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Andahuaylillas Church
Cusco Peru

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Climate
: Cusco enjoys an average annual temperature of 11°C (Maximum 17°C and minimum -2°C). The rain season runs from November to March.

Access: The chapel is 39 km south of Cusco and an hour by car.

If Michael Angel had worn a poncho and the Andean chullo cap, he would have undoubtedly signed his works on the walls of the Church of Andahuaylillas.

In fact, the superb murals that line the arches of this tiny chapel just 36 km from Cusco have given rise to its nickname, the Sixtine Chapel of the Andes. Andahuaylillas -originally Antawaylla or "field of copper"- is a small village doted with a benign climate and easy-going people.

In the classic style of country churches, Andahuaylillas -built by the Jesuits in the late sixteenth century- is a simple construction made of thick adobe mud-brick walls, common in colonial buildings, and features a relatively modest structure: a single nave with a belltower and a façade with two solid stone columns that stand out against the others around the main entrance. The church, however, is one of the finest examples of Peruvian colonial art: on the inner side of the façade are mural paintings representing the path between good and evil.

Further inside the chapel, meanwhile, there is an impressive number of motifs that decorate the arches and roofs -many of them from the Cusco School. The effect is crowned by a portrait of the Immaculate Conception attributed to the grand master painter Murillo.

The main altar, which is decorated in goldleaf from the Amazon region. The Baroque work of art is carved out of cedar with leaves of gold, while above it the walls and ceiling are decorated with murals of geometric designs and golden decorations. On the side walls there are other altars and chapels embellished with a collection of anonymous oil paintings belonging to the Cusco School.

These and other valuable paintings make Andahuaylillas yet another treasure in the Urubamba Valley, in Cusco.


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