Templo y Convento de La Merced


Cuzco’s third most important colonial church, La Merced was destroyed in the 1650 earthquake, but was quickly rebuilt. To the left of the church, at the back of a small courtyard, is the entrance to the monastery and museum. Paintings based on the life of San Pedro Nolasco, who founded the order of La Merced in Barcelona in 1218, hang on the walls of the beautiful colonial cloister.

The church on the far side of thecloistercontains the tombs of two of the most famous conquistadors: Diego de Almagro and Gonzalo Pizarro (brother of Francisco). Also on the far side of the cloister is a small religious museum that houses vestments rumored to have belonged to conquistador and friar Vicente de Valverde. The museum’s most famous possession is a priceless solid-gold monstrance, 1.2m high and covered with rubies, emeralds and no fewer than 1500 diamonds and 600 pearls. Ask to see it if the display room is locked.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cuzco attractions

1. Museo de Arte Popular

0.07 MILES

Winning entries in Cuzco’s annual Popular Art Competition are displayed in this engaging museum. This is where the artisans and artists of San Blas…

2. Museo Histórico Regional

0.08 MILES

This eclectic museum is housed in the colonial Casa Garcilaso de la Vega, the house of the Inca-Spanish chronicler who now lies buried in the cathedral…

3. Museo de Historia Natural

0.09 MILES

This university-run natural history museum houses a somewhat motley collection of stuffed local animals and birds and over 150 snakes from the Amazon. The…

4. Museo Quijote

0.09 MILES

Housed inside a bank, this privately owned museum of contemporary art houses a diverse, thoughtful collection of painting and sculpture ranging from the…

5. Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús

0.11 MILES

Built upon the palace of Huayna Cápac, the last inca to rule an undivided, unconquered empire, the church was built by the Jesuits in 1571 and…

6. Plaza de Armas

0.11 MILES

In Inca times, the plaza, called Huacaypata or Aucaypata, was the heart of the capital. Today it’s the nerve center of the modern city. Two flags usually…

8. Iglesia y Monasterio de Santa Catalina

0.15 MILES

This convent houses many colonial paintings of the escuela cuzqueña (Cuzco school), as well as an impressive collection of vestments and other intricate…