Located in the Marcapata Valley, the church of San Francisco de Asís was built between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and exemplifies Andean Baroque architecture, which emerged from the comingling of Spanish traditions and local indigenous culture during the colonial period. The rubble stone masonry is finished with an earthen render and capped with a thatched roof. For over 400 years, the church’s roof has been maintained by the community through the traditional ceremony of repaje. Every four years, residents of Marcapata come together for a week of celebration and hard work through which the thatch on the roof is replaced. Furthering the sense of the intersection of the traditions of Europe and the Americas, murals inside the church depict Christian and pre-Columbian Andean religious traditions.
The temple has suffered damage due to natural aging and lack of resources for its maintenance. Its roof structure has deteriorated from rainwater infiltration and the absence of appropriate drainage, which have damaged the murals. The transmission of the repaje skills from generation to generation is threatened by changing community demographics. The new Inter-Oceanic Highway, connecting ports in Peru and Brazil, passes through Marcapata, creating development pressures and changes in the landscape and culture of the town
2010 World Monuments Watch
Following the inclusion of San Francisco de Asís de Marcapata on the 2010 Watch, WMF encouraged local and regional stakeholders to join efforts to undertake condition assessments, leading to a conservation plan for the church. As a result, in 2017 WMF Peru, the Regional Culture Direction of Cusco, the Archdiocese of Cusco, the Parish of Marcapata, and the Parish of Andahuaylillas established a collaboration to complete necessary studies for the conservation of San Francisco de Asis de Marcapata. Since September 2017, work on these technical documents has continued with the support from the Regional Culture Direction of Cusco. When this work concludes and is approved, the Regional Culture Direction of Cusco will execute and finance the project.