First of all some important requirements you should consider before you visit the cathedral it is not allowed to take pictures or videos, also it is not allowed to touch the artworks and since it is a holy place you should dress properly (long sleeves and pants recommended) and behave respectfully. The doors of the cathedral are open to genuine worshippers between 6am and 10am.
The official name for the cathedral is “Catedral Basílica de la Virgen de la Asunción” (The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin), it was built in 1560 and took almost 100 years to complete. In 1983 it was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cathedral is one of the Cusco’s greatest repositories of colonial art, it has a rectangular floor design and has three large doors out of wood. The setting of the cathedral persists out of 14 cruciform pillars carved from Andesite stone to support 24 ribbed, arched or star shaped ceilings. Many stones mostly used in the construction for the outer walls where taked from the famous and closeby Inca site called Sacsayhuamán. The principle altar which dominates the center of the cathedral is embossed in silver and consecrated to the Lady of Assumption. Also very beautiful and worth seeing are the from pure cedar wood crafted choir stalls.The cathedral has 14 side chapels which house various artworks, paintings, alters and statues of saints and virgins.
You will find one of the most famous paintings here in Cusco, which is called “ The Last Supper”, painted by Cusco Master – Marcos Zapata, the painting is very unique and special since you will find a guinea pig in it, but your tour guide will tell you the story behind it and you will be amazed.
Also you definitely have to look for the oldest surviving painting in Cusco, showing the entire city during the great earthquake of 1650. The inhabitants can be seen parading around the plaza with a crucifix, praying for the earthquake to stop, which it miraculously did. This precious crucifix is called “El Señor de los Temblores” (The Lord of the Earthquakes). Every year on Holy Monday, the Señor is taken out on parade and his devotees throw ñucchu flowers at him – these resemble blood and are a symbol for the wounds of crucifixion.
As you can tell by the quick insight I gave you, this cathedral in Cusco holds many stories and secrets within which your tourguide will show and explain to you in about 40 minutes. For me it was the perfect start I learned so much about the history of Peru and Cusco, their beliefs and the cathedral itself is just breathtaking and colossal.