Site #8: Qorikancha Temple.
Located halfway down the busiest avenue in Cusco (Sun Avenue), towers the Church of Santo Domingo. If you take a closer look, you will find that it is not your typical cathedral; it is a spectacular display of seamless Inca masonry. This temple is not-to-be-missed while touring through Cusco.
Qorikancha, in the Quechua dialect, means “Golden Temple.” This name is appropriate for what used to be the Inca’s principle temple–and yes, we’re talking the principle temple of the entire Inca Empire, which at one point spanned from Ecuador to Columbia to Bolivia to Chile. During the time of the Incas, the temple was covered in solid gold and was used to worship the Sun God called Inti.
Today, you can see what remains of the foundation of the temple. The Spanish knocked down the temple site and used the Inca stones as the base for their Santo Domingo cathedral. This makes for a fascinating combination of architecture and religion. The price is a staggering s/.10 ($3.50) and a guide can be hired for a couple soles more. Don’t miss this site, even if you only have an extra 45 minutes on your trip, use those minutes for a tour of the Qorikancha Temple.