Lord of the Earthquakes: Holy Week in Cusco, Perú

Lord of the Earthquakes: Holy Week in Cusco, Perú

Date: April 1st – 8th, 2012

Fee: $2350

Instructors: Adam L. Weintraub

Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon Extension, April 8th-13th, $1850


Most of this tour is hands-on photography: out in the restless streets throughout the celebrations of Holy Week. We will be active and engaged in making great opportunities for you to make great images: private balconies during the processions; exclusive access to parade routes; portraits of participants as requested. We’ll cast off each day in search of meaning in a city alive with passion and symbolism, especially during Easter. Cusco beckons early from the market energy to the daily tourist grind – we’ll be fully immersed within this thriving city, contrasts and contradictions abound.

We’ll break up the procession with one of our own: on to Machu Picchu! Adam knows the best way to experience different light, various areas that are actually off the beaten path even in the well-worn walkways of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

We will show you how to get involved, how to create the most interesting opportunities, provoke intimate and honest interactions. Adam’s knowledge of the area around Cusco and the activities from which to draw will offer the balance. We’ll be working with wonderful light, open and friendly locals, unique places and open spaces. Informal discussions with our instructors will round out the week as we ask what it is that inspires you and your vision.

Festival Señor de los Temblores
Ever since 1650 when the faithful claim that an oil painting of Christ on the Cross held off a devastating earthquake that was rattling the city of Cusco, the locals have been rendering homage to the image of Taitacha Temblores, the Lord of the Earthquakes. The celebration is held on Easter Monday against the backdrop of Easter Week in the city of Cusco. This celebration is of particular interest because it allows onlookers to get a glimpse of the fusion of Andean religions and Christianity. The main Cathedral, where the image is kept, is built on the foundations of the ancient temple dedicated to the pagan god Apulla Tikse Wiracocha. The image of the Lord of Earthquakes is borne aloft in a procession through the streets of the city just as the Incas used to parade the mummies of their chieftains, high priests and supreme rulers. In the end, the dominating part of the celebration involves the ñucchu flower (salvia esplendes), used as an offering to the ancient gods Kon and Wiracocha. The same flower today is used to weave a crown for the Lord of the Earthquakes. This crimson colored flower, whose petals are scattered by the faithful over the venerated image, symbolizes the blood of Christ. The image used today was donated by King Charles V, and despite centuries of smoke from the candles and incense, no one has dared to restore the blackened painting, that has given the Christ a somber aspect and a dark countenance. Unlike many other places, in Cusco, this day is not celebrated with abstinence: it is common to prepare up to 12 dishes, starting with a great variety of soups and ending with delicious desserts, made of apple or corn. Keep an eye out for all 12 – free Pisco Sour to whoever makes the best photos of all 12!