History of Ayacucho
There is evidence that Ayacucho was a populated settlement more than 20,000 years ago B.C., because there are archaeological remains to certify it. Thousands of years later other human groups established in the area, setting the bases of the coming cultures. On the 6th and 7th centuries the culture wari appeared, founding its capital and control center in Ayacucho. In this region, the Huari - Tiahuanaco culture would exercise its power, being Ayacucho its sanctuary, during the period from 900 to 1200 A.D. With the inca's arrival, the Ayacucho conquest meant the extinction of the other cultures, consolidating the city as part of the inca's Empire, and establishing an administrative center in Vilcashuaman. After the Spanish arrival, in 1539 Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Ayacucho as part of a militay strategy, to eradicate the rebel incas from the closest areas. Ayacucho became a very important city, commercially and culturally. During the colonial period, Ayacucho developped a growing textile industry. It was also one of the most important cities during the viceroyalty, for being the archbishopric see and for having his own university.
On December the 9th 1824, it took place the Ayacucho battle, a crucial event on the Independence process of Peru. Recently, on the 80s, Ayacucho was hardly hit by the terrorism of Sendero Luminoso, a terrorist group leaded by Abimael Guzmán. Nowadays, Ayacucho shines with a confident light, as a city of great religious fervor and cultural tourism, leaving behind the shadows of a sad decade that we hope will never be recured.
Helpful information of Ayacucho
Ayacucho is placed in the South of Peru, in the eastern slope of the Andes mountains, at an altitude of 2746 m above the sea level. We recommend to bring warm clothes because, in spite of its nice weather, the nights are cold, specially in the winter, that temperatures can drop to 48 °F (9 °C).
Risks and Cautions of Ayacucho
The climate of Ayacucho is characterised for being warm, with sun most of the year. There is a rainy season from January to April. The dry season goes from May to September. So the best moment to visit Ayacucho is from October to December, because the weather is very pleasant. The maximum temperature can reach 75 °F (24 °C) and the minimum 52 °F (11 °C).
Getting to Ayacucho
Plaza de armas
It's one of the most beautiful and biggest squares that you can find inside the country, and is surrounded by constructions of the 16th and 17th centuries, whose arches circle the square. On the center of the square you can appreciate a monument that pays tribute to the marshal Don Antonio José de Sucre. Next to the Plaza de Armas square are located the main institutions of the city, as the Huamanga University and the Municipality.
Location: 508 Jr. 28 de Julio
Phone number: (066) 32-6166
Hours: from Monday to Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It's a colonial house built on the 17th century, current headquarters of the Museo de Arte Religioso Colonial (colonial religious art Museum) and of the Museo del Gran Mariscal Andrés Avelino Cáceres (Museum of the big marshal Andrés Avelino Cáceres). Deep inside you can find collections of colonial artworks, besides historical pieces of the city. One of the main attractions and very special is the fig tree, which is 300 years old, and is placed in the main courtyard.
Casa Chacón - Popular art museum
Location: On the North of the Plaza de Armas, 28 Portal Unión, Plaza de Armas.
Originated on the 18th century, this mansion is actually an office of the Banco de Crédito del Perú. It was bought to conserve its architectural and cultural patrimony. In this mansion of 2 levels you can appreciate half-caste architectural styles on the vaults, columns, archs and walls.
Cathedral of Ayacucho
Location: Plaza de Armas of Ayacucho
Built on the 17th century, it's the main religious center of Ayacucho. Its style is baroque and Renaissance, of grayish red colour, with sober finish on the front of building; this contrasts with the wealthy inside altarpieces, made of gold leaf technique.
Temple of Santo Domingo
Location: between the roads Jr. 9 de Diciembre and Jr. María Parado de Bellido
It was built in 1548. The Temple has 3 wonderful finished archs in its front of building where you go through to enter the inside finely decorated with gold leaf technique. We can also appreciate in this church the Cristo del Santo Sepulcro sculpture, kept in a glass case, that goes on procession during the Easter.
Temple of San Francisco de Asís
Location: 305 Jr. 28 de Julio
Hours: Monday to Sunday, from 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m.
Declared a monument that makes part of the country's cultural heritage, this church was built during the 16th century. Its architectural style is greek-roman with a unique tower on the side, where you can find the biggest bell of the city. Inside there is a golden altar where you can appreciate sculptures that refer to Franciscan devotion. The church keeps as well a collection of colonial art and a library with historical books.
Totally, Ayacucho counts 33 churches, that are historical monuments of the city (some of them have been declared country's cultural heritage). Go and visit them!
Wari Archaeological Complex
Location: at 15 mi (25 km) from the city, Carretera Ayacucho - Quinua
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fare: s/. 0.50 (school child) - s/.1 (students) - s/.3 (general)
It's located in the Quinua district at an altitude of more than 2750 m above the sea level; it includes 2200 hectares where there are different sectors and outfits. This complex was built by the wari culture, being its main power center on the mountains region.
Location: at 50 mi (80 km) on the south-east of Ayacucho city.
It was an important inca city, constructed after the conquest of the Chancas culture, in time of Tupac Yupanqui and Huayna Capac (13th - 14th century).
Thermal baths of Niñobamba
Location: at 50 mi (81 km) from the city (1 hour of travel)
Hours: from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fare: free entrance
The thermal baths are one of the main natural and medicinal resources that you can find in Ayacucho. The water has temperatures of 104 °F (40 °C). It's a belief the baths can ease rheumatic and muscular pain, thanks to the minerals concentration they have.
Location: at 445 mi (717 km) from the city
The lake is in Parinacochas province, at 3200 m above the sea level, on the hillside of Sarasara volcano. Its name comes from the "parihuanas" (flamingo from the Andes) that live on the area. The water is salty due to the minerals concentration and the evaporation of the water. On the surrounding area you can also find guanacos, vicunas (llamas) and Andian deers.
Typical dishes and drinks
It's a soup made of wheat, vegetables and meat.
Picante de cuy
Traditional dish from the pre-Hispanic time, prepared with bell pepper kind "panca", powdered peanut, dressing the guinea pig to fry it later. It's very nutritious.
Caldo de cabeza
It's a soup prepared with mutton or cow head, it has a great nutritious value and it's a wonderful appetiser during the festivals.
It's a delicious dish of red colour, based of pig's paw, dressed with bell pepper kind "panca" and peanut sauce. It comes with potatoes.
It's a soup prepared with the soup of mutton or cow meat, but you throw in insides or husked wheat to the boiling.
It's a dish made of field beans, bell pepper, garlic, cheese, milk and vegetables as you like.
Casserole of pig meat, marinated with bell pepper and vegetables, all of it with a boiled potato.
Traditional dish of the Andian region. The meat (cow, chicken or pig) is prepared with spices and herbs to be cooked on the fire in a oven of rocks under the ground.
The main ingredients are fruits, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and yucca.
Restaurants in Ayacucho
Restaurante bar turístico Las Tejas
Location: 287 Jr. Arequipa
Price: S/. 6
The restaurant offers menu with typical and creole dishes. You must try the delicious "chicharrón de chuño".
Restaurante turístico La Casona
Location: 463 Jr. Bellido
Price: S/. 15
The main feature is the generous parts they serve to the diners. On the menu you can find typical food and creole food as the "puca picante" or the very famous "lomo saltado".
Location: 4 Portal Constitución
Price: snack from s/. 2
You will find a consistent breakfast that can go with a delicious coffee. Try the chocolate "queques"!
Recreo Las Flores
Location: 106 Jr. José Olaya
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: between s/. 12 and s/. 21.50
If your wish is to taste a good "cuy chactado", this is your place!
Hotel La Crillonesa
Location: 165 Calle Nazareno
Phone number: (066)312350
Rate: between s/. 30 and s/. 80
The service given is very pleasant and nice. There is a terrace with a view of the impressive churches of Ayacucho.
Location: 329-335 Jr. Callao
Phone numbers: (066) 312442 - 318575
Rate: between s/. 36 and s/. 65
It's warm, modest, good sights and it offers laundry service, a good option and not so expensive.
Ayacucho Hotel Plaza
Location: 184 Jr. 9 de Diciembre
Phone number: (066) 312202
Rate: an average of $ 47
Besides the impressive colonial architecture, the inside of the hotel preserves also part of the front style. There is a restaurant, an art gallery and wi-fi and breakfast are included.
Hotel Via Via
Location: 4 Portal Constitución
Rate: between s/. 120 and s/. 130
It includes breakfast, that we recommend you to take on the wood terrace, with view to the beautiful Plaza de Armas. The rooms are between the best that you can find.
Semana Santa de Ayacucho
(March the 24th, for 10 days)
During the Easter days, the locals of Ayacucho demonstrate their devotion with processions and celebrations of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It's the second world's most important celebration of Easter, after the Easter in Sevilla, Spain. Cultural, artistic and commercial activities are suggested to the people that go to enjoy the festivity. At the procession moment, the locals decorate the floor with lots of flowers as carpets, that made of it a beautiful show.
(between February and March)
The Carnival of Ayacucho is a festivity that has been recently declared Cultural Heritage of the Country. It gathers together people of all ages and it lasts 3 days. At the carnival you can enjoy the rural troupes, who come a month before to participate on the competition of rural troupes, coming from all over the region. Dances, songs and tradition are joined in this celebration that won't leave anybody indifferent. The festivity is also known as Carnaval Huamanguino and the locals celebrate the fertility of the living beings and the earth.
Homage to the American Freedom
(December the 9th)
This date corresponds to the anniversary of the Ayacucho Battle, which meant a key for Perú's Independence. This tribute is part of the American Freedom Week, where you can find exhibitions, cultural activities and folklore. Sometimes the Ayacucho Battle is dramatized in the Pampa de Quinua and the event congregates hundreds of people. Those days the Guitar International Festival is also celebrated, famous among the comprehendids.
(August the 24th and 25th)
It's a celebration that comes from the pre-hispanic period and its name means "water festivity" in quechua language. During those days the locals clean the canals of water to wait the rain season with clean canals. The water divinity will bring fertility and is also celebrated for having a good rainy season. Everyone participates and they do the scissors dance, scenic dramatizations and fairs. The "pagapus" they offer during those days are payments that the locals do to the earth, like presents. The Yaccu Raymi means also the renovation of the cultivatable land through the rains and is celebrated to ask for good harvesting.
Chaccu de vicunas
This festivity is celebrated in Lucanas province, region of Ayacucho. It's an ancestral activity that looks for the exploitation of the vicuna animal, always with respect to its nature and without putting on risk their species. "Chaccu" means in quechua chase, capture and shear of the vicunas. The locals encircle the animals in a big space and they reduce it until they can catch them. They do also the payment to the "pachamama" (the earth), with the aim of achieving the fertility for the cattle. People dramatizes at the begining of the festivity the inca and the sun virgins, that has its origin in old times.
Karaoke Sol y Luna
Location: 292 Jr. 9 de Diciembre - 3° Piso, Ayacucho
In this karaoke you will have a lot of fun with your friends, tasting snacks, pizzas and other appetizers. You can also take it with some popular drinks as the pisco, vodka, whisky, wines, between others. Sing or dance, you choose how to end the night!
Disco Amor Serrano
Location: 396 Jr. 9 de Diciembre
There is a great atmosphere and the music is assorted.
Location: 1035 Cáceres
Hours: wednesday to saturday until 2:00 a.m.
The travel to Ayacucho from Lima takes about 8 hours, on the highway Libertadores - Huari, which starts on the 227 km of the highway Panamericana Sur.
You can get there with the transporation companies Tepsa, Movil Tours, Megabus, Wari Palomino, Libertadores, and Excluciva. The buses leave from Lima from 8:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.