Tierras de los Andes logo

House of the Admiral or Inca Museum

Home » Cusco » Discovering Cusco's Colonial Houses: History and Architecture » House of the Admiral or Inca Museum
Home » Cusco » Discovering Cusco's Colonial Houses: History and Architecture » House of the Admiral or Inca Museum

If you are walking through the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, then you must visit the House of the Admiral, currently the Inka Museum, this palace was built in the seventeenth century by Admiral Francisco Alderete Maldonado. The place keeps a lot of Inca history which we can visit, as it is noted that this house initially belonged to the emperor Huascar.

In this article we will talk about its history, architecture, about what we can see inside the Admiral's Palace, what to see and when you can visit the current Inka Museum.

Location of the Admiral's house in Cusco

It is located a few meters from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, at the end of Almirante Street, exactly at 154 Ataúd Street, next to the Plazoleta del Colegio San Francisco de Borja and Córdoba de Tucumán Street.

History of the admiral's house

The arrival of the Spaniards to the city of Cusco in 1533 brought inevitable changes and one of them was the change of the architectural structure, the conquerors in a short time began with the distribution of land and the construction of mansions with European patterns producing a fusion of architecture with the colonial.

The city of Cusco still preserves the colonial mansions and one of the most outstanding is the Palacio del Almirante or La Nave del Dragón, current building of the Inka Museum run by the Unsaac. The Anthrop. And Historian Luis Enrique Tord gives us information about his research on this colonial house published in the Andean Journal of Traditional Studies Tupac Yawri.

On the site where this residence was erected, the emperor Huascar once Francisco Pizarro arrived, he gave the house to Diego de Almagro, then according to the chronicles of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the site was acquired by the Spanish soldier Hernando Machicago as the second owner.

The third owner became the conqueror Juan Alonso Palomino, then passed to Admiral Don Francisco de Alderete Maldonado who is credited with the construction of the mansion. Cusco suffers material damages because of the earthquake of 1950 affecting several buildings and one of them is the Palace that had to be wedded with sticks and does not collapse.

In 1952 it is determined to demolish the house and restore it, but they do not conclude after several inconclusive attempts and in the year of 1975 the National Institute of Cultural (INC) had just been created today Decentralized Direction of Culture (DDC), they take charge of the work of restoration and they are based on old photographs to maintain its original characteristics.

Who lived in the Admiral's House?

According to the studies of the Anthropologist and Historian Luis E. Tord, who resided in this house was Don Francisco Alderete Maldonado, who would have had Amazonian Templar lineage from where his rank of Admiral would have come from.

Architecture of the Admiral's House

Well, now we will detail about its architecture, the meaning of each one of them according to the investigations of the Anthrop. and Historian Luis Enrique Tord; he makes a detailed observation of the aspect of this residence, in which you will be able to see the presence of a nave in the corner formed by the street Ataúd and Córdoba de Tucumán.

This means that the construction of the Admiral's palace was meticulously thought out, aimed at exercising power and keeping a secret even beyond the death of its owner, as stated by Architect Ricardo Ruiz Caro V., who indicates that there is an idea that the soul of the person who lived in this house still survives.

So it is understood that the owner Don Francisco Alderete wanted to do with this building was to build a ship for the journey of his soul, a purification type as did the pharaohs and the Incas themselves who were very notorious.

The ship had to have the elements that responded ritually to the need of its soul and in some way or another was encrypted under the functional architectural foundations and this makes it different and particular with respect to the others.

Likewise, Architect Ricardo Ruiz Caro V. mentions that beyond the magnificent pre-Columbian and colonial architecture, they reflect a whole historical period of which little is known and little is said about the deep spiritual life that was lived during the XVI - XVIII century, where people from many places came to live a spiritual life because of the power of Cusco.

  • Now we will detail everything that we see in the corner balcony in ajimez, we see that it has as part light a hermés ojano vifronte and ambi-sexuado that is directed from its imperious height towards the Plaza de Armas of Cusco which would be related to the solícitos of winter that means that it was conceived as a solar manifestation.
  • In the blason on the right side is displayed the arms of the Alderete Maldonado and Altamirano families represented by five fleurs-de-lis, in addition to 10 kisses placed in three rows of three and eight crosses representing the Alderete Maldonado lineage.
  • There are several hypotheses about the other blason on the right side, but we will base ourselves on the research of Enrique Tord who points out that the cross on the sign of honor indicates the axis of the world, the center of the mysteries of the cosmos and the passage to other spheres. The tree with honeycombs manifests paradise, the tower signifies by the first body the illumination and the second the conscience, and finally the five fleurs-de-lis (lily) announces purity.
  • Between the coats of arms you can see some folasian faces that would be protecting, in the upper part of each shield you can see some masks with factions that indicate the sense of each faction; the right side simulates a lionine faction, the left side simulates a feline with bat wings that covers the upper part of the shield and carries a ring in the mouth that would mean a nuptial engagement.
  • Ambos escudos tiene una planopia o armadura que representa a un guerrero el cual esgrime una espada, sobre el cristón de su casco se apoya un dragón con fauces abiertas, alas de murciélagos garras de águila y cola escamada de serpiente que simboliza el guardián de templos y tesoros.
  • Finally, you will notice that on the warrior's chest there is a necklace from which hangs a flower with a central button and four petals in the shape of a cross, which would mean that the warrior belonged to the secret spiritual order of the Rosicrucians.

It has a quadrangular two-story main courtyard with arcades and galleries on its sides, in the spandrels highlights gray accompanied by medallions high relief depicting profiles of Roman warriors and empresses embroidered with cherubs and paper leaves.

In the center of the patio there is a fountain with a hexagonal cup, its walls have round figures and alternating rhombuses, since this fountain would represent the compass of the ship; likewise the frieze of the strip that is between the middle of the walls of the patio, is an idiogram, a chain with 500 Kipu Camayoc that would keep the tradition alive despite having passed through three previous owners.

In the interior of the house there is a staircase, at the top of which is the sculpture of a lion that inspires power and terror by its open fauses and its alert position, as Enrique Tord would be guarding the tomb of the admiral.

In conclusion, the Admiral's house keeps many secrets and some of them are represented in its sculptures, because even though centuries have passed, it still has many messages to communicate.

What to see and do in the admiral's house in Cusco?

As you could see, we have made a description of the architecture that is in the Admiral's house and you can appreciate it, but we also have the presence of the Inca Museum that will show us many objects of Inca value.

Cusco Inca Museum

Inside the Inca museum we will be able to see very important collections belonging to:

  • Pre-Inca cultures, we will be able to see various objects and museum materials belonging to pre-Inca cultures such as Chavin, Nazca, Chancay, Mochica, Chimu and Paracas.
  • Pre-Inca human settlements of the Cusco region, you can see their ceramics, tools and utensils belonging to Marcavalle, Chanapata, Qotakalli, among others.
  • It shows the characteristics belonging to the region of Cusco as the yunga, quechua, puna among others detailing its climate and what is found within them.
  • Inca origins, if we want to learn more about our Inca origin here we can see artifacts and panels, ceramics and utensils belonging to the Incas.
  • There are several exhibits of Inca origin and even furniture, portraits, sculptures from the colonial period.

Hours and price of the Admiral's House Tour

To enter the Inca museum or the palace of the Admiral you can go from Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, the entrance fee is 5.00 soles for domestic tourists and 10 soles for foreign tourists. Remember to bring your ID or passport, cash, water for hydration.

If you want to visit this and other museums in the city of Cusco I recommend that you buy the BTCI Boleto Turístico Integral, with this you can visit museums, archaeological sites paying a general cost of 130 soles for foreign visitors and 70 soles for domestic visitors.

Leave us your answer or if you have a question, let us know:
form contacto EN
Our certifications
Our Collaborators
Footer Terandes