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Church of the Society of Jesus in Cusco - Colonial Architecture and History

Home » Cusco » The main temples and churches in Cusco, Peru » Church of the Society of Jesus in Cusco - Colonial Architecture and History
Home » Cusco » The main temples and churches in Cusco, Peru » Church of the Society of Jesus in Cusco - Colonial Architecture and History

The church of the Compañia de Jesus is located in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, in the beginning this was the palace of the Inca Huayna Qapaq and then became one of the most beautiful temples of the city highlighting with its paintings, sculpture.

In addition, it was declared a Historical Monument of Peru since 1972, for its part the UNESCO declared it as Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 1983. This is only one of the many churches that the capital of Tahuantinsuyo has.

History of the Church of the Company of Jesus Cusco

Iglesia Compania Cusco
Company Church Cusco

The church of the Society of Jesus was built on the site of the Amaru Kancha, where was the palace of the Inca Huayna Qapaq and his panaka, when the Spanish conquistadors entered the city and took possession of it, exactly in 1534 began the division of land in which this area was distributed to Hernando Pizarro and his descendants.

In 1576 this site passed into the hands of the spouses Diego de Silva and Teresa Orgoñes for a sum of 30,000 pesos at that time, with the purpose of building a church and school in the place, in gratitude and sponsorship celebrated on December 20, 1576 before the notary Antonio Sanchez.

But, the construction of this church took place in 1571, according to the plans that had been established by the religious architect Don Francisco Becerra. The first foundation date was July 17, 1571, by mandate of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, and the school of the Transfiguration was founded with the initiative of Father Jerónimo Ruiz de Portillo.

In the year 1650 Cusco suffers an earthquake that causes severe damage to the Church of the Society of Jesus and at the same time to its school, reason for the church to be restored, but this reconstruction will be of greater majesty than the old church.

This new church will have two side chapels in order to surpass in beauty to the main Cathedral of Cusco, in 1651 they built the chapel of Loreto next to the temple of the Company of Jesus, also called of Indians, this work was completed in three years.

After four years after the earthquake, work began on the rebuilding of the Church of the Society of Jesus. The entire construction took about 17 years, and during the elaboration of the plans, Father Juan Bautista Guilles, then the Jesuit Juan Ruiz and Pedro Ruiz intervened.

In 1664 the master builder Diego Martinez and Father Fructuosos de Viera signed a contract for the construction of the main doorway and the two towers for this church. And in 1668, on July 24, the church was titled "La Transfiguración del Señor" and by 1670 the main altar was completed.

The painter Bernardo Bitti, the sculptor Jerónimo Quispe and the carpenter Marcos Zapata were in charge of the interior of the church, details that even today we can appreciate about their legacy and dedication of each one of them.

After three hundred years of the earthquake of 1650, Cusco again suffers an earthquake in 1950, magnitude that damaged the temple, which had to be repaired immediately.

Where is the church of the Society of Jesus located?

What to see and do in the Society of Jesus in Cusco?

  • Interior

When you enter the interior of the church you will notice a large nave in which the main altar stands out, with a height of 21 meters and 12 meters wide, carved in cedar and gilded in its entirety because it is bathed with gold leaf.

It has Solomonic columns with a large number of paintings, a central canvas depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus, there is also a sculpture of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, with various ornaments and decorations that have precious stones that highlight the baroque style as a whole.

  • Paints

Among his paintings we can notice a whole work of art, among the most outstanding paintings are the marriage of Martín García de Loyola who was the nephew of Ignacio de Loyola with Beatriz Clara Coya.

Also in the interior of the church there are paintings and sculptures by Diego de la Puente, Marcos Zapata and Cristo de Burgos.

  • Chapels

You will notice that at the side of the church there are two chapels or also called "Chapel of Indians" or "Chapel of the Virgin of Loreto" which was built in 1571, after the earthquake of 1650 and on the left side is the chapel of San Ignacio, this site is currently occupied as the headquarters of the society of artisans of Cusco.

Hours and admission fee

To enter the church you can do it from:

-Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 11:00 in the morning and in the afternoon from 13:00 to 17:00 hours.

Note that to enter this site you must have the religious circuit ticket to enter the different religious centers, or you can also pay a single cost to visit only this place, but I recommend that you purchase a ticket that allows you to visit more churches and religious centers.

If you are interested in purchasing this religious circuit ticket you must go to the Cathedral of Cusco, the Museum of Religious Art, the San Blas church and the San Cristobal church are the places where you can buy this ticket and continue your adventure in the beautiful city of Cusco with your travel agency Terandes.

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