Church and Convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco
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Church and Convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco

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Church and Convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco

During the Inca period, the Coricancha temple was the most important religious site in Tahuantinsuyo. Later, during the colony, its foundations were used to build the church and convent of Santo Domingo, one of the most important Christian temples in Cusco. Currently, both structures (the Inca and the Baroque structure) survive time with their impressive towers, bell towers, paintings and other treasures.



The church and convent of Santo Domingo is a colonial construction of Cusco. It was built in 1538 under the orders of the Dominican order. It is located on the bases of the famous Coricancha temple, the most important of the Inca empire. It has a baroque structure that uses the strong stone walls of the Inca temple. Inside, its main altarpiece stands out as well as its collection of paintings made by artists from the 'Cusco school of painting' (16th and 17th centuries).


How to get?

The best option to get to the church and convent of Santo Domingo is to go on foot. From the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, just follow El Sol avenue for a few blocks until you reach the Coricancha. The entrance to the church is through Ahuacpinta avenue 659.


Colonial architecture and religious artwork

The Church of Santo Domingo is one of the most important historical monuments in Lima, Peru. Its construction dates back to the 16th century, when the Dominican friars arrived in the city and founded a convent in the place where the church stands today.


The church has a beautiful colonial architecture that combines baroque and neoclassical elements. Inside, you can admire numerous works of religious art, such as paintings, sculptures and altarpieces carved in gilded wood.


In addition, it has an impressive library that houses a collection of more than 25,000 ancient books and manuscripts, some of which date back to the 15th century.


History and important events

  • The church of Santo Domingo is also of great historical importance. During colonial times, the convent was used as a jail and court of the Inquisition, and many of the prisoners are said to have been tortured in the building's dungeons.
  • It was also the place where the body of the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was laid to rest after his assassination in 1541.
  • At the time of the independence of Peru, the church of Santo Domingo was one of the main centers of political and social activity. Here the leaders of the struggle for independence met to plan their actions and discuss strategies.

Curiosities and interesting anecdotes

Among the most interesting anecdotes told about the church of Santo Domingo, the story of the famous catacomb stands out. In the basement of the church, a labyrinth of underground passages was found where Dominican friars and the most prominent members of Lima society were buried during colonial times. Although the catacomb was closed in the 19th century, some of the remains preserved there can still be visited.


Another curiosity is that the Santo Domingo church was also the scene of the first theatrical performance in Lima. In 1588, the Dominican friars organized a play in the church atrium to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since then, the theater has been one of the most important artistic manifestations of Peruvian culture.


In addition, the church of Santo Domingo has a chapel dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario, considered the patron saint of the city of Lima. The chapel houses a beautiful image of the Virgin, carved in wood by an indigenous artist in the 17th century.


Where is the church of Santo Domingo?

The Church of Santo Domingo is located in the historic center of Lima, the capital of Peru. Its exact address is Jirón Camaná 170, Cercado de Lima. It is easily accessible from any part of the city, either by public transport or by taxi.


When was the convent of Santo Domingo founded?

The Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima, Peru, was founded in 1535 by Dominican friars, shortly after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Peruvian territory. It is one of the oldest convents in Latin America and an important historical and cultural monument of the city of Lima. Since then, the convent has undergone various restorations and renovations, but has maintained its original structure and has become one of the most visited places by tourists and faithful in the Peruvian capital.


How important was the convent of Santo Domingo during the viceregal era?

During the viceregal era in Peru, the Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima had great religious, cultural and social importance. The Dominican friars, who had founded the convent in 1535, played an important role in the evangelization and catechization of the indigenous peoples, as well as in the education and training of the country's future leaders.


In addition, the convent housed one of the most important libraries in Latin America, with thousands of ancient books and manuscripts that are preserved to this day. It was also home to the Royal University of San Marcos, the first university in Latin America, founded in 1551 by King Carlos V of Spain.


During the viceregal era, the Santo Domingo Convent was also the scene of important historical events, such as the Inquisition and the assassination of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city of Lima. For all these reasons, this convent is considered a cultural and religious heritage of great value for Peru and all of Latin America.


Convent Museum

The Santo Domingo Convent also has an interesting museum that houses a collection of religious and archaeological art, as well as historical objects from the Viceroyalty and Republican times.


In the museum, visitors can admire a wide variety of pieces, such as colonial paintings, carved wooden sculptures, gold and silver liturgical objects, old books and manuscripts, among others. You can also appreciate some archaeological remains of the pre-Columbian culture, such as ceramics and textiles.


One of the jewels of the museum is the famous Chapel of Santa Rosa de Lima, considered one of the most beautiful in the city of Lima. This chapel was built in the 17th century and decorated with murals and frescoes from the period, depicting scenes from the life of Santa Rosa de Lima, the first saint in Latin America.


In short, the Santo Domingo Convent museum is a must-see for those interested in the history and religious art of Peru and Latin America.


What is the Convent of Santo Domingo known for?

From my point of view as a journalist and lover of Peruvian history, the Santo Domingo Convent is one of the most iconic and well-known places in Lima.


Located in the heart of the district of Lima, this convent dates back to the 16th century and is an example of colonial art and architecture in the country. But what makes the Santo Domingo Convent so special and well-known is that inside it is the tomb of one of the most important figures in Peruvian history: Santa Rosa de Lima.


Santa Rosa de Lima is the first saint of America and she is known for her miracles and her devotion to God. She was born in Lima in 1586, she dedicated herself to religious life and to helping the poor and sick of the city. This is why, after her death in 1617, her tomb in the Convent of Santo Domingo became a place of pilgrimage and devotion for thousands of people.


In addition to the tomb of Santa Rosa de Lima, the Santo Domingo Convent has an impressive library that houses more than 25,000 ancient books and manuscripts, some of which date back to the 15th century.


What saint stands out in the Santo Domingo Convent?

The Convent of Santo Domingo is known for housing the remains of one of the most important saints in Latin America: San Martín de Porres.


San Martín de Porres was a 16th century Dominican friar who dedicated his life to helping those most in need. He was recognized for his great humility, his charity and his love for animals, to which several miracles are attributed.


In the Convent of Santo Domingo, you can visit his museum, where some of the saint's personal objects are exhibited, such as his habit, his work table and his bed. In addition, you can see his relics, such as his skull and his incorrupt arm.


The convent church also has a chapel dedicated to San Martín de Porres, where his remains are found on a silver altar. This chapel is a place of devotion and pilgrimage for many faithful who come to ask for his intercession.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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