Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Cusco Cathedral)
Peru, Cusco

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Cusco Cathedral) is located in Peru, in the city of Cuzco, on the central square of the Plaza de Armas. The cathedral is the main temple of the city and the headquarters of the diocese of Cuzco. Its construction was started in 1560 on the site of the ruins of the Inca Palace of Viracocha, red granite blocks from the Sacsayhuaman fortress were used as building material. Even earlier, in 1539, the Triumph Church was erected on this site, which later became part of the Cathedral of Cuzco. During the nearly 100-year-old construction, not a single architect changed, designs and architectural styles changed, work stopped several times due to earthquakes. Finally, in 1649, under the leadership of the architect Juan de Herrera, the construction of the cathedral was completed, and its solemn consecration took place on August 19, 1668. Cusco Cathedral has the shape of a Latin cross, built in late Gothic style with elements of the Renaissance and Baroque. The temple consists of the main three-nave building and several side chapels. The dome is supported by fourteen cruciform columns of andesite, the ceiling is formed by 24 arched vaults. The cathedral has two carved wooden altars; in the central part of the temple is a massive silver altar. In the back of the central nave are luxurious carved cedar choirs made in the Plateresque style. The walls of the temple are decorated with paintings considered one of the best examples of painting by the Cuzco school, including the painting The Last Supper by Marcos Zapat. The shrine of the temple is the ancient wooden crucifix Black Christ, blackened over the centuries from the soot of candles, smoke and dust. The sacristy of the cathedral houses a valuable collection of paintings from the mid-17th century; in the aisle of Sala de la Plateria (Silver Room), a collection of religious artifacts made of silver is kept. On the right tower of the cathedral is the bell of Maria Angola Bell, cast in 1659, its diameter is slightly more than two meters, its weight is almost 6 tons. Under the main altar there is a crypt in which many archbishops of Cuzco are buried, in the crypt of the Triumph church there is an urn with the ashes of the Spanish conquistador Garcilaso de la Vega. Churches of Triumph and the Holy Family adjoin the cathedral. On February 8, 1928, the Cusco Cathedral was granted the status of the Lesser Basilica, and in 1983 the Cathedral as part of the city of Cuzco was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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