By: Metacafe Affiliate U
Looming over the corner of Cuscos main square, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo embodies the clash between the Inca Empire and the Spanish colonists.
The church was built on the site of a palace built by the Inca Viracocha, who ruled Cusco 100 years before the conquistadors arrived.
Construction of the cross-shaped cathedral started in 1550, but it took almost a century to complete. Most of the stones were taken from nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
The mostly Inca workforce incorporated some of their own religious iconography into the building, with the head of a puma featuring prominently on the cathedral doors.
The enormous cathedral is flanked by two smaller churches. It houses more than 400 paintings, including many from the Cusco School.
During the movement in the 17th century painters from Cusco produced religious art thats now found in churches across Latin America.
Paintings of the Last Supper show Jesus and the Disciples eating guinea pig and tropical fruits.
One of the paintings depicts the great earthquake of 1650 that damaged most of the buildings in the city.
The cathedral also hosts the Lord of the Earthquakes, an icon of Jesus thats carried around the city on Easter Monday. An altarpiece covered in baroque silver plate stands at one end of the main hall, with an ornate cedar choir featuring carvings of saints, popes and bishops at the other.
At more than 2 meters high, and weighing almost 6000 kilograms, the Maria Angola bell is the largest in South America. Its got a crack in it, but people say it can still be heard from 20 miles away.
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