Notes on the Geography of Peru: Cusco: Photo 14
The cathedral is flanked by two smaller churches. On the right here, cut off, is the Triunfo or "Triumph," the first church in town and opened in 1538 to mark the Conquest. The main building is the cathedral itself, completed in 1654, and on its right, invisible here, is a third and later church, Jesus Maria, from 1738. Internally they're interconnected, and visitors, entering in Jesus Maria, pass from a space painted white with faux marble to a large space of gray stone and then to one of tan.
Years later, from his home in Spain, Garcilaso de la Vega recalled the site: "Then there is the Cathedral, which opens onto the plaza. That building, in Inca times, was a beautiful great hall which served them as a plaza for their festivals on rainy days. They were houses of the Inca Viracocha, eighth King; the only one of them still standing in my time was the great hall; when the Spaniards entered that city they all quartered in it that they might be all together whatever might happen. I knew it thatched and saw it roofed with tiles." (Garcilaso, Royal Commentaries of the Inca, Book 7, Chapter 9, quoted in Gasparini, Inca Architecture, p. 198.)
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