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Korikancha Temple
Cusco Peru

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Climate
: Cusco features two well-defined seasons: the rainy season, from November to March, with average temperatures of 12 °C; and a dry season (the recommended time of year for visiting) from April to October, with cold nights, sunny days and average temperatures of 9 °C.

Access: Just a few meters from the center of the city of Cusco.

Korikancha is a classic example of the fusion of Inca and Western cultures, and was one of the most important temples in the Tahuantinsuyu. Its finely polished stone walls were used as the foundations of the Convent of Santo Domingo. The Korikancha Temple, whose walls were said to have been sheathed in gold and silver, was dedicated to sun worship, as well as containing images of the gods of thunder and Wiracocha, deities brought from various regions and the mummified bodies of Inca rulers. Worship within the temple was reserved for the highest-ranking figures of the era, and it was visited by representatives of distant, non-Inca communities all over the empire to render homage to the gods of the Tahuantinsuyu.

It was the first Inka, Manco Capac who built the original temple. But, it was the ninth, Pachacutec who since 1438 reconstructed, enlarged, improved and modernized the most important religious complex of the vast Inca Society. There are certain discrepancies about the complex's original name, and though they are not antagonistic ones, they cause a relative confusion. Frequently in chronicles and history treatises the name Intiwasi is found, (inti= sun, wasi= house) it means "Sun House"; also the name Intikancha is used and which would mean "Sun Palace" (this is considering that almost all Inca palaces had the noun "Kancha"). While that its most popular name is Korikancha that would mean "Golden Palace". Maria Rostworowski suggests that the ancient temple was known as "Intikancha" and after Pachacutec as "Korikancha".

The temple's main gate faced toward the Northeast; almost in the same position of the present-day entrance to the Santo Domingo (St. Dominic) Convent, overlooking the Intipanpa ("Sun Plaza") that today occupies the small park in front. According to chroniclers the Korikancha Temple was a religious complex constituted by temples dedicated to different deities. It had a layout very similar to that of a classical "kancha"; with enclosures around a central patio where every doorway was veneered with gold plates.

After the distribution of houses and palaces during the Spanish invasion, the Korikancha corresponded to Juan Pizarro who donated it to the Dominican Order represented by the first bishop of Cusco City Fray Vicente Valverde. He immediately executed construction of their church and convent over the most important Inca Temple demolishing it almost completely for adapting it to its new use. That original church was destroyed by an earthquake on March 31, 1650. Subsequently, the present-day structure was raised as well as the tower in 1780 with an elaborate baroque under direction of Fray Francisco Muñoz. On May 21st. 1950 another violent earthquake destroyed a large part of the convent and church as well as its tower leaving uncovered many Inkan structures and the interior area of the "Solar Round Building". By that time a strong "Indigenist Movement" suggested the relocation of the church and recovery of the Sun Temple; it is a pity that Catholic Church's political power did not allow that attempt for clearing the ruins of the major Tawantinsuyo's sanctuary.
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