Nathalie Medellin

Nathalie Medellin

Published: 14 Sep 2023


When it comes to ancient landmarks, few are as mesmerizing and awe-inspiring as Qorikancha. Located in Cusco, Peru, this extraordinary temple complex holds immense historical and cultural significance. Qorikancha, also known as the “Temple of the Sun,” was once the most important religious site of the Inca Empire. Its architectural brilliance, intricate carvings, and lavish gold décor captured the imagination of all who laid eyes upon it.

In this article, we will delve into Qorikancha’s fascinating history and explore its intriguing features. From the elaborate rituals performed within its walls to the incredible technologies employed in its construction, Qorikancha never fails to astonish. Prepare to be captivated as we reveal 18 unbelievable facts about this incredible landmark, shedding light on its significance as a testament to the ingenuity and spirituality of the ancient Inca civilization.

Table of Contents

Fascinating Blend of Inca and Spanish Architecture

Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, is a testament to the incredible craftsmanship and architectural brilliance of the Inca Empire. Situated in Cusco, Peru, this ancient temple showcases a unique blend of Inca and Spanish architectural styles.

The Stone Walls Were Once Covered in Gold

One of the most awe-inspiring facts about Qorikancha is that its walls were once embellished with gold sheets, making it a dazzling sight to behold. The Inca Empire had an abundance of gold, and it was used extensively to adorn their sacred structures.

Astronomical Alignments of Qorikancha

Qorikancha was more than just a temple. It was an astronomical observatory that was skillfully designed to align with significant celestial events. The windows and openings of the temple were meticulously placed to mark solstices and equinoxes.

The Walls Were Built with Perfect Precision

The remarkable precision of the stone masonry at Qorikancha leaves visitors in awe. The stones fit together so seamlessly that even a blade of grass cannot be inserted between them. The Inca engineers were true masters of their craft.

Qorikancha Was the Most Important Temple in the Inca Empire

Qorikancha held immense religious and political significance for the Inca Empire. It was considered the most sacred temple and served as the religious center of the empire.

The Temple Was Dedicated to the Sun God Inti

Inti, the Sun God, was the most revered deity in Inca mythology. Qorikancha was built as a tribute to him and served as a place of worship and offerings.

The Spanish Built a Church on Top of Qorikancha

Following the Spanish conquest of Peru, the conquistadors demolished part of Qorikancha and constructed the Church of Santo Domingo on its foundations. The juxtaposition of Inca and Spanish architecture can still be seen today.

The Walls Withstood Earthquakes

Despite the violent earthquakes that have shaken the region over centuries, the stone walls of Qorikancha have remained remarkably intact. This is a testament to the exceptional engineering and construction techniques employed by the Inca civilization.

Qorikancha Was a Repository of Inca Knowledge

Qorikancha was not only a place of worship, but it also housed an extensive collection of Inca artifacts and knowledge. It served as a center for education and was entrusted with preserving Inca wisdom and history.

Gold Figurines Were Kept at Qorikancha

Many valuable gold figurines were stored at Qorikancha, including representations of animals, plants, and sacred symbols. These precious items showcased the wealth and artistic abilities of the Inca civilization.

The Temple Was Destroyed by Earthquakes

In 1650, a devastating earthquake struck Cusco, causing extensive damage to Qorikancha. Many of its walls and structures collapsed, leaving behind remnants of its former grandeur.

Sunlight Illuminated the Temple’s Precious Offerings

The strategic placement of windows and openings in Qorikancha allowed sunlight to pour into the temple, highlighting the shimmering gold and silver offerings left by worshippers.

The Spanish Pillaged Qorikancha for Its Riches

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Cusco, they were astounded by the wealth and opulence of Qorikancha. They looted the temple, stripping it of its gold and other precious treasures.

Indigenous Resistance Against the Spanish Conquerors

The indigenous population fiercely resisted the Spanish conquest and the destruction of Qorikancha. Many tales of brave resistance and attempts to preserve Inca culture emerged during this tumultuous period.

Qorikancha Today: A Testament to Inca Resilience

Despite the devastation and looting, Qorikancha still stands today as a symbol of Inca resilience and cultural heritage. It serves as a reminder of the once magnificent Inca Empire and the remarkable achievements of its civilization.

Qorikancha at the Heart of Cusco’s Historic Center

Qorikancha is located in the heart of Cusco’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It continues to attract visitors from all around the world who are captivated by its historical and architectural significance.

Qorikancha: A Window into the Inca Civilization

Exploring Qorikancha offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history and culture of the Inca civilization. It provides insights into their religious beliefs, architectural prowess, and their deep connection with nature and the cosmos.

Preserving Qorikancha for Future Generations

Efforts are being made to preserve Qorikancha and protect it from further deterioration. Restoration projects and ongoing maintenance ensure that this architectural marvel continues to inspire and educate generations to come.


In conclusion, Qorikancha is not just any ordinary landmark. It is a place that holds centuries of history, culture, and architectural brilliance. These 18 unbelievable facts about Qorikancha only scratch the surface of what this magnificent landmark has to offer. From its origins as a revered temple of the Inca Empire to its transformation into a Spanish colonial church, Qorikancha has stood the test of time and continues to captivate visitors from around the world. Its intricate stone walls, golden interior, and stunning celestial observatory showcase the ingenuity and wisdom of the ancient Inca civilization. Qorikancha is a testament to the rich heritage of Peru and a reminder of the remarkable achievements of our ancestors. So, if you ever find yourself in Cusco, make sure to visit Qorikancha and immerse yourself in its awe-inspiring beauty.


Q: What is Qorikancha?
A: Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, is a historic site in Cusco, Peru. It was considered the most important religious site of the Inca Empire and later became a Spanish colonial church.Q: How old is Qorikancha?
A: Qorikancha dates back to the 15th century, during the reign of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. However, it has undergone various modifications and additions over the years.Q: What is the significance of Qorikancha?
A: Qorikancha held immense religious and symbolic importance to the Inca civilization. It was believed to be the center of the Inca world, dedicated to the worship of Inti, the Sun God.Q: What can I see at Qorikancha?
A: At Qorikancha, you can admire the stunning Inca stonework, intricately carved walls, and the remnants of the Spanish colonial church. Additionally, there are exhibits showcasing the history and culture of the Inca Empire.Q: Can I visit Qorikancha?
A: Yes, Qorikancha is open to visitors. You can explore the site and learn about its fascinating history through guided tours or self-guided exploration.Q: Is there an entry fee for Qorikancha?
A: Yes, there is an entry fee to visit Qorikancha. The fee covers the maintenance and preservation of the landmark.Q: Are there any restrictions when visiting Qorikancha?
A: Yes, visitors are expected to follow certain rules when visiting Qorikancha. This includes respecting the site, not touching or tampering with the artifacts or structures, and following any guidelines provided by the staff.Q: Can I take photographs at Qorikancha?
A: Photography is generally allowed at Qorikancha. However, there may be restrictions on using flash or tripods, so it’s best to check with the staff or guides before taking any pictures.Q: How long does it take to visit Qorikancha?
A: The time required to visit Qorikancha can vary depending on the individual’s interest and pace. On average, a visit to Qorikancha can take around 1-2 hours.Q: Are there any guided tours available at Qorikancha?
A: Yes, guided tours are available at Qorikancha. These tours provide a deeper insight into the history, architecture, and significance of the site.