The Andean Baroque Route travels four churches: one located in Cusco and three in the so-called South Valley, the geographical space that connects the capital of the Inca Empire with the jungle of Madre de Dios and Lake Titicaca. This was a commercial axis, preceding the Incas, for the transport of gold, silver, coca leaves and animal fibres. Since then, archaeological sites can be found in its path, such as Tipon and Rumicolca, and ancient fabric factories as the one that can be found in Lucre.
The South Valley runs parallel to the Urubamba River, which springs from the Nevado Ausangate mountain and crosses two lagoons, one of them Huacarpay, Ramsar Site, rich in birds, cattails and beautiful sunsets. The valley is formed by small villages of farmers, traders and ranchers, and there are also towns of sorcerers, bakers, brick builders, as well as musicians and dancers who pay homage to the Virgen del Carmen and the Señor del Qoyllor Riti.
In three of these localities, Andahuaylillas, Huaro and Canincunca, there are Jesuit churches whose interiors, along with the church La Compañía in Cusco, exhibit the most impressive and outstanding baroque of Peru. An art which is born of the merger between the Andean worldview and nature and the Christianity brought by the Spaniards. A culture that creates a world of colour, expressiveness and transgression that fills the ceilings, walls and furniture of the temples.
These are not museum temples, they are living temples. Here we share life, faith, youth… from local traditions, from Quechua, from people’s realities. We would like for tourists to see these temples, but, at the same time, enjoy the landscape, the population, gastronomy and handcrafts, for people to interact with the rural population because all of it helps in the development of people.
Carlos Miguel Silva – Jesuit and parish priest of the ABR
Distance from Cusco: 42 km
Tour of churches in the South Valley: 3 km
Altitude: 3,450 – 3,200 msnm.
Recommended time for The Route: 3 a 4 horas.