Customs, Events

Cuzco’s Splendid Altars of Mirrors Named National Cultural Patrimony in Peru

Altars in Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cuzco’s main square awakens to massive, three-story altars, that include mirrors, for the feast of Corpus Christi. These construction which involve much skill and knowledge were named Cultural Patrimony of the Nation of Peru by its Ministry of Culture, Friday, January 9th. The resolution giving them this honor specifically mentioned the complexity involved in their construction and the specific cultural knowledges and meanings involved with them that are important to the people of Cusco and of Apurimac where they are also found.

These shining altars appear in public spaces on feast days and are part of traditions of art and faith that date to the early days of Spanish Peru when priests were seeking strategies to catechize Peru’s indigenous population.

In the niches of the three-storied altars are found images of various saints, archangels, and of the twelve apostles, as well as the months of the year.

An Altar and People During Corpus Christi (Alonzo Riley)
An Altar and People During Corpus Christi (Alonzo Riley)
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