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Plaza de Armas - An epitome of what Cusco is

Plaza de Armas - An epitome of what Cusco is

January 2020 · 6 min read · Cusco

Keep writing about the Plaza de Armas?

Yes. I’m not reposting tho. This post is about another one. xD

Plaza de Armas is actually not a specific name of any specific place, it is common name for all of the Colombian main squares.

Just in case you want to read, The first Plaza de Armas I wrote about is here:

And there is still another one to come. So be prepared for my series of Plaza de Armas. xD

A good starting point

Unlike the one in Lima which is located in the Historical center but quite far from where tourists usually stay, say Miraflores, the Plaza de Armas of Cusco in the other hand, is very central and actually a place that everyone starts with and ends up when visiting Cusco.

Being in Cusco means that you will definitely pass by this place very often not just because that it is the main and the most beautiful square, but also due to its location which is very central surrounded with wide veriety of so many restaurants from local ones to globally famous chains such as KFC, McD,... , coffee shops, banks, money exchange, tour agencies, etc.

Undoubtedly, this plaza is a good starting point to feel the spirit of the city as there are lots of things concentrating around and it always has something going on to see.

Staying in an Airbnb which was just walking distance from the Plaza, I visited it so many times in both day and night. Sometimes I came purposely for the square itself, sometimes I just happened to pass by on the way of another tour. It was absolutely my favourite one which made my days in Cusco became so memorable.

An empitome of what Cusco is

The Plaza is well kept and totally blending in a very ancient Cusco. When I visited Plaza de Armas of Lima, it brought the feeling like I was exploring another different side of the city. But for the one here in Cusco, it was an empitome of what Cusco is. Feel like I could feel the historic and serene Cusco at its best and fullest when I was in the Plaza.

The Plaza de Armas used to be surrounded by Inca palaces. After the conquest of Spaniards, the Inca works were replaced by this Plaza filled with the Spanish colonial buildings. Another name of the Plaza is Huacaypata which means Place of crying. Firstly I didnt understand how come this peaceful place had such a sad name. Then I realized it is not always what we see.

The whole plaza surrounded with churches and mansions has a lot of history dwelling on. This was actually the place where the Incas used to sentence people to dead for not comply their rules. And also the place that the alive ones cried for ones who had died defending their own land from the invaders. Here in this place, every celebration of the Incas had been held and witnessed people crying for joy and happiness. The Plaza de Armas of Cusco now was a Huacaypata of a sacred city where the tears of joy, of defeat and victory shed throughout history of the Incas.

Understanding the past, the mix of Incas’ ruins and Spanish colonial style buildings in the present become more fascinating for me than ever.

The Cathedral right in the one side of the Plaza
The Cathedral right in the one side of the Plaza

The look of this Plaza is quite similar with all the colonial plazas of Spaniards with some old and impressive cathedrals right in the middle of the square. However, the Plaza in Cusco offered visitors the stronger taste of history, religion, architecture and arts.

Its rich culture was presented with those Inca walls in the side streets right off the plaza as if to remind people the glorious past of the fallen empire and to make people whoever passing by this place keep in mind that it is still the one true capital of Peru.

Inca walls
Inca walls

The Plaze offers a lot of things, boredom is not one of them

I could just find a seat among those benches and sit there in the middle of the square whole day without being bored. The Plaza was perfectly clean and the view of surrounding mountains was absolutely gorgeous.

If in the day time, you could could find it so picturesque with the hills providing a beautiful backdrop for those magnificient architectures, then in the night time, it comes even more alive when the whole city lighten up. The street lamps illuminated the square and the churches were lit up beautifully in the background. It all was so photogenic.

Cusco was also the place that I found really special. Best place for people watching, I think. Here I could see a lot of tourists coming from different countries and just as many as locals. But it didnt make the city become touristy and lose its own unique beauty.

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The Plaza was not quiet, even crowded most of time but the strange thing was I always felt that it so serene and peaceful. I dont know why, maybe because the feeling of an ancient city was too strong.

I was lucky to catch a parade of Peruvians in the sunday morning. It was delightful to watch the procession of people dressed in Incan custumes dancing with the vibrant music and the crowd following behind.

It was an enjoyable place. But if I need to pick one thing I didn’t like here, I could say it is the street vendors. When you strolling around in the Plaza, you ‘re gonna be targeted by a lot of solicitors asking you to buy things every three steps. Keep saying “No, gracias” may help to send them away since they were not overly aggressive. I did buy plenty of handmade llama keychains from them tho. xD

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In front of the church
In front of the church

The plaza was definitely my favourite spot in Cusco where I could soak in the charm and the vibe surround. If you have a plan to visit Cusco, believe me this is the place you find yourself wandering around more than once.

📍 Plaza de Armas del Cusco, Cusco 08002, Peru

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