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by Orient-Express
Hotel Monasterio, Cusco, Peru

Churches and Cathedrals

The Cathedral
This early 17th century baroque cathedral houses a chapter house, a sacristy, ten lateral chapels and is linked to the churches of El Triunfo (Triumph) and Jesus Mary.

Its exterior and interior facades are in the Renaissance style.

The interior is decorated with cedar and alder wood carvings. The most striking of these are the pulpit and the wooden carvings on the altars and pews, which were made by Martin Torres and Melchor Huamán.

Paintings in the cathedral include Our Lady the Ancient, The Pardon, The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata and The Christ on the Cross by mestizo painters. Anonymous artists are also on display as are objets d'art of embossed silver, such as the frontispieces. 

The Company of Jesus
The main floor is in the shape of a Latin cross and its twin-towered exterior is very graceful. The altar pieces were made of cedar and gilded with gold leaf.

Paintings by Marcos Zapata, Basilio Santa Cruz, Basilio Pacheco, Cipriano Gutierrez and Rivera and important sculptures representing Saints San Jeronimo and San Francisco are on display in the sacristy.

The Mercedes Church and Convent
The facade of this late 17th century church is exceptionally beautiful with its baroque church spire. Inside there are three naves with pilaster pillars and arches.

The church is most famous for its jewelled monstrance, which was done in two different styles. The upper part is in the Baroque style and was completed in 1720 by Juan de Olmos, a Spanish silversmith. The lower part is in the Renaissance style and was made by Cuzco silversmith Manuel de la Piedra in 1805. It weighs 22 kilograms and is almost one and half metres high. It is encrusted with 1518 diamonds and 615 precious stones, including rubies, topaz and emeralds. 

Church of Santo Domingo
This Dominican order was founded in the city of Cuzco in 1534 and was the first Dominican convent to be built in Peru. The church and convent were built on top of a great Inca temple and the most important religious building in the Tahuantisuyo. It was called the Temple of the Sun or Coricancha.

The church retains its 16th-century style and is a showcase for Cuzco's architectural evolution. The baroque church spire dates from the early 18th century and is a monument to Peruvian architecture.


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