Cuzco, the capital of Inca Empire


The architecture and geography of Cusco is unlike any other city in Peru, or Latin
America for that matter. While Cusco has all the conveniences of a modern-day city,
its layered Inca and Spanish history converge in Plaza de Armas to feed the senses
of those that come to visit. Two ornate churches on adjacent sides of Cusco’s Plaza
de Armas demand attention and mark the meeting place of the Inca and Spanish
historic roots built within the buildings. The Inca were fine stonecutters
and the remains of their work bear witness to their skill. Each stone was cut
and then strategically pieced together using a technique called ashlar through
which bricks are placed so close together that mortar is not used. The Spanish
later dismantled the Inca structures and used the bricks to construct new
buildings; including portions of Cathedral of Santo Domingo, more commonly
referred to as the Cusco Cathedral, and its neighboring Church of the Society
of Jesus that now stand proudly in Plaza de Armas.


A guide will likely point out a unique rendition of The Last Supper painting
during a tour of the Cusco Cathedral in the Plaza. At first glance the biblical
scene may appear standard, but upon closer observation, the roasted animal on the
dish placed in the center of the table looks a bit peculiar. Cuy (Spanish for
guinea pig) meets Jesus in Marcos Zapata’s Andean interpretation of this
religious art piece that finds its home at Plaza de Armas. As a Quechua artist,
Mr. Zapata studied at the Cuzco School, a Spanish established art school
that taught locals the disciplines of European-inspired artwork during the
late 1700s.


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