Cacti, ruins and a party in Ayacucho
Ayacucho Travel Blog› entry 4 of 30 › view all entries
We did a little organised tour today. There are lots of things to see around Ayacucho and booking a trip is really easy. By the way all the pictures here are taken from the internet because the next day my bag would get stolen and I would lose all the pictures. It is really a shame because this is one of the best days of the trip! A real highlight!
There are lots of Wari (or Huari) ruins to be found near Ayacucho. They were a widespread culture before the Inkas. They built large temples, using techniques that the Inkas would copy from them in later centuries. The Wari lived high up in the Andes, surrounded by forests of cacti. We visited one of these cacti forests and looked at the ruins.
The Wari used cacti for just about everything, from making medication to making jam. I have never seen so many cacti before in my life. There were, of course, people around that sold the fruits of cacti to tourists.
Battle of Ayacucho Monument
Near Ayacucho there had been an enormous battle that I had never heard of. Apparently, to free Peru from Spanish rule, all the armies of every free Latin American country joined together and fought outside Ayacucho for Peruâï¿½ï¿½s independence. It was a long drawn out battle, but the allied American forces were victorious and the Spanish were forever expelled from South America. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela donated money to built an impressive monument on the high pampa outside Ayacucho.
They surely picked an amazing spot.
Last stop of the day was the little town of Quinua where people have the very curious custom of putting little statues of churches on top of their roofs. Apparently the more statues of churches on your house the better. The statues look a bit kitschy but are very unique. There are many outdoor shops where you can buy one for yourself. Quinua is a lovely mountain town and the streets end in great vistas of the Andes. (Strangely, the most statues of churches can be found on the church itself. I havenâï¿½ï¿½t decided yet if it makes sense or not.
At the end of the day, Ayacucho was about to burst. There was a commotion going on to celebrate the patron saint of the city. There was a parade around the plaza with a band and they carried an icon with them, illuminated with lightbulbs and an accu on a bike. At every corner of the plaza, there was fireworks and people chanted. We followed the parade back to the church together with the rest of Ayacucho. At the entrance everybody recieved some kind of drink. There was a woman who noticed we had no drinks and she gave us some. It was a very curious drink, very herby with milk and cocos (it turned out to be a very special kind of Chicha drink: chicha de siete semillas). It was a heavy drink but we dared not throw it away among all these Peruvians so we sipped it slowly. Meanwhile the band continued playing and we had an odd but great evening together with the rest of the city.