Coricancha – Stunning Golden Garden And Lost Treasures Of The Inca –

Coricancha – Stunning Golden Garden And Lost Treasures Of The Inca

Ellen Lloyd – – Today, there are only some ancient ruins left, but during the times of the Inca, Coricancha must have been a marvelous place to see. Coricancha was a garden of gold and silver where the Inca placed small, beautiful metal objects created in the image of plants, animals, and people.

Located in the Inca capital at Cuzco, Peru, the Coricancha (Qorikancha) complex contained the Temple of The Sun. It was dedicated to significant Inca deities such as Creator God Viracocha, the Moon Goddess Quilla, and the Sun God Inti.

Coricancha – Stunning Golden Garden And Lost Treasures Of The Inca –

Coricancha, Cusco, Peru. Credit: Wikipedia

Myths and legends tell the Inca transported large quantities of gold to decorate the temples and their golden garden.

Qori” means goldwork, and its Spanish form is cori. “Kancha” represents an enclosed space bounded by walls. Hence, the name corresponds to approximately “place that has gold.”

It is not entirely clear who constructed the Coricancha complex. The site is usually attributed to Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the 9th Inca ruler (1438-1471 CE). Still, Inca mythology reveals legendary Manco Capac built a temple at the site in the early 12th-century C.E, and archaeologists have unearthed pre-empire structures.

As previously mentioned in another article published on Ancient Pages, Manco Capac was the legendary founder of the Inca dynasty of Peru.

Manco Capac

Manco Capac

According to the Inca, Manco Capac emerged from one of the three openings in the mountain Tambotoco, near Pacaritambo (or Pacariqtambo) (‘tavern of the dawn’), located some six leagues (approximately 33 km) to the south-southwest of Cuzco, Peru.

Even though his figure is mentioned in several chronicles, his existence remains unclear.

While he remains a semi-mythical figure whose actual period cannot be clearly pinpointed, he is regarded as an Inca hero. Many ancient legends connect Manco Cápac to the foundation of Cuzco.

The Lost Treasures Of Coricancha

The garden of the temple was dedicated to the great Sun God Inti. The Inca brought many offerings to their mighty deity; all garden objects were made of gold or silver.

Coricancha – Stunning Golden Garden And Lost Treasures Of The Inca –

A digital reconstruction of the room when it was filled with gold. Credit: Martinangel, Wikipedia

When the Spaniards entered Coricancha, they looted all Inca treasures and sent them to Spain.

Pedro de Cieza de León describes a golden garden in his 1554 account:

“In the month of October of the year of the Lord 1534, the Spaniards entered the city of Cuzco, head of the great empire of the Inkas, where their court was, as well as the solemn Temple of the Sun and their greatest marvels. The high priest abandoned the temple, where [the Spaniards] plundered the garden of gold and the sheep [llamas] and shepherds of this metal along with so much silver that it is unbelievable and precious stones, which, if they were collected, would be worth a city.”

According to records from 1534, the Spanish king Charles V had a gold maize stalk with three leaves and two ears of corn in his collection. Royal inventories also describe gold and silver llamas, female figures, a lamb, and a male figure that is believed to have originated from Coricancha.

Coricancha – Stunning Golden Garden And Lost Treasures Of The Inca –

Left: Miniature gold llama figurine, Inka, 6.3 cm high, © Trustees of the British Museum. Right: Maize cobs, Inka, c. 1440–1533,(Ethnological Museum, Berlin)

To the Inca who produced these small objects, the offering had much greater value than gold. The offerings had a symbolic meaning, and the miniatures of animals, plants, and figures acted as symbols of the supernatural origin of the Inca in the Sun and their control over the natural world as descendants of the most powerful deity.

Today, almost nothing is left of the magnificent ancient Inca treasures except a few golden corn stalks.

The magnificent golden garden of the Inca is long gone, but fortunately, its history has not been forgotten.

If you are interested in lost Inca treasures, you may find the story of the Lost Golden Chain Of Huayna Capac intriguing.

Updated on August 28, 2022

Written by Ellen Lloyd –

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