The Qorikancha, more than the temple of the sun

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

It comes from the union of the two Quechua words Qori / Cori = Oro and Kancha / Cancha = courtyard, temple or enclosure, which would result in the Golden Temple, although some chroniclers refer to this place as Intikancha, in relation to the Inca God Sun, as well as the golden color inside (it is also narrated that all the walls of this temple were covered by gold plates), there are also several versions of the true name of this palace, this from the Intiwasi = House of the Sun, IntiKancha = Sun Palace; the historian Maria Rostworowski adduces in her books that initially the temple had the name of Intikancha and that after Pachacuteq it would have changed to the name of Qorikancha.

Known for being a sample in synthesis of everything that meant the great Inca Empire in terms of architecture, precision, organization and religion (also known as the Inca worldview), so it is thought that at the time of its improvement by the ninth Inca Pachacuteq The peak would have already been reached in all these branches, which is why El Qorikancha was probably the religious center of Cusco, geographic center (navel of the world), and political center, thus the Qorikancha became the maximum place to worship to the Inca god "Inti" (Sun), the description that most closely resembles reality and keeps harmony with what can be seen standing still today, although this is only a pale reflection of what was actually the Qorikancha in Time of the Incas, is that of the chronicler Gómez Suarez de Figueroa better known as Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, considered the first Biological and Spiritual mestizo of America.

Well, according to the story, it would have been the first of the Incas (Manco Capaq) who would have started with the construction of this spectacular sanctuary, but it was none other than Pachacuteq who would have reconstructed, enlarged and improved and modernized the religious complex more great and important of all the Tahuantinsuyo and although there are certain different versions in when the original name of the Inca sanctuary, this does not detract from this great Inca building.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

Due to all that the Qorikancha represented, in his time, it is said that this place could only be entered with bare feet and a load on the back as a sign of humility as indicated by the Inca High Priest Willaq Umu.

The Qorikancha is described as a palace with a majestic front and built to perfection, made with stone from the finest stonework, decorated with a thin sheet of pure gold of 3 meters high and a roof with a thin straw delicately cut, it can also be observed that, in the second horizontal row of stones, there are 3 holes that could be used for the evacuation of water from interior patios or only as an outlet for the chicha that was offered; A curious fact is that after an experiment by Augusto León, if you hit inside the holes you can hear the musical notes "re", "la" and "sol".

Most of the stones that make up the Qorikancha, have a slight cushioning on the sides, which express the sober aesthetic, originally there was no triangular atrium located at the door of the temple, since the wall turned to the Ahuacpinta Street, although now it conserves an original section of almost 70 meters, on the opposite side there is a wall that can rotate more than 90 degrees so it has a curved shape whose continuation was cut off for the construction of the Santo Domingo Temple, this wall crowns all the system of platforms that went down to the river Saphy, today underground.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

What can you find in the Qorikancha?

Inside the Qorikancha Palace you will find:

The Aposentos

Called this way by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, it served so that all the religious elite meet, in this place the Wilaq Umo or the senior priest was received, at the back of the patio the main room was also located, of the latter at present only There are some foundations left.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

The Temple of the Moon

Because within the Inca worldview the moon was considered as the sun's wife, there could not be a sacred place for it, originally it was decorated with silver planks, existing to this day the representation of the moon made in silver, in this the mummies of all the coyas ordered according to their antiquity were stored, approximately half of this sacred site was demolished by the Spaniards to be able to build the present church of santo domingo, at present the part that remains occupies the western part of the patio of the Qorikancha

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

The Temple of Venus and the Stars

It is located near the temple of the moon, although separated by a beautifully worked alley, this environment is dedicated to Venus, the 7 cages also known as Pleiades and also the other stars, according to historians, to Venus the Incas denominated like "Chasca" Quechua word that means star, according to some historians, in this temple the Inca was located for presences sacrifices or celebrations realized in the rectangular patio, being temple is in the western part of the interior of the Qorikancha.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

The Temple of Illapa or Chuki Illapa

The Incas also worshiped natural events not understandable, that is why there was a temple where Illapa worship or Chuki Illapa, Quechua words that meant lightning, lightning and thunder at the same time. This enclosure is opposite the temple of Venus, has three equally spaced and trapezoidal doors, also has a window on each of the side walls.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

The Temple of K'uychi or Arco Iris

Located on the eastern side of the courtyard of the Qorikancha, it was an enclosure where the Rainbow was worshiped, which according to the ancient belief was responsible for sun protection, has characteristics similar to those found in the Illapa temple, as in the temple of the moon, an important part was demolished for the construction of the Dominican convent, it is exactly on the north side of the temple of Illapa and in front of the Temple of the Moon.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol


Almost all the cultures of the world built large squares in front of their temple, and the Inca culture could not be the exception, much less if it is the main temple of the Inca, known as IntiPampa (translated from Quechua to be the plain of the sun), this place was used as a place of rest for all the nobles and their court that came from all parts of the Incas for various reasons, whether as a visit, invitation of the Inca, Fiestas del Sol (Inti Raymi), stagecoaches, etc., currently this place can be freely entered throughout the day and night, is attached to the road known as Avenida el Sol (North Qorikancha)

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

The Solar Garden

Calling this way to the whole set of terraces, which can be observed from the avenue the Sun, according to some historians, it was in this place where the subject nations placed their offerings for the sun god, the majority of offerings consisted of representations to natural size of the flora and fauna of its place of origin made in gold and silver, it is said that the amount of offerings were so many that practically filled in an imagined way all the terraces, perhaps because of this the Spaniards baptized this sector as the solar garden However, after the looting and the colonial era it became the garden of the Dominican friars.

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

The sources

According to some chronicles it is believed that there were around 5 water sources, although the origin of all water sources is unknown until now, it is thought that it could be brought from sacred springs located on the outskirts of the city, most of these sources they had a close relationship with the religious cults, so they were decorated with precious metals, these sources are located within the entire Qorikancha, although nowadays you can see one of these impressive fountains with octagonal corners in the courtyard of the Qorikancha .

El Qorikancha, más que el templo del sol

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