September 20th, 2008 – by: genkeeper
Back in Cuzco, at 10,912 + feet, Kristi and I hit the streets to see some ancient art, Incan temples turned Churches and, of course, shop till we drop. Cuzco is known for its shopping and it is the place to buy jewelry, alpaca scraves and sweaters and art work. Cuzco is quite a pretty town, even if it is the location more tourists are robbed than any other city in Peru. The city has almost a European charm to it, especially thd San Blas district (best place to get sweaping views of the city). Qorikancha
Our first stop after wandering around the Plaza de Armas, snapping a few photos and shooing away children asking for donations to their questionable causes, was Qorikancha.
Qorikancha. The structure on the left is part of the Incan temple.
Qorikancha, the ancient Incan temple, form the base of a Spanish church. It was said to once have been the richest Incan temple, all that is left today is the foundation and a few interior walls. Back in the day, Qorikancha was reputedly covered in gold - the temple walls lined with 700 gold sheets, there were giant gold replicas of food, animals and even gods, and probably gold furniture to boot. Basically it was a pretty gold building which also made it labeled with a giant "rob" me sign. As soon as the conquistadors stumbled on all that gold it was immediately melted down and whisked back to their vaults. Shopping in Peru you really don't see much gold being sold, about 95% of it is silver. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the countries rich mines ALL went to make this massive building of gold.
Mochican wood sculpture. He looks like he is nervously asking someone to read to him.
What is left on the site today is a strange mix of the 15th century AD (yes, you heard that right it is as young as the 15th century AD) Incan temple and the mid-1500s Spanish church. So while the Renaissance was raging in Europe the Incans were covering temples entirely in gold - just think of that.Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
The Pre-Columbian Art museum had a small, but intriguing collection of items dating from between 1250 BC and AD 1532. The museum had some bizarre zoomorphic pots (including a cat owl), cute Chimuan wood sculptures that look like they are nervously asking someone to read to them, Chimuan rattle canes, Mohican mythical representation of a potato, a Hauri guy that looks like a peacock, an Incan face cup, and beautiful shell jewelry.