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Cusco — Museums Link to Cusco Index

We devoted one day to seeing as many of the museums on our "Boleto Turistico" (tourist ticket) that we could. Our first stop was the Museum at Coricancha, located beneath the large grassy field on the Avenida del Sol side of the building. Unlike many museums, photographs were permitted here, and Henry was able to get these grisly shots of mummies that had been found on the site of the temple. Mummies are important in Cusco's Inka history, since these remains of past rulers were lovingly cared for and were even brought out on special occasions and paraded around, but I'm not sure if these were Inka mummies or representatives of earlier cultures:

Mummy Mummy

The Inkas (and other prehistoric Peruvian cultures) were skilled at brain surgery. We saw skulls like these at a few of the museums we visited around the country. You can tell from the way the skull started to grow back around the surgical hole in the top skull that the patient survived at least for a while after the operation:


The other museums we visited focused more on the colonial period of Cusco's history. The first one we saw was an art museum housed in the very old monastery church of Santa Catalina. It had some amazing art works, as well as fascinating architecture and it's a shame this picture below is the only one we have from it. It was just a block off the Plaza de Armas , in between it and Rosie O'Grady's, where we had a delicious lunch and watched a World Cup friendly warmup game between Holland and Australia:

Santa Catalina

We later visited two museums on the other side of the Plaza, one featuring contemporary art and the other historical exhibits. The Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporáneo was in a lovely building with a central fountain patio surrounded by arcades in which the art, some of it quite interesting, was displayed. Henry loves taking photographs through framing elements such as these arches, and was quite taken by the lovely fountain (note the rainbow Cusqueña flag seen throught the arch on the right):

Art museum courtyard Hillside beyond Art museum Art museum courtyard

Here is another view of the lovely courtyard, and one of the second floor galleries, complete with tourists admiring the exhibits:

Art museum courtyard Art museum gallery

The Museo Historico Regional was located in an impressive colonial building. Here are two photos of the building's courtyard, complete with the balconies one finds a lot in colonial architecture, although not always so brightly colored:

History museum courtyard History museum courtyard

Here is a picture of our group, taking advantage of the lovely balcony, with our very knowledgeable guide, and another picture of her at work in one of the museum's rooms:

History museum balcony Inside the History museum

Seeing all these museums may not sound like hard work, but remember we were at 11,000 feet elevation. Plus, we were on vacation! Fortunately, Cusco affords pleasant places to sit and catch your breath, like this lovely square, where the contemporary art and historical museums were located. Here is a shot of the square through the entrance to the art museum, and another of us resting up from our labors:

Plaze through archway Resting in the plaza

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All photos, unless otherwise credited, are © by Henry J. Amen III. Please do not use without permission.