Cuzco’s churches are some of the most spectacular in the New World. Many areas are more spectacular than the famed cathedrals of Europe and combine Andean elements that make them perhaps more interesting. Installing Christendom on a mass level first began here on the continent. To start this tour, walk or take a taxi to Plazoleta San Blas, where you will find the Iglesia San Blas. The church is best known for its mestizo-carved wooden pulpit.
Next, head up Carmen Alto and make a left down the street of 7 Angelitos and continue down 07 Culebras to the Plazuela Las Nazarenas, home to the MAP museum and the Hotel Monasterio. Here you will find the Convento Las Nazarenas, an 18th-century fresco inside. Note the mermaid motif on the doorway. You will make your way down to the Plaza de Armas, passing the Museo Inka along the way.
The Cathedral, Cusco’s most spectacular colonial building, is next. The foundation is part of an Incan Palace. Across the Plaza and just up Mantos in the direction of the stone archway, you will find the Iglesia y Convento de la Merced on the left-hand side.
This church holds the remains of Gonzalo Pizarro and the two Almagros but is best known for its jeweled monstrance on display in the museum. She was turning back to the Plaza and the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus on the right side. Rivaling the Cathedral in grandeur, the twin towers and delicate murals make it perhaps the most photogenic. Just around the corner is the Iglesia y Convento de Santa Catalina.
In addition to the church itself, you can visit the site museum, which has an extensive collection of religious artifacts and art, perfect for this walk. So, after all this, see, Qoricancha, the Temple of the Sun, or Santo Domingo. Just head south through Loreto, the narrow alley with fine Incan stonework on each side.
You will run directly into Qoricancha, perhaps also into little girls in traditional dress holding sheep in hopes of a tip for a photo. After the picture and giving the girls more and more money until they are satisfied, you will enter the church/temple witnessing the combination of Incan and Spanish religious pride.