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The Incan Sun Pyramid at Cusco for AP World History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Jan 3

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The Incan Sun Pyramid at Cusco is an illustrative example in the Empires: Administration topic of Unit 3 of AP World History. Read more about the Incan Sun Pyramid at Cusco below!



Modern Site of the Incan Sun Pyramid
Modern Site of the Incan Sun Pyramid 477130255/Shutterstock


The Incan Sun Pyramid, also known as the Qorikancha or Coricancha, stands as a testament to the architectural prowess and spiritual significance of the Inca Empire. Situated in the heart of Cusco, Peru, this sacred site served as a religious and administrative center, embodying the Incan reverence for the sun god, Inti, and showcasing their advanced engineering and construction techniques.


The Incan Sun Pyramid was constructed during the reign of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui in the mid-15th century and later expanded by subsequent rulers. The structure is a masterful example of Incan architecture, characterized by precisely cut stone blocks fitted seamlessly together without mortar. The walls of Qorikancha were adorned with gold sheets, making it a dazzling and awe-inspiring structure that reflected the Incan reverence for the divine.


At the heart of Qorikancha lies the sacred plaza, an open space that served as an astronomical observatory. The Incas, with their advanced understanding of astronomy, designed the complex to align with celestial events. The placement of windows and niches in the walls allowed for precise observations of solstices and equinoxes, reinforcing the connection between the earthly realm and the cosmos in Incan cosmology.


The Sun Pyramid was dedicated to the sun god Inti, one of the most revered deities in the Incan pantheon. The site featured a golden disc representing the sun, which was said to reflect the first rays of sunlight during the solstices. Surrounding the central courtyard were temples dedicated to other important deities, such as the moon, stars, and thunder.


Qorikancha exemplifies the Incas’ cultural integration and religious syncretism. Built upon the site of an earlier temple dedicated to the indigenous god Viracocha, the Inca rulers incorporated existing structures into their new complex. This cultural amalgamation reflects the Incas’ strategy of blending conquered cultures into their own, fostering a sense of unity and imperial identity.


With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the Sun Pyramid underwent a transformation. The Spanish built the Santo Domingo Convent on the foundations of Qorikancha, incorporating Incan walls into the structure. The juxtaposition of Incan stonework with Spanish colonial architecture serves as a tangible reminder of the complex cultural dynamics that unfolded during the conquest.


The Incan Sun Pyramid in Cusco stands as a remarkable archaeological site and a testament to the Inca Empire’s architectural and astronomical achievements. Its enduring legacy lies not only in its physical remnants but also in the cultural and spiritual significance it held for the Inca people, symbolizing their profound connection to the natural world and the cosmos.



Free Printable Reading Passage on the Incan Sun Pyramid at Cusco


The Incan Sun Pyramid at Cusco


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Empires: Administration

Unit 3: Land-Based Empires

AP World History



Incan Sun Pyramid at Cusco

#APWorldHistory #IncanEmpire #SunPyramid

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Jan 3

0

0

0

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