The San Cristobal Church in Cusco is a Catholic structure of Colonial origin, which is located in the city of Cusco, in the province and department of the same name. The church was erected in the 16th century, and today it is part of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation, as a Historic-Artistic Monument.
This Catholic temple is built near some ruins of Inca origin known as the Ruinas de Ccolcampata, on the hill of Colcampata. It is known that the construction of the temple began, thanks to the initiative of Cristóbal Paullo, who is said to have owned the land occupied by the current temple. Despite the great contribution that this character made, the church had to be rebuilt a century later. It is known that the name that Cristóbal Paullo gave to this church, was given not in his own honor, but to honor his godfather, who was Cristóbal Diego de Castro.
The rebuilding of the temple was entrusted to the builder Diego Quispe Tito, and had Bishop Mollinedo as a benefactor of the project. This church, which is the one that has survived to this day, with certain modifications, is a structure that is predominantly made of adobe, except for the tower that it presents and that rises above the building with its superb body of stone. .
The San Cristobal Church in Cusco is a structure that is erected on a floor in the shape of a Latin cross with a single nave. This structure is accompanied by a single tower that, as is known, was a construction that was added in the reconstruction of the temple, and that was the work of Bishop Mollinedo, a fact that can be verified by observing the shield of this bishop on the doors of the bell tower of this structure. The tower is itself a beautiful piece of temple architecture, ending in a dome that is flanked by beautiful pinnacles.
In relation to the façade of this church, it is facing the Colcampata square and it is a fairly simple structure that barely combines the stone color of the adobes, with a white paint covering in just over the upper half of its body. .
As part of the internal decoration of this temple, a series of pieces are observed, among which the main altarpiece stands out; This is a two-body structure in which a beautiful silver front stands out where the shield of Bishop Mollinedo can also be seen. In addition to this piece, there are also, as part of the church’s heritage, a series of beautiful paintings that were works made by artists of the Cusco school.
Whoever wants to know this beautiful church in Cusco, has to go to the north of the city of Cusco. The San Cristobal Church in Cusco is half an hour on foot, from the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, and only 10 minutes if you go by taxi. Entrance to the temple is free, but it is only allowed during mass times.
The square and church of San Cristóbal Cusco were built on a prominent mountain easily visible from the center of the city of Cusco in Peru, in what was the old natural neighborhood of Qolqanpata today called San Cristóbal neighborhood, they are located exactly on the Don Bosco street, as a point of reference you can take the intersections of this with Resbalosa, Arco Iris and Pumacurc streets. About 400 m from the cathedral.
It was built in the first years of the conquest by the Indian chief Cristóbal Paullo, lord of Qolqanpata, as a sign of his devotion to Christianity. The statue of the patron saint is gigantic and is paraded in the Corpus Christi festival.
During the Inca times, this area was in the Hanan Qosqo or high Cusco, the neighborhoods of Pumacurco, Choquechaca, Tacsecocha and Qolqampata itself belonged here. This area is the depository of many Inca buildings that are scattered in the area, being part of the Qolqampata palace, which belonged to Manco Cápac, the first Inca.
A great wall-platform with eleven niches of cellular rigging, as well as remains of Inca architecture of excellent factory, can be seen in the upper part. The Inca Paullo Túpac Yupanqui, converted to the Christian religion, takes as his godfather the commissioner Don Cristóbal Baca de Castro, from whom he uses his name to found the hermitage that was built on one side of the small square below the Qolqampata palace.
In the interior of the San Cristobal Church in Cusco, poor and decayed, you can see gilding, works made by good teachers. Both the front and the tabernacle are made of silver, the latter of solid silver. There are paintings worthy of contemplation, paintings, many of which are copies of famous European masters (especially Rafael nicknamed «El Divino», when the famous «Escuela Cuzqueña» was booming) whose hallmark is the stew in gold. There are also turned railings, golden altarpieces, altars in poor condition but of remarkable and fine carving.
Useful information about the San Cristobal Church in Cusco
- To visit the main churches of Cusco, a good option is to purchase the ticket to the ‘Cusco religious circuit’, which includes tickets to the Museum of Religious Art, the Church of San Blas, the Church of San Cristóbal and the Cathedral.
- To visit most of the churches in the city of Cusco, you can enter at mass time, which, in most cases, is 7 am. at 9 am. On Sundays.
- The ‘Andean Baroque Circuit’ tour is a good option to visit the southern towns of Cusco as well as its churches. This tour includes: the Temple of the Company of Jesus, the Church of San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas, the Temple of San Juan Bautista de Huaro and the Chapel of the Purified Virgin of Canincunca.
- A rule written on the signs of the churches of Cusco is that it is forbidden to take photos inside most of the churches of Cusco.
Visiting Cusco is a real adventure whose protagonist will be yourself, instead of a memorable experience, that is why Cusco is definitely one of the most incredible cities with a great variety of archaeological centers and tours such as Sacred Valley, Camino Inca or Machu Picchu. To enjoy an unforgettable experience, contact Inka Trail Backpacker, a company that will better assist you during your visit, of course it is always with the necessary advice for you and yours as well as the guarantee, responsibility and security that characterizes us. If you visit the city of Cusco another impressive destinations that you can visit are the tour to rainbow mountain peru or the humantay lake tour from cusco, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Cusco, other archaeological places you can know will be the choquequirao trek peru, the salkantay trek to machu picchu, and the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights.
The San Cristobal Church in Cusco is part of the Archbishop’s Religious Circuit, this circuit shows the visitor the splendor of the viceregal world of Cusco and Peru.
The San Cristobal Church in Cusco is 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco; The climb to this place will be worth it, even if you don’t like churches.
Inside the San Cristobal Church in Cusco you will find beautiful Cusco religious art, as well as some brilliant examples of how the «extirpators of idolatries» deceived the indigenous population. Mirrors, unknown at that time to Peruvians, were presented as magical objects. This Church also has a statue of a Christ, articulated in arms and neck; The joints in the arms made it possible to reduce them to be able to parade inside a glass coffin on holidays. However, the articulated neck had motivations that seem straight out of an old conspiracy book. Someone would move the head of the Christ at «suitable times», to demonstrate the sanctity of the statue, to «sudden converts» stunned.
Ironically, the site was an Inca barracks; its main altar has carved a representation of the «Pachamama», a virgin with bare breasts; this is evidence of the relatively easy coexistence between colonial Catholicism and the Andean religion.
Where to buy the Religious Circuit Ticket?
You can buy the Religious Circuit Ticket in the Museum of Religious Art, in the Church of San Blas, the San Cristobal Church in Cusco or in the Cathedral of Cusco. The price for adults is S / 30 soles (US $ 10).
Hours of attention to tourist visits
Every day from 9 am. at 5 pm.
Viewpoint of San Cristóbal in Cusco:
The square in front of the church, is completely worked in stone, it dominates a cross of the same material that, like many others, is celebrated in the month of May. The view of the Cusco valley is impressive, it is possible to see Ausangate itself and it can be enjoyed both during the day, as well as at night. It could be considered the best viewpoint in the city.
The palace of Manco Cápac
This square is also surrounded by a cellular composition platform that on its second floor shows eleven double jamb niches, which clearly indicates the ritual use of the place, this is part of the Qolqampata palace, which was built by the Inca Pachacútec in honor to the mythical founder of his Inca civilization, Manco Capac.
San Cristóbal neighborhood:
This is made up of the streets of Teqseqocha Pumacurco Choqechaka and the same Qolqampata in which the church is located, these participate in the Corpus Christie Cusqueño as a parishioner of the saint of the invocation of the mentioned church, for almost 500 years.
You can visit the square and viewpoint of San Cristóbal at any time of the day, instead the temple the temple of the place can only be visited during the hours of worship.
How to get to San Cristobal Cusco
On your own:
If you can actually get to this magnificent place on your own, the most advisable thing is to get to the Nazarenas square that is located at the back of the cathedral and main square of Cusco, from there, simply follow Pumacurco street in an upward direction until finish in the plaza of San Cristóbal, this should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes.
With a travel agency:
With a travel agency you can visit the place, during the day and at night, taking a private service that puts at your disposal, mobility and the service of a professional guide.