The incomparable power of the Incas has certainly marked our country, where their imposing structures and cultural expression have prevailed until the current date. Cusco, for being the cradle of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, is one of the perfect examples of the everlasting knowledge of the famous civilization.
During the colonization process many archeological artifacts were lost, including the most precious pieces crafted by the Incas. However, now we have a vast collection with significant pre-Columbian artwork found thanks to excavations and field work.
Although the Spanish conquest has severely damaged most of the ancient constructions of the Incas, their legacy have prevailed and, luckily, now we have a better understanding of their culture, religion, and administrative wisdom.
The Inca Museum was born thanks to the initiative of the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC), whose mission is to portray the cultural evolution of the Cusco region, including pre-Inca and Inca permanent exhibitions as well as the local contemporary artistic expression in their temporary galleries.
Likewise, the museum’s headquarters are located in a significant colonial mansion of that time, which was owned by several figures of the Spanish aristocracy. But, as most of the colonial houses within the Historic Center of Cusco, it was also built on top of an Inca Palace that belonged to the Inca Huascar.
The structure of the Inca Museum is the perfect example of the evolution of colonial architecture since it was a distinctive style called Mannerist. It was a phase of European architecture that developed between 1530 and 1610, just at the end of Renaissance architecture and the beginning of the Baroque style.
Therefore if you wish to experience the changing timeline between the pre-Inca, Inca, and Colonial eras, we highly recommend you visiting the museum. Since you’re here, we encourage you to keep reading this blog and find out everything about the history and collections of the renowned Museo Inka.
The so-called Admiral’s House dates back to the decade of the 1580, it was home to the Spanish conqueror Diego Almagro and later served as the residence of the Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado, whose family shields are carved on top of the outstanding renaissance main door.
Throughout the years, the colonial structure was struck by many earthquakes, almost leaving it inhabitable. However, it was rebuilt two times, being the last reconstruction of the site in the 1950s, carried out by the UNSAAC.
As aforementioned, it was the Palace of Huascar, the penultimate emperor of the Tahuantinsuyo. Apparently, the structure was so impressive during the Inca times that they specifically reserved it for Diego Almagro. Unfortunately, there are no more records regarding the Inca ruin, except for some mentions in a few chronicles.
Nowadays, Casa del Almirante is the headquarters of the Inca Museum, owned by the San Antonio de Abad University. The site exhibits the largest pottery collection of the Inca culture, as well as pre-Inca metal and gold work, Inca mummies, and more.
1. Pre-Inca Cultures of Peru
Some archeological artifacts of the first identities of ancient Peru are showcased in this gallery, where some of them date back to 7000 B.C. and others were traced back to the Chavin, Nazca, Chancay, Mochica, Chimú, and Paracas cultures.
As well as the agricultural civilizations originated in the Andean Highlands like the Pukara, Tiawanaco, and Wari cultures.
2. Pre-Inca Settlements in Cusco
Long before the Incas arrived in the Cusqueñan region, the lands were previously inhabited by several ancestral societies, where some of them date back to 1000 B.C. like the Marcavalle culture, followed buy the Chanapata, Qotakalli, and the Wari civilizations.
3. Inca History
As aforementioned, the museum looks to explain the cultural evolution of the Cusco region in a way where they portray the influence of other cultures in the development of the famous Inca society.
In this gallery, you’ll find information about the mythological origin of the Incas, and the historical side of the beginnings of the famous culture. As well as the continuity of the Inca legacy after the arrival of the Spanish conquerors.
Likewise, the Museum Inka also offers a glimpse at the colonization process and how they managed to dismantle the whole Inca Empire, following the rebellion that marked the contemporary Andean ideology led by the famous writer Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.
3. Incan Activities
In this gallery is showcased some of the most important findings of the Inca culture, including pottery, textiles, construction tools, and even some of the most impressive cirurgical practices during the Inca times.
4. Mallki Wasi
During Inca times, the Incas achieved a great religious power, they honored different deities, and believed in three realms. Therefore, this exhibition looks to explain the different parts of an Inca tomb, as well as the mummification process and the cult artifacts that were used by the civilization in their ceremonies and rituals.
The renowned museum is located a few meters away from Plaza de Armas, in the Cuesta del Almirante 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 Friday - From 08:00h to 18:00h. / Saturdays - From 09:00h to 16:00h.
- Entrance: General - S/.10.00, Students - S/. 5.00.
- Address: Cuesta el Almirante 103, 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!