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San Pedro Church (San Pedro Apostol de Andahuaylillas)

Step inside “the Sistine Chapel of the Andes,” a richly decorated 17th-century church full of carvings and religious paintings.

Behind the modest stucco façade of the San Pedro Church (San Pedro Apostol de Andahuaylillas) is an interior filled with a dazzling display of religious art. With almost every inch covered with canvases, murals and ornamentation, the building has been dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of the Andes.”

The current church was constructed between 1688 and 1699. It replaced an earlier church that was destroyed when Cusco was hit by a massive earthquake in 1650. Once you step inside, give your eyes a few seconds to adjust to the lavish display of artworks in their gold leaf-covered frames. Then, take your time to look over the pieces. Start by admiring the powerful and expressive imagery of the two murals by the front door. Created by the 17th-century Peruvian painter Luis de Riaño, the paintings depict the path to Heaven and the path to Hell. 

As you study depictions of saints and religious scenes, look also for images of Andean flowers, fruits and geometric shapes. The local artists who created the paintings were influenced by European masters but chose to mix indigenous symbols with traditional Christian ones.

Admire the elaborate Mudéjar-style ceiling. This is a form of southern Spanish architecture and decoration influenced by the Moors. The covering consists of a mixture of cane, straw and mud, which form a surface that resembles wooden beams. It was made through a pre-Columbian technique called kur-kur.

One of the highlights of a visit to San Pedro Church is standing before the altarpiece. Marvel at this huge and elaborate work of art, which is carved out of cedar and covered in gold and silver leaf. Also, note the two elaborately decorated organs near the church’s entrance, which were installed between 1606 and 1610.

Situated in the village of Andahuaylillas, San Pedro Church is 22 miles (36 kilometers) from Cusco and can be easily reached by bus from the city. The church is open daily and there is a small admission charge.


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Hilton Garden Inn Cusco SG$125
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    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Cusco Historic Center, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of San Pedro Church, Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral. Museo de Plantas Sagradas Magicas y Medicinales and Calle Marquez are also within 10 minutes. San Pedro Station is 10 minutes by foot and Cusco Wanchaq Station is 25 minutes.

    Antigua Casona San Blas SG$133
    Antigua Casona San Blas

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      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Cusco Historic Center, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of San Blas Church, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral. Hatunrumiyoc and Twelve Angled Stone are also within 5 minutes. Cusco Wanchaq Station is 15 minutes by foot and San Pedro Station is 18 minutes.

      Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco SG$208
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        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Cusco Historic Center, this luxury hotel is steps away from Coricancha and Kusicancha. Centro de Textiles and Santa Catalina Convent are also within 10 minutes. Cusco Wanchaq Station is 10 minutes by foot and San Pedro Station is 14 minutes.

        JW Marriott El Convento Cusco SG$222
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          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Cusco Historic Center, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of UNSAAC Yale International Center, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral. Museum of Religious Art and Hatunrumiyoc are also within 5 minutes. Cusco Wanchaq Station is 15 minutes by foot and San Pedro Station is 15 minutes.

          Sonesta Hotel Cusco SG$111
          Sonesta Hotel Cusco

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            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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            Novotel Cusco SG$130
            Novotel Cusco

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            San Augustin 239 Esquina, Cusco, Cusco
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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              Polo Cusco Suites SG$54
              Polo Cusco Suites

              Polo Cusco Suites

                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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                Tierra Viva Cusco Centro SG$103
                Tierra Viva Cusco Centro

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