Plaza de Armas

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Cusco, Peru

Plaza de Armas Cusco Reviews

starship1 starship1
35 reviews
Plaza de Armas ~ Cusco's Historic Centerpiece Apr 16, 2014
After 4 days of basing ourselves in Huayllabamba, we returned to the city of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our first introduction to this city was a passing visit to the Plaza de Armas or Huaycapata as we were walking through it on our way to lunch at a local restaurant. We knew that we would certainly return to visit it longer not only because of its historic past but also because it seemed to be a popular local gathering place. It had lovely flowering gardens, criss-crossed walkways, benches and elaborate lighting fixtures, an interesting centrally-located fountain, not to mention it being surrounded by an abundance of culturally significant architecture.

Surrounding the Plaza the Spanish left a legacy of architecture in the form of the Cusco Cathedral, the Iglesia La Campanía de Jesús, Iglesia del Triunfo, and the colonnaded walkways fronting other buildings, just to name a few. Surrounding the plaza were any number of shops, restaurants and cafes, and an "iPeru" tourist information office, all of which face directly on the Plaza. Several of the buildings facing the Plaza including churches and other buildings, were constructed with stone plundered from Inca buildings, and then built on top of Inca building foundations. The Spanish were clearly trying to flaunt their superiority, but it leaves one to wonder what Cusco and the Plaza de Armas would have looked like if the Spanish had not destroyed the original Inca engineering feats. Still, don't miss the remaining remnants of nearby Inca architecture and stone work -- Hatun Rumiyoc, the 12-sided stone for one -- with the informative Museo Inka, Iglesia Santo Domingo, and Korikancha all nearby.

Today, the historic and peaceful Plaza brims with life as it plays host to locals and tourists alike, but it seems somewhat of an ironic twist that the Plaza has an infamously bloody history. The Incas named this plaza "Huacaypata" which some translate as "Place of Tears," although I've seen other various translations offered as well. The Plaza was used as an important ceremonial ground by the Inca, but it was also the scene of rebellions, marauding Spanish conquistadors, battles and bloody executions, most notably that of the last Inca leader, Túpac Amaru II.

It is interesting to note that the Plaza was originally much larger and was a marsh area. It was divided into "Huacaypata," the place of tears and "Cusipata," the place of happiness, and these two sections were divided by the Saphi River, which today is channeled beneath the Plaza.

Whether you refer to this square by the Spanish name, Plaza de Armas, or the Quechua name, Huacaypata, this is another of Cusco's most important sites you shouldn't miss.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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german_eagle says:
Beautiful square, especially with the mountains in the background.
Posted on: Feb 20, 2017
starship1 says:
Thank you so much, Victor!
Posted on: Feb 17, 2017
vicIII says:
Well done! You had such an exciting stay in Plaza de Armas and in Cusco in general...
Posted on: Feb 17, 2017
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rudegurl rudegurl
12 reviews
Jun 25, 2007
Cuzco is easy to get around. Taxi's are inexpenssive ( but ask the price before you get in or you'll pay 3 times more) i stayed at the cusquenita hotel i think. Its about 10 mins from center. But make sure you get ready for inclines and that you adjust you the elevation before running around. *especiallly important for smokers* there are great restaurants everywhere you go. Take some of the side walkways fromt he center and you'll find all the artisans and cute little restaurants with live music. There is also a cool little irish pub in the center.
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