Coricancha: Everything you should know

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This enclosure was the main sanctuary of the Incas. It was built during the reign of Pachacútec (1471-1493) and according to historians it was one of the buildings that most impacted the Spanish conquerors due to its beauty and refinement.

The Majestic Temple of Coricancha or Golden Temple is located on the main avenue El Sol, Cusco, near the Plaza Mayor of Cusco.

Location Cusco province 400 meters from the center of Cusco
Distance from the Cusco center by car 5 minutes
Distance from the Cusco center walking 15 minutes
Entrance Ticket cost Included in the Partial Tourist Ticket for 70 soles or direct entry for 15 soles at the door
Activities visit the Museum

According to the Inca conception, the Coricancha was considered a religious center of Cusco, as well as a geographical and political one. This was the place where they paid homage to the Inca gods. Its name derives from the words: Qori: gold and Kancha: place delimited by walls, so the Spanish form of both would be the place where the gold is enclosed.

coricancha dentro

What can we see in the Coricancha?

The temple of the Sun

It was the main Temple of the entire Coricancha, occupying more than half the width of the current Church of Santo Domingo. Garcilaso recounts that inside this temple were the embalmed bodies of the children of the Sun placed by antiquity on chairs and on gold tables, the walls were covered with gold plates, there was a disc representing the figure of the Sun on a gold plate. thicker than the other plates that covered the temple. At the western end it corresponds to the current drum overlooking Av. Sol; its eastern end reached the current atrium of the church.

The Temple of the Moon

This temple was closer to the Temple of the Sun, since the Moon was considered the wife of the Sun. This building was lined with silver planks, and there was a representation of the Moon made of silver. Inside the mummies of the Coyas were kept in order of antiquity. Approximately half of the Temple was demolished by the Spanish to build the nave of the church of Santo Domingo. It occupies part of the western side of the inner courtyard of the Qorikancha.

templo de la luna coricancha

The Temple of Venus and the Stars

It is located near the Temple of the Moon, but separated by a beautiful alley, dedicated to Venus and the seven goats and all the other stars. The Incas called Venus “Chasca” which means star. According to historians, the Inca was located in this temple to be deified or to witness festivals or sacrifices made in the rectangular patio. It occupies part of the western side of the interior courtyard of the Coricancha.

The Temple of Illapa or Chuki Illapa

Illapa or ChukiIllapa mean lightning, lightning and thunder at the same time. The temple in question is in front of the temple of Venus, it has three doors with a single jamb, equidistant and slightly trapezoidal, it also has a window on each side wall.

The Temple of K’uychi or Rainbow

In this temple, the Rainbow was worshiped, which according to ancient belief, came from the Sun. It has the same architectural features as the Temple of Illapa. A part of this temple was demolished by the Spanish to build the buildings of the Dominican Convent. It is to the north of the Temple of Illapa and in front of the Temple of the Moon, eastern side of the interior patio of the Coricancha.

templo kuychi coricancha


Almost all the peoples of the world, at all times, in front of their temples built wide squares. Intipanpa or Intipampa (name that translates as Plain of the Sun) is the place where the nobles stayed, their courts, service personnel, dancers, etc. when in the course of festivities the Inca and the nobility moved to the Coricancha. This place currently corresponds to the Plaza de Santo Domingo, apparently its limits and extension have suffered almost no variation. It is located north of what was the Coricancha.

The Solar Garden

It became the great deposit of offerings that all the subdued and confederated nations brought to the Sun god, the offerings consisted of representations of flora and fauna of Tahuantinsuyo. According to some historians, these offerings made of gold and silver were life-size and there were so many that they filled the terraces in such a surprising way and in such numbers that the Spanish called it El Jardín Solar. In colonial times it became an orchard for the Dominican friars. It is located in the western part of the Coricancha, it can be seen from Av. Sol in all its extension.

jardin solar coricancha

The sources

There were 5 water sources, the origins of the water from the sources was a guarded secret. The fountains had religious significance and were decorated with precious metals. They were located in the entire length of the Qorikancha, currently we can see a fountain with octagonal corners in the courtyard of the Qorikancha.

How to get to Coricancha?

Getting to the Coricancha is easy. You can walk from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, since it is located almost 400 meters from the center, likewise, you can take a taxi for 5 soles.

How to visit Coricancha?

City Tour Cusco

The most usual way to visit the Coricancha is with the City Tour Cusco. This tourist service also includes visits to the other archaeological sites of the city: the Cathedral, the Plaza de Armas, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay and Puca Pucara. If you are looking for more information about this tour, click here.

Touristic ticket of Cusco

The Cusco Tourist Ticket is a ticket designed for tourists who want to visit the main tourist attractions of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Among the archaeological sites is the Coricancha. The cost of the partial ticket is 70 soles.

Direct visit to the Coricancha

If you only want to visit the Coricancha, you can go directly and buy the entrance ticket at the door for a cost of approximately 15 soles.

Picture of Nicole Maxdeo
Nicole Maxdeo
Comunicadora, viajera y amante de los gatos 😍

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