cloud formations, making it appear to float and seem rather magical.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

View of Saqsaywaman / Sacsayhuaman

Saqsaywaman / Sacsayhuaman

Address: Saqsaywaman, Cusco, Peru, PE
The Saqsaywaman fort stands high above the city and this landmark is today just one fifth of its original size, since much of its was dismantled by conquering Spaniards, who used the site as something of a quarry, taking the stonework to build their houses. It was here in 1536 that a major battle against the Spanish conquest took place, with Manco Inca Yupanqui (ruler of the Incas) recapturing the fortress, before being overthrown once more, when he fled to Ollantaytambo fortress.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge