While talking about the historical evolution of Peru, we cannot leave behind the mestizo writer Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, a renowned character of the colonial era that adopted both Inca and Spanish cultures. Currently, the chronicler’s house is a significant museum in Cusco that looks to portray the life story of the writer and the evolution of Cusco throughout the pre-Inca, Inca, and Colonial era.
The structure of Casa Garcilaso dates back to the XVI century, it was designated to Francisco de Oñate at the beginning of the conquest. Later, it belonged to the Spanish conqueror Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas, father of the famous writer.
Like most colonial structures, it was constructed on top of the sediments of the Cusipata Plaza, another Inca settlement in the area. Therefore, it enjoys the distinctive hybrid architecture that harmonizes the Inca and Colonial times perfectly.
As aforementioned, Casa Garcilaso is the headquarters of the Regional History Art Museum of Cusco, a significant attraction that shows the cultural impact of the virreinal times throughout the colonization process.
The Museum has several exhibitions with incredible pieces of the pre-Columbian and colonial era, as well as the influence of the lifework of Garcilaso de la Vega. It is certainly one of the must-visit attractions within the Historic Center of Cusco, and here we’ll tell you why.
The colonial mansion was built during the early age of the Spanish conquest, it is one of the oldest structures from that time. Although the building was severely damaged due to the seismic activity of the region, it was rebuilt several times and now, thanks to those renovations and its Inca sediments it has withstood years of earthquakes.
The site was home to the Spanish Conqueror Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas, where he lived along with his wife, the Inca Princess Isabel Chimpu Ocllo, granddaughter of Tupac Inca Yupanqui. Both were parents of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, which is why the famous writer had both Spanish and Inca cultures present in his life until he turned 20 years old.
Likewise, the life work of Garcilaso de la Vega had a lot of influence worldwide even though he lived in Spain most of his adult life. The Inca royalty descendant, portrayed the renowned pre-columbian civilization as “benevolent monarchs who ruled a country where everyone lived in a homeland of justice and abundance, where there were no beggars or idlers.”
Therefore, his most famous book was banned in Peru by the Spanish crown since it was considered “dangerous.” However, the book was not printed again in the Americas until 1918, but copies continued to be circulated secretly.
Eventually, the colonial house was acquired by the Peruvian government who later turned it into a historical museum. Besides the cultural heritage of the structure itself, the Regional History Art Museum is of great importance to Cusco since it shows the development of two important eras in the region.
1. Inca Pottery Gallery
The exhibition looks to exponentially portray the artistic expression of the Incas. It comprehends several domestic and ceremonial artifacts with the distinctive style of late intermediate time.
2. Goldsmithing and Metalwork Gallery
The archeological artifacts found in Cusco and its surroundings hint to the impressive handling in goldsmithing and metalwork of the Incas. The Quechua civilization left behind several ceremonial ornaments, construction tools, and jewelry made of gold, silver, and copper.
3. Sacsayhuaman Micro-sculptures Gallery
Thanks to the excavations carried out in the Sacsayhuaman Archeological Site, about 300 micro-sculptures pieces were found. These small artworks are exhibited in the Regional Museum of Cusco.
4. Marcavalle Gallery
The Marcavalle culture was one of the first civilizations to acquire a distinctive identity in the Cusco region. Along the valley were found several pieces and fragments that date back to 1000 B.C. and are showcased in the museum.
5. Wari Culture Gallery
The collection on display is made up of pottery, metal and lithic objects from the Wari development in Cusco. The principal Wari settlement in Cusco was Pikillacta, which dates back to 530 A.C.
6. Tambo de Montero Gallery
It gathers some of the most significant artworks of the Cusqueñan School painter Juan Espinoza de los Monteros.
7. Historiographic Paintings Gallery
Comprehends another exhibition of paintings from the XVI and XVIII centuries with important historical value to the region of Cusco.
The renowned museum is located a few meters away from Plaza de Armas, in the Santa Catalina Ancha street to be exact. To visit the site, you can take a short walk or even a guided tour through the main attractions of the city, that way you’ll get to know even more of the authentic legacy of the Imperial City of the Incas.
Luckily for you, we have an exclusive excursion through the Historic Center of Cusco, where you get to know the main attractions, streets, and other points of interests within the old town. The tour is available in all our travel experiences as an exclusive activity for Viagens Machu Picchu passengers only.
- Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday - From 08:00h to 17:00h.
- Entrance: Cusco Tourist Ticket (Included in all our travel packages)
- Address: Calle Garcilaso, Cusco.
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Would you like to know more about Peruvian history? Here we have gathered 5 of the best museums in Cusco that you shouldn't miss during your trip. There's so much to know about the ancient Peruvians and we would love to show you everything about our cultural expression while you're here!