This is an important site in Cusco to visit as the Koricancha Temple in Incan times was related to the solstices and equinoxes and blends Spanish colonial culture with Incan masonry. Plus, the site is used for the all important and much anticipated celebration of Inti Raymi, welcoming the of the sun, on June 24 for Winter Solstice.
We visited the Temple a few days prior to the celebration with our private guide, hired through Kuoda Travel, and we received a fantastic history lesson. The Spanish destroyed the Incan Temple and built the Santo Domingo church and convent on the original Incan masonry foundation. As you walk around the inside perimeter of the beautiful courtyard it is really interesting to see the Incan walls that were excavated still standing. The architecture is Spanish colonial and there are many details to note around such as paintings, huge ceramic vases, detailed ceiling work and archways surrounding the large central courtyard.
A few days later we attended the Inti Raymi celebration that starts on the grounds of Koricancha Temple in the morning with much fanfare - costumes, dance, music - and continues as a parade through town to the Plaza de Armas before heading up to Sacsayhuaman for the afternoon festivities. To be in Cusco during this celebration was exciting for me as it was as exciting as I had imagined it would be when planning our trip itinerary! The costumes and parade were a beautiful site to behold.
Do make time to visit this site as the history of the Spanish and Incas is enlightening.
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