A Jewel of Andean Baroque Architecture
Located in Marcapata, an Andean town at 3,100 meters above sea level with influence from the upper jungle, the church of San Francisco de Asís was built between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It exemplifies Andean baroque architecture, which emerged from the intersection of Spanish and local culture during the colonial period. It is one of the few temples in Peru that maintains a thatched roof, supported on a frame of wood and reed, giving special character to this important religious site. For over four centuries, the thatch cover has been changed in a ceremony involving nine nearby communities in a week-long celebration held every four years called repaje or wasichacuy. This ritual was declared National Intangible Heritage by the Ministry of Culture in 2015.
Damage and Deterioration
The temple has suffered damage due to natural aging and insufficient resources for its maintenance. Its roof structure has deteriorated from rainwater infiltration in the absence of appropriate drainage, causing damage to the church's murals that decorate the walls and ceiling. In addition, the transmission of the repaje skills from generation to generation is threatened by changing community demographics.
2010 World Monuments Watch
Since the inclusion of San Francisco de Asís de Marcapata on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, World Monuments Fund (WMF) has encouraged local and regional stakeholders to join efforts to undertake condition assessments. As a result, in 2017, WMF Peru began work to complete the necessary studies for the conservation of the church. This conservation plan, finalized in early 2021, provides the groundwork for the restoration and conservation at the site.
At a public event in July 2021, the Regional Office of the Ministry of Culture in Cusco handed over the restoration documents elaborated by WMF Peru, the Archdiocese of Cusco, and the Parish of Marcapata to the Marcapata communities and announced the site's upcoming restoration and conservation. WMF expects work to begin in 2022.
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With support from the Archdiocese of Cusco, the Parish of Andahuaylillas, the Parish of San Francisco de Asís of Marcapata, and the Regional Office of the Ministry of Culture in Cusco.