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La Compañía de Jesús

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in Cusco, Peru.

  • Photo of La Compañía de Jesús
  • Photo of La Compañía de Jesús
  • Photo of La Compañía de Jesús
  • Photo of La Compañía de Jesús
Photo of La Compañía de Jesús
Photo by flickr user jl FILPO
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Near Cusco Cathedral is the Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús) which rivals the cathedral in grandeur and prominence on the main square (an intentional move by the Jesuits, which did not go over too well).

Originally begun in the late 16th century, the church was almost entirely demolished by the earthquake of 1650, rebuilt, and finally finished 18 years later.

Like the cathedral, La Compañía was also built on the site of an important ancient palace, that of the Inca Huayna Cápac (said to be the most beautiful of all the Inca rulers' palaces).

La Compañía de Jesús is said to be one of the best examples of colonial Baroque architecture in the Americas. Inside, it's rather gloomy, but the gilded altar is stunning, especially when illuminated. The golden altarpiece, decorated with wreathed columns, features an old image of the Virgin and a panel of the Transfiguration attributed to the Flemish Jesuit Diego de la Puente.

La Compañía possesses several other important works of art, including a picture of Saint Ignatius de Loyola by the local painter Marcos Zapata, and a Crucifixion by Cristo de Burgos near the main altar.

Also of note are the paintings to either side of the entrance, which depict the marriages of Saint Ignatius's nephews. One of these especially exemplifies Peru's mestizo character, depicting the granddaughter of Manco Inca marrying the man who captured the last Incan leader, Tupac Amaru.

Continue reading on Sacred Destinations.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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