The church of San Pedro in Cusco
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The church of San Pedro in Cusco

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The church of San Pedro in Cusco

The church of San Pedro is one of the most famous religious temples in Cusco. It is located in the small square of the same name, in front of the oldest and most touristy food market in the city. The temple was built in 1688 in the space where the natural hospital operated. It is made in an Andean baroque style. Inside there are canvases and sculptures with religious themes. Its enormous three-section altarpiece made of gold leaf stands out.


The devastating earthquake of 1650 destroyed the first building. Between 1688 and 1699, the construction of the current temple was carried out by the architect Juan Tomás Tuyru Túpac Inca. The financing was borne by the bishopric, the clergy and the chapter.


The Church has a single nave and was built entirely in stone. It has a baroque and gilded main altar that has a frontal, tabernacle and silver racks. With an architecture of perfect baroque correctness and a plan of great solemnity, all the dark stone is bound with white mortar. The façade is of the traditional Cuzco type and is inspired by the nearby cathedral molds, but the towers have arrow slits and vents, each ending in four lanterns and a capital.



The Church of San Pedro is located on Cascaparo Street, in the historic center of the city. Right in front of the San Pedro market and the square of the same name.



The church of San Pedro in Cusco has a long history that began with its construction in 1688 on the native hospital. The earthquake of 1650 caused much damage to the infrastructure, which led to its remodeling and current form. Like many religious temples in the city, it was built following the Baroque tradition. Its main nave is shaped like a Latin cross. Its canvases, sculptures and the main altarpiece stand out, which is covered in gold leaf and shows the effigies of several saints and virgins. In the central part of this altar, the image of the Virgin of Candelaria stands out.


How to get there?

The church of San Pedro is located a few meters from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. Although it is possible to take a taxi from any part of the city, most tourists arrive on foot (approximately 10-minute walk). In front of the church is the famous San Pedro food market. On one side, the Peru Rail train station to Machu Picchu.



During the colony, the area occupied by the church of San Pedro was a hospital, which was founded in 1556 to serve the indigenous population of Cusco. As was the custom of the Spanish, they had to have a chapel. Thus, one was built in 1572 thanks to the support of Viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza. In 1650, a strong earthquake shook the city, causing the collapse of several buildings, including the natural hospital and the chapel inside.


In 1688, work began on the construction of the church of San Pedro thanks to the initiative of the bishop of Cusco Manuel de Mollinedo. The work was carried out by the Cusco architect and sculptor Juan Tomás Tuyro Túpac. For this, stones were needed from Mount Picchu, close to the city and which was an Inca construction. In 1950 the church suffered some damage from an earthquake. Currently, it is one of the most famous temples. It is located near the San Pedro market.



The church is made up of a three-section imafront as well as two side towers with Doric bell towers. The façade is decorated with niches and Corinthian columns. In the central part a raised cross stands out. The main nave is shaped like a Latin cross. To support its vaulted ceiling, four arches rise at the base of which eight chapels were built with different figures of saints and virgins. The entire complex has a solid structure 68 meters long and 33 meters wide. It is made mainly of stone in an Andean baroque style, similar to the other Christian temples in the city made during the colonial period.


Church interior

Main altarpiece – The main altarpiece is made up of three bodies covered in gold leaf where you can see several images and sculptures of Christian saints and virgins. In the central part the image of the Virgin of Candelaria stands out. The decoration of the altar is made up of a large set of carvings with religious themes. In addition to the main altarpiece, there are up to ten side altarpieces, also covered in gold leaf. The walnut-colored pulpit features the effigies of Saint Paul and Saint Peter.

Paintings and sculptures – The church displays several pieces of art, including sculptures and paintings, from the Cusco school of art, which was developed during the colony. Highlights include the canvases that portray Bishop Mollinedo, benefactor of the temple, the paintings of five apostles by the Cusco artist Marcos Ribera as well as others that represent biblical passages.


Price of admission

The visit to the church of San Pedro is free during mass hours (preferably Saturdays and Sundays from 7 in the morning).



Saturdays and Sundays from 7 to 8 in the morning.


More information

The church of San Pedro in Cusco is famous for the cult it pays to the child 'Manuelito' (Andean representation of the baby Jesus). Many Cusco families have an effigy of this child, who is blessed in the church of San Pedro on December 25 and January 1.


The main image of the church corresponds to the Virgin of Candelaria whose festival, on February 2 of each year, is characterized by typical dances and costumes. The image of the saint is carried on litters through the streets of Cusco accompanied by dances and troupes.



The church of San Pedro is located a few steps from some popular places in Cusco, such as: the San Pedro market, the Santa Ana arch, the church and plaza of San Francisco. Take advantage of your visit to the church to discover these other tourist attractions in the city.


Many colonial churches were built in the Historic Center of Cusco, such as the church of San Pedro. Do not miss the opportunity to visit other churches such as: the church of the Company of Jesus, the church of Santo Domingo (Coricancha), the temple of San Blas or the famous Cathedral of Cusco.


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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