Birgit Shockley

Birgit Shockley

Published: 14 Sep 2023


Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, is a mesmerizing ancient Inca site located in Cusco, Peru. This architectural marvel, built during the height of the Inca Empire, holds many intriguing secrets and enigmatic facts that continue to captivate historians, archaeologists, and visitors from around the world.

From its remarkable engineering to its religious significance, Qorikancha has left an indelible mark on Peruvian history. In this article, we will delve into 16 fascinating facts about Qorikancha that shed light on its importance and allure. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a curious traveler, or simply intrigued by ancient civilizations, prepare to be enthralled by the enigmatic facts that surround Qorikancha.

Table of Contents

The Golden Temple of the Incas

Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, was one of the most important religious sites for the Incas in ancient Peru.

Perfectly Aligned with the Cardinal Directions

One astonishing fact about Qorikancha is that it was built precisely aligned with the cardinal directions, showcasing the advanced engineering skills of the Incas.

A Masterpiece in Stone Masonry

The walls of Qorikancha were meticulously constructed using intricate stone masonry techniques. The precisely cut stones fit together seamlessly without the use of mortar.

An Incan Observatory

Qorikancha was not only a religious sanctuary but also served as an astronomical observatory. The Incas were skilled in studying the movements of celestial bodies.

Awe-Inspiring Golden Walls

Qorikancha was renowned for its stunning golden walls, adorned with sheets of gold and precious stones. It was an opulent display of the Incan empire’s wealth and power.

The Walls Were Coated in Gold Leaf

The golden walls of Qorikancha were created by applying thin layers of gold leaf onto the surface. This meticulous process required exceptional craftsmanship.

A Treasury of Precious Offerings

Qorikancha housed a vast collection of priceless treasures, including golden statues, ceremonial objects, and intricately designed textiles.

The Temple’s Inner Courtyard Held a Sacred Garden

Within the walls of Qorikancha, there was a sacred garden filled with beautiful flowers, plants, and even representations of animals made from gold and silver.

A Connection to the Inca Emperor

Qorikancha was directly associated with the Inca emperor, serving as a place of worship and offering rituals for the divine ruler of the empire.

Aligned with the Pleasure of the Sun

Qorikancha was specifically designed to capture the first rays of the sun during important astronomical events such as the solstices and equinoxes.

The Temple Was Dedicated to Inti, the Incan Sun God

Qorikancha was dedicated to Inti, the Incan sun god who represented fertility, agriculture, and prosperity.

Earthquakes Could Not Destroy Qorikancha

Despite experiencing multiple earthquakes throughout the centuries, Qorikancha remained remarkably intact, which is a testament to the architectural brilliance of the Incas.

Spanish Conquistadors Coveted its Riches

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru, they were mesmerized by the wealth and opulence of Qorikancha, leading to its looting and eventual destruction.

A Sacred Plaza with Remarkable Architecture

Surrounding Qorikancha, there was a plaza filled with other significant Incan structures, displaying the magnificence of Incan architecture and urban planning.

Qorikancha is Now a Blend of Incan and Colonial Architecture

After the Spanish conquest, the site of Qorikancha was transformed into a Spanish colonial church, resulting in a fascinating blend of Incan and European architectural styles.

A Testament to Incan Ingenuity and Spirituality

Qorikancha stands as a powerful reminder of the advanced engineering skills and deep spiritual beliefs of the Incan civilization.


In conclusion, Qorikancha is a truly fascinating landmark that carries immense historical and cultural significance. Its enigmatic features, such as the precision of its construction, the intertwining of Inca and Spanish architectural styles, and the astronomical alignments, continue to captivate visitors from around the world. The site serves as a testament to the advanced engineering and architectural expertise of the Inca civilization.

Qorikancha also sheds light on the profound religious and spiritual beliefs of the Inca people, with its dedication to Inti, the sun god. The intricate artwork, gold adornments, and sacred objects housed within its walls speak to the spiritual reverence and wealth of the Inca empire.

Visiting Qorikancha offers a unique opportunity to delve into the past and gain a deeper understanding of the rich history of the Inca civilization. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply someone looking to explore the wonders of the world, Qorikancha is a must-see destination that will leave you in awe.


Q: How old is Qorikancha?

A: Qorikancha dates back to the 15th century during the height of the Inca Empire. It was later converted into a church by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.

Q: What is the significance of the name Qorikancha?

A: Qorikancha translates to “golden enclosure” in Quechua, reflecting the temple’s legendary wealth and its extensive use of golden decorations during the Inca period.

Q: Are there guided tours available at Qorikancha?

A: Yes, there are guided tours available at Qorikancha. These tours provide valuable insights into the history and culture of the site, allowing visitors to fully appreciate its significance.

Q: Can I take photographs inside Qorikancha?

A: Yes, visitors are usually allowed to take photographs inside Qorikancha. However, it’s always best to check with the staff or guides on any specific restrictions or guidelines.

Q: Is Qorikancha accessible for people with mobility issues?

A: Qorikancha has limited accessibility for people with mobility issues due to its uneven terrain and staircases. However, efforts have been made to provide ramps and accessible pathways in certain areas of the site.

Q: Are there any discounts available for tickets to Qorikancha?

A: Some discounts might be available for students, seniors, and local residents. It’s advisable to check the official website or inquire at the ticket office for any current promotions or discounts.

Q: What are the operating hours of Qorikancha?

A: Qorikancha is typically open from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm daily, with occasional variations in the schedule. It’s recommended to confirm the exact opening hours before planning your visit.