Cuzco is a wonderful city with thousands of places to visit and experiences to live. But without any doubt, One of the most unique experiences is to listen to mass in Quechua In the cathedral of the city. And it doesn't matter if you are a believer or not, you will appreciate it in the same way.
Cuzco CathedralCusco Main Square
Cuzco Cathedral is located in the city's Plaza de Armas, on huge stairs. For its construction diverse places were shuffled, first, the site that today occupies the church of the Triumph; then, in the area of Cusipata (near the Plaza de Armas); finally, in 1553 the plot was acquired where it is currently.
Erected over the Quishuarqancha, former palace of the Inca Huiracocha, this cathedral is one of the most beautiful and significant monuments of colonial America.
Its construction begins in 1560 and culminates almost a century later, in 1664. It seems that the enormous stones of Sacsayhuaman, an important Inca complex located a few kilometers from the cathedral, were used to lift it.
The temple occupies an area of about 3956 m². It is declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation and is a unique and singular sample of the syncretism achieved between the Christian and the Inca.
Cathedral ArchitectureCusco Cathedral
It is a construction with a three-floor hall floor: nave of the epistle, nave of the gospel and the central nave, which coincide with the three doors of the facade. This is baroque and is flanked by two harmonic towers. Inside, large pillars with terraced columns resemble the cathedral of Granada.
Baroque, Renaissance and Mannerist altarpieces adorn the walls of the temple. Likewise in it you can enjoy a valuable collection of pictures of the Cusco school, with works by Diego Quispe Tito, Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo, Basilio Pacheco and Marcos Zapata, creator of a beautiful Last Supper where the main course is guinea pig.
As well you have to appreciate samples of the goldsmiths in the area, like the main altar, made of silver and dominated by the imposing figure of the Lord of the Tremors. Thus, we can see Inca, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements and we can enjoy a spectacular event: listen to my Quechua, the language of the Incas.
The Quechua Mass in the Cathedral of CuzcoInterior of the cathedral - Rodolfo Pimentel / Wikimedia Commons
Cuzco Cathedral is one of the few places where we can still hear Mass in Quechua. There are very few priests who know and use this language. Be a believer, visitor or curious, we recommend that if you visit the city you experience this liturgy, it will not leave you indifferent.
Castilian and Quechua intermingle during the Eucharist. Quechua is reserved for key moments. Hymns like the Apu yaya Jesus Christ, official anthem of the Indian faith, or the Apu Jesus Christ, which is usually sung between the epistle and the gospel.
We can also hear the Qanmi God Kanki (also known as the Yuraq Holy Host), which usually accompanies the elevation of the consecrated host and chalice.
But Quechua is not limited only to masses. It is also present in the festivities and processions. There is also an extensive repertoire of Marian hymns such as the Qullanan Maria and the Holy Virgin Diospa maman that are sung at the feasts of the Virgin.
The Quechua masses acquire a lot of feeling since, for many Cuzco and Peruvians, Quechua is the mother tongue. Thus, It is the language of intimacy and family. Thus, a Quechua hymn has a strong emotional charge. This language, for many, has an emblematic value, identity and tradition.
In addition to listening to Mass in Quechua, admire the cathedralInterior of the cathedral - Daniel Lobato / Flickr.com
In order to enjoy this beautiful experience, we must go to the cathedral during Mass. That is, from Monday to Sunday at 6:30 am, at 7:00 am, at 8:00 am and at 9:00 am. Getting up early is worth it, because the experience will be unforgettable. In addition, as long as you keep stealth and respect, you can contemplate the impressive building.
Next to the cathedral we find the Temple of Triumph, the oldest church in Cuzco and where the remains of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega are located since 1978. Also next to it is the temple of the Sagrada Familia.