Cacti, ruins and a party in Ayacucho

Ayacucho Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 30 › view all entries
Wari ruins among the cacti (taken from the internet)

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!

Wari.

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.

Battle of Ayacucho monument (taken from the internet)
When I stepped out of the van I suddenly felt really dizzy and I almost fell to the ground. I still do not really know why. Maybe it was because of the altitude. Two days earlier I was at sea level, yesterday in Ayacucho at 2700 m and now at 3000 between the cacti. But it felt more like normal exhaustion and I have felt it before in the low mountains of the Philippines. Maybe it has something to do with blood pressure? Anyway after sitting for a while, while the rest of the group was getting a tour throught the local museum, I felt better again and joined them to 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.
Monument on the pampa (taken from the internet)
The Wari also sacrificed white-skinned girls (this really seemed a hype at the time. Almost every culture in the Andes sacrificed girls.) and it was thought a real honor for the family.

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 Peru�s 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.
Quinua (taken from the internet)
From the pampa you can see for miles and miles around you. The whole valley is laid bare. You only have to put up with groups of little children that constantly swarm around you to tell you that they can sing for you.

Quinua town

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 haven�t decided yet if it makes sense or not.
Roofs of Quinua (taken from the internet)
) PS I noticed that people around Cusco have the same kind of custom, but instead of statues of churches, the houses have star-like or compass-like crosses on their roofs.

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.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Wari ruins among the cacti (taken …
Wari ruins among the cacti (taken…
Battle of Ayacucho monument (taken…
Battle of Ayacucho monument (take…
Monument on the pampa (taken from …
Monument on the pampa (taken from…
Quinua (taken from the internet)
Quinua (taken from the internet)
Roofs of Quinua (taken from the in…
Roofs of Quinua (taken from the i…
Battle of Ayacucho monument (taken…
Battle of Ayacucho monument (take…
At Quinua (taken from the internet)
At Quinua (taken from the internet)
Quinua (taken from the internet)
Quinua (taken from the internet)
Roofs of Quinua (taken from the in…
Roofs of Quinua (taken from the i…
Wari ruins(taken from the internet)
Wari ruins(taken from the internet)
Wari ruins among the cacti (taken …
Wari ruins among the cacti (taken…
Ayacucho
photo by: voordax