The Whole Picture: Windows of Koricancha

| October 27, 2013 | 1 Comment
windows of koricancha The Whole Picture: Windows of Koricancha

Perfectly fitted Inca stones make up these aligned windows in the Koricancha, which is now inside the Santo Domingo Monastery, in Cuzco, Peru.

Perfectly fitted Inca stones make up these aligned windows in the Koricancha, which is now inside the Santo Domingo Monastery, in Cuzco, Peru.

In Quechua, Koricancha means “courtyard of gold”—and to the amazement of the Conquistadors, that’s exactly what they beheld when they first laid eyes on this temple complex. Of course, the Spanish stripped the complex of its gold, and razed the temple to build the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo on top of its foundation.

To build these windows, the Incas used blocks of stone that were cut so accurately that mortar was not needed and between which it is impossible to pass a knife blade. Construction of this type, without the use of mortar, is considered more resistant to seismic activity. For the same reason, doors and windows feature a trapezoidal shape, tilting inward towards the top.

A major earthquake on May 21, 1950 caused severe damage in Cusco. While the Santo Domingo Monatery was among the colonial era buildings affected, the city’s Inca architecture withstood the earthquake.


Inspired by publications like Life Magazine, National Geographic and online experiences like Boston.com’s photo blog, images marked as ‘The Whole Picture’  are intended to highlight high-quality, amazing imagery. Kathryn and Daniel will post ‘The Whole Picture‘ irregulary.  Like all of our photos, it is an original photo not otherwise on the site—it might be fresh from our camera, a new scan of some old film, a product of our fooling around with Photoshop, or a file from the archive that we haven’t posted yet.


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Category: Dan's Blog, Photos

About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

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  1. Jeanette Todd says:


    This is truly a work of art of the ancient Incas, I can only imagine how difficult it was to build these things when technology was very primitive.

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