Official language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Time zone: UTC -5
Currency: Sol (PEN)
Ayacucho long was resisting commercialization, thanks to that still there are cultivated traditions of producing jewellery, amulets or fabrics. To this day there are more than 200 workshops operating in the city.
Before Incas invasion, existing in this area city Huari was the first one made of bricks in the Andes. To this day there are preserved only ruins of it – four-metres high stoned walls, tombs and underground channels.
Go to Obelisco de la pampa de la Quina. This monument is located on a vast glade with a beautiful view for the Andes. In nearby eateries you can eat delicious local dishes.
The city founded by Spaniards in 1539 is also known as Huamanga. It is acknowledged though that people settled there much earlier. The oldest traits, found around 25 kilometres north from Ayacucho, have around 15 thousand years.
Ayacucho is famous for its 33 churches, that each symbolizes a year from the life of Jesus Christ. One of the most beautiful, Virgen de las Nieves, is located by Plaza Mayor. It was founded in the 17th century and it has both influences of the Renaissance and the Baroque. The ascetic façade competes with full of splendour interior, where there are located ten altars.
In the city, especially in its old part, there are preserved many colonial buildings, that magnetise with decorations and romantic balconies. Go for a walk through cobbled streets and travel back in time to the era of Spanish greatness.
It is best to travel to Ayacucho 10 days before Easter, when celebrations of Holy Week start. They featured not only religious celebrations and colourful processions, but also horse racing and run of bulls through the city. It looks similar like in Spanish Pampeluna. There are as well folk dance competitions, gigs, sport events, agriculture and craftwork fairs, shows of traditional cuisine. Culmination of celebrations is on Holy Saturday. Through whole night there are fireworks in honour of Jesus’ resurrection.
If you are looking for souvenir from this city, you have to buy “retablo”, which Ayacucho is famous for. These are boxes-altars made of cider wood, that after opening shows colourful scenes, mostly religious. The most popular image is the one of Jesus’ birth. There are also some secular scenes, like military parades, the ones in honour of local heroes, presidents or plain farmers. The most jolly ones are these with musicians. Having “retablo” is said to give house prosperity and safety.
Hungry? Time for some exquisite Peruvian cuisine. The best steak from alpaca in Ayacucho you will get in ViaVia at Plaza de Armas, together with a free, outstanding view for the square. If one dish is not enough for you, to taste local flavours, go to Sukre Cocina Peruana at Plaza Mayor, where there is a vast choice of starters made of local products.