The Society of Jesus

The beginning of the Route, The Church of The Society of Jesus.

One of the most remembered images visitors in Cusco have is participating in the special atmosphere that our Main Square has. It is possibly one of the most beautiful central and public area we can offer and it is that every element in it is related in a special way. The gallerias with stone arches, each one of them with a name referred to the commercial activities done in the past, the carved wooden balconies (come painted in the characteristic indigo blue), the artisanal tile roof-cover, the gardens care, the blue and red tones of the stones that cover the central platform and even the green ornamental fountain decorated with characters far from our tradition, come alive and welcome naturally every time more and more people that enjoy sitting on the benches or walking.

This wonderful environment has as background, and to emphasize its importance, two of the most relevant works of colonial architecture in South America, The Cathedral of Cusco and the Church of The Society of Jesus. Both stand out by the exceptional construction work. The cathedral was finished in 1654, more than a century after its construction started, it was the immediate reference for the building of the church of The Society of Jesus, which is the monument that matters in this pages.

The first thing that stands out is the height of the temple related to the narrow base, a very rare characteristic in the time and area, due to the constant earthquake shake, it was preferred for religious buildings to have a wider base and not such considerable height. The Church of The Society of Jesus stands opposite to that.

Located in the old lands of the Inca from Amaru Cancha (Snake house), this temple is the second one Jesuits built in our city, as we mentioned before, the first fell after the earthquake in 1650, it was badly damaged, thus repair was practically impossible. The effort was even bigger as it has been registered the terrain was greatly complicated with swampy lands and other water sources, situation that builders had to deal with in both opportunities.

Located in our main square with the Cathedral of Cusco. Today we know that each one of this monuments represent a particular and special time of our history, but surely the different delays in the construction of our Cathedral (more than a hundred years), as well as the different builders in that time contributed to this job, they worked as inspiration and example for the Society of Jesus and achieved with success to avoid some of the difficulties that the Cathedral work had.

Its composition shares similar criteria with other important temples, the same that were approved from Rome. The Latin cross plant with chapels on both sides of the cruise nave, the cupule over tambour and the two towers that flank the entrance, have in our city a different and unique conception that can be observed in the careful execution of its stone walls and the use of brick vaults for its covers. If you stop to see the execution of its walls, you can appreciate the fine ashlar work that makes you imagine the experienced builders who put it together.

A great advantage was that there was a unitary treatment in its execution, the relationship between the exterior and interior are fascinatingly solved, as well as the relationship between each one of the room that composes it.

Before you enter and visit, it is worth to pay attention to the main front, where we can find a beautiful stone work in the front altarpiece, a central niche stands out with the image of Virgin Mary and we can see two white crosses with little Corinthian columns. This treatment finishes in a big cornice that joins the two towers together.

To mark the richness of the central part decoration, the two towers are austere in the lower parts and let the front altar piece have the leading role. This small but important gesture is without doubt one more sample of mastery that they had in its conception and planning.

Images of the city of Cusco

Bell tower
Dome Company of Jesus
Cusco Cathedral
Huacaypata Square