Art and Culture in Cusco
Cusco is a cultural capital par excellence, it is a mystical and cosmopolitan city, with ancestral customs that are kept alive thanks to its people; This is expressed in religious celebrations, dances, art and can be noticed in each of the streets of the historic center of the city. Cusco has many museums and art galleries, its works mix artistic imagination, art and conception of the Andean world with European cultural influence. The delicious landscapes of the city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, feed the inspiration of local artists. You can find amazing works of art, in commercial galleries, in art museums and in fairs and workshops held in the center from the city; as in the neighborhood of San Blas. Despite the maximum expression of religious works of art, it can be found in the many churches of the city of Cusco.
Art and Culture in the Navel of the World (Cusco)
Cusco is “the navel of the world”, the capital of the ancient Inca Empire (Tahuantinsuyo), the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and the archaeological capital of America. But they are not just works of art, Cusco is full of culture; in it you can find some of the most impressive historical-cultural places on the planet; Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world or Sacsayhuaman, one of the most mysterious places, are just some of them; but the culture reaches all the corners (and kitchens) of Cusco, taste the delicious local gastronomy, some of the dishes that you can try come from the time of the Incas, like the Chairo; but you can also get culture in the nights of Cusco, where you can exchange ideas and a drink with people of all religions and cultures from all countries of the world.
Although not all, these are places where you can enjoy art and culture in Cusco
The Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History in Cusco will show you a collection (somewhat heterogeneous) of the animals and birds that you can see in the region; Among the collection you can see more than 150 species of snakes belonging to the Amazon, and some of them can be seen in the jungle brow of the Machu Picchu National Park.
The Inka Museum
“The Inka Museum” is the museum that lasts and keeps alive the “Andean Culture”, its presentation involves the visitors, allowing them to be part of the exhibition; a “cultural adventure” that will allow you to see and enjoy the evolution of the culture and the Andean individual and his society.
The Qoricancha Museum
“The Qoricancha Site Museum” has 5 rooms in which the history of the ancient Peruvians is exhibited and explained, showing pre-Inca and Inca pieces recovered from the excavations made in the place; It also shows colonial pieces and samples of the chronological evolution of the ancient inhabitants of the city of Cusco. The pieces include fragments of ceramics, samples of metallurgy, weavings, sculptures, paintings and even musical instruments. To enter this and other museums on the list, you will need to know how to buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art shows beautiful works of contemporary art, influenced by the ancestral Andean culture. It is an ideal place for all people who enjoy modern art; This museum is located inside the municipal palace in Plaza Regocijo, one block from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
The Cabrera House
Casa Cabrera is an art gallery, a museum and also a cultural center where you can be in contact with people from Cusco; its construction date is located in the sixteenth century. The construction was seriously damaged by an earthquake (in the seventeenth century) but it was recovered and restored. At present, the Cabrera house houses a permanent exhibition of historical photographs taken by the renowned Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi; but you can also find works by other authors and a valuable collection of ancient coins.
The Museum of Religious Art of Cusco
The foundations of this building belong to the ancient Palace of Inca Roca; the construction that can be seen today is the Archbishop’s Palace, built in the eighteenth century and where currently operates the Religious Art Museum of Cusco. As the name implies, this museum houses some of the best works of religious art, however there are people who enjoy more the construction itself; the walls are beautifully decorated, with cedar ceilings and some unique stained glass windows designed to be specially designed for the Archbishop’s Palace.
The Museum of Popular Art in Cusco
It is located in the basement of the tourist ticket office of Cusco half a block from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco on Av. El Sol. Its collection houses many interesting pieces of art, pottery, paintings, sculptures and photographs of many notable Peruvian artists; among them Edilberto Mérida, Hilario Mendivil and also Santiago Rojas; some of them have very famous galleries, in the neighborhood of artists of San Blas. The Museum of Popular Art is property of the American Institute of Art, reason why its exhibition is very varied. It is located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
Museum of the Convent of Santa Catalina
The museum is located in the heart of the beautiful Santa Catalina monastery and has one of the best art collections in the whole city; It hosts numerous works by artists of the famed “Escuela Cusqueña”. In addition to religious works, his exhibition includes colonial works, but also some ancient religious relics; It is an impressive chapel full of Baroque details. It is located on Calle Santa Catalina Angosta less than one block from the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru. The main altar carved in cedar is one of the details that can not be overlooked.
The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
The “Museum of Pre-Columbian Art” is located inside a colonial house in the Plazoleta Nazarenas; the construction is beautiful has an Inca courtyard built around 1450 AD. which was used as a ceremonial place. Its exhibition includes very interesting pre-Columbian artifacts belonging to the ancient cultures that inhabited the Cusco Valley. This exhibition contains more than 450 works of art, including jewelry, ceramic pieces and some Inca treasures, made between 1250 and 1532 AD.
Hilario Mendívil Museum
The “Museo Hilario Mendivil” exhibits the original works of art of the late local religious artist Hilario Mendivil (1929 – 1977). The exhibition is a series of unique rice sculptures (rice plaster); They are often of a religious nature and tend to appear with elongated necks, a characteristic characteristic of the artist who was inspired by the stylized necks of llamas and alpacas. The most outstanding works are the “Virgen de Belén” and the “Virgen de la Leche”. You can find this gallery on one side of the main square of the traditional neighborhood of San Blas.
Festivities in Cusco
Traditional festivals are part of the culture of a city; know that Cusco has many religious and traditional celebrations, some that come from the time of the Incas and others that were acquired with the Colony; some of them were converted into intangible heritage; among these we have the Ollantaytambo festival (January), the international festival of the Inti Raymi and the Corpus Christi (June), the feast of the Virgin of Paucartambo (August) and many, many other celebrations throughout the year.