To establish European thinking and religious beliefs with the indigenous Indian population three hundred years ago, the Spanish built a modest mud-brick and wooden church on the site of an old Incan temple in a small village about forty kilometres south of Cusco. Arriving late in the afternoon in dull light, the church certainly didn’t inspire any wonder, and I wished I’d stayed on the bus to Cusco. However the temptation was too great with descriptions likening this colonial church to the Sistine Chapel.
To open the doors is to unveil a dazzling array of wall paintings and frescoes contrasted by a richly glowing gilded altarpiece carved from wood. The artwork, rich in red and gold paint, tell powerful religious stories. One graphic painting highlights the punishments for going to hell and the rewards for getting to heaven. The ceiling is decorated in floral patterns and glitters with gold leaf.
Near the entrance is a baptismal prayer written in five languages including three local Indian languages revealing the Spaniards attempts to convert the population to Catholicism.
While lofty monikers like “the Sistine Chapel of the Americas” are a gross exaggeration, the modest travel wonder of Andahuaylillas is on the road between Lake Titicaca and Cusco and worth a brief stop.
Other Peru Posts
Pathways to the Gods (Nazca Lines)
Raiders of the Lost Tombs (Chauchilla Tombs)
Exploring the Incan Wonderland (Machu Picchu)
Trekking to the Lost City (Inca Trail)
Potatoes with your Guinea Pig, Sir?
Flight of the Condor (Colca Canyon)
Living in Reeds (Lake Titicaca)
Top Ten Travel Wonders of South America
Photo Credit: Fresco image kindly supplied by Ken at randomtruth