Museums and Galleries

Museums and Galleries, Cusco, Peru (A)

The Museums and Galleries of Cusco naturally focus upon the region's rich historical significance and a clash of cultures - as Cusco was an important capital to Inca and pre-Inca cultures and a significant city to Spanish colonial power. Some of the sites and museums do require the purchase of the "tourist card" (boleto turistico") - while others offer admittance separately - and these are noted within the site descriptions.
How it works: The full article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the sights featured in this article. The app's navigation functions guide you from one sight to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Museums and Galleries
Guide Location: Peru » Cusco
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 4.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: Jim Reynoldson
Author Bio: Jim Reynoldson is an avid traveler and writer who grew up in Oregon. He enjoys hiking, camping, and sight-seeing throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museo del Sitio de Qorikancha
  • Museo de Historia Natural
  • Museo Historico Regional
  • Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo
  • Museo Inka
  • Museo de Arte Precolumbino
  • Museo de Arte Religioso
  • Iglesia y Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Museo del Sitio de Qorikancha

1) Museo del Sitio de Qorikancha

This small, dark museum lies along the busy Avenue el Sol and is underground – beneath the Qorikancha Inca site – definitely a memorable entryway. Entry to the museum requires the boleto turistico, and photography is not allowed. Exhibits include an array of artifacts from both Inca and pre-Inca cultures, including ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculptures, metal works, and musical instruments. In addition, mummies and skulls showing fatal ceremonial wounds for sacrifice are on display. Most of the exhibit information is printed in Spanish only, so some ability in the language or a Spanish/English dictionary is recommended. The above-ground Qorikancha ruins can also be visited separately – and this site has also been included in the Landmarks of Cusco tour.
Museo de Historia Natural

2) Museo de Historia Natural

This small museum is run by the local university and is right next to the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus. Displays mostly house examples of regional animals, including tarantulas, monkeys, sloths, jungle cats, and a number of birds and insects. The minimal size of the museum will make for a quick visit, but it is very inexpensive and does not require the boleto turistico for entry. A pleasant courtyard in the center of the building is a nice place for a rest or to eat lunch. The door attendant may offer to let you up to the building’s roof (for a small fee, of course) – which is great for overhead photos of the Plaza de Armas below.
Museo Historico Regional

3) Museo Historico Regional

Founded in 1946, this museum is housed in the colonial home of the Inca historian Garcilaso de la Vega who is buried beneath La Catedral at the Plaza de Armas. Museum entrance is only with the boleto turistico (which gains you entry to a number of sites around the city). Exhibits are arranged chronologically and include the Preceramic period, as well as works from the Chavin, Vicus, Mochica, Chimu, Chanacay, and Inca – as well as a mummy from the Nazca region. Artifacts are found in a variety of forms – including textiles, wooden sculptures, metal, historic coins, Inca musical instruments, historical documents and paintings.
Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo

4) Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo

Located inside of Cusco's Municipality Building (look for the rainbow flag of the Inca empire flying above it) by the Plaza Regocijo, this museum displays a small collection of contemporary Andean art. Entry to this museum does require the purchase of the boleto turistico. Founded in 1995 with a donation of one hundred works by local artists to curator Dr. Luis Rivera Davalos, this museum now houses over 300 paintings and other pieces. Artwork displays are housed in Room 3 and the library of the Municipality Building, with Room 1 and Room 2 often housing temporary exhibits, as well as hosting art lectures and other events.
Museo Inka

5) Museo Inka

This wonderful museum of Inca and pre-Inca history is set in a colonial mansion (once owned by Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado and repaired after the 1950 earthquake) which sits on the foundation of an ancient Inca structure. Exhibits include Inca tools, weaponry, art, pottery, mummies, and skulls of the sacrificed – with some displays in English text (although many are only in Spanish). A courtyard in the middle of the museum makes for a nice break to browse the textile and art vendors. Photos are not allowed in the exhibits – but on a positive note, entrance to the Museo Inka does not require purchase of the boleto turistico for entry.
Museo de Arte Precolumbino

6) Museo de Arte Precolumbino

Opened in 2003, this interesting museum is housed in a Spanish Colonial mansion with a ceremonial courtyard dating back to Inca times, with an auditorium seating 120 people for lectures and other events. The artifacts date from between 1250 BC and 1532 AD, displaying a wide chronological range of Peru’s ancient cultures, and exhibits are in Spanish, English, and French. An assortment of materials is represented, including ceramic art, wood, silver, gold and stone. The Museo de Arte Precolumbino is affiliated with the larger Larco Museum in Lima, from which about 450 of the artifacts are drawn. This museum does not require the purchase of the boleto turistico for admittance.
Museo de Arte Religioso

7) Museo de Arte Religioso

This museum of religious art sits atop an ancient palace of the ruler Inca Roca, and next to the iconic Inca masonry of the Hatunrumiyoc alleyway. Now a colonial mansion – and at one time, an Archbishop’s palace – the beautiful building has stained glass windows, Moorish style doors, carved cedar ceilings, and a courtyard made from blue and white tiles from Seville. The exhibits depict the regional transition from indigenous to Spanish colonial cultural and dominance in the religious artistic style of the era. Many works by Marcos Zapata, the famous 18th century Quechua artists, are on display in this museum. To end the tour, simply walk down the hill to the southwest to the Plaza de Armas in the city center.
Iglesia y Monasterio de Santa Catalina

8) Iglesia y Monasterio de Santa Catalina

This church and monastery contains a museum of religious artwork. The convent's altar is built of carved cedar, with a baroque side chapel - and the museum contains a number of paintings from the escuela cazquena (or Cusco School), characterized by the ornate religious style using predominately red, gold, yellow and earthen tones. The convent itself was founded in the early 17th century, but the site ironically sits atop the ancient Inca “House of Chosen Women”, where attractive young virgins were trained to become concubines to Inca nobility. The museum was opened in 1975, with murals and works by painters such as Marcos Ribera, Francisco Padilla, and others. This site does require the boleto turistico for entry. To finish this tour, simply walk one block northwest to the central Plaza de Armas.

Walking Tours in Cusco, Peru

Create Your Own Walk in Cusco

Create Your Own Walk in Cusco

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cusco is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cusco Introduction Walking Tour

Cusco Introduction Walking Tour

Nestled high in the Andes mountains, Cusco is a city bursting with stories to tell. Peru's historic capital city was also the Inca Empire's center until the Spanish conquistadors arrived.

Before the Inca settled in the area, the Killke people were here from the years 900 to 1200. Sacsayhuaman, a walled complex outside of town, was built as a fortress by the Killke.

The Inca later...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Cusco's Historical Churches

Cusco's Historical Churches

Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, is one of the oldest cities in the world. In the 16th century, Spanish missionaries introduced the area to Catholicism. The result of that has been a plethora of historical churches built in the city since.

Among the marvels of local ecclesiastical architecture, the Cusco Cathedral reigns supreme. Constructed on the foundations of an Inca temple,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles