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Ayacucho History

There had been found human being remains in Ayacucho from about 20,000 years ago. Remains found at Piquimachay cave, the oldest ones ever found in South America from the Stone Age, started the investigations and researches of this place.

Spaniards founded Ayacucho in 1539. They gave it the name of ” San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga”. In 1542 the city obtained the name of “San Juan de la Victoria” changing then into a new name “Huamanga”. But Since 1824 the liberator Simón Bolívar called it “Ayacucho” in honor to the battle that gave the independence to our country from the monarchy of Spain .

Ayacucho is very well known for its artisans that have inherited from their ancestors all they know. This city counts with many churches and temples. During the Holy Week the city is crowded with many Christians from all the country.

Ayacucho is also known because there is a tradition in the city that all houses must have a little church on the roof of the house.

During the Colony from Spain , this city was one of the most important ones, because of its location between Lima and Cusco , the textile industry that was developed there, and for being the city that supplied food to the mine of Santa Bárbara de Huancavelica. As remains you can appreciate the big old houses, colonial palaces, important squares, in which the Spaniard and Mestizo styles are mixed as one.

Ayacucho counts with a comfortable hotel and restaurant infrastructure that will provide you will all the needs your visit requires. It is recommended not less than a two-day visit.

Ayacucho (Quechua language that means “The death ones corner”)

Ayacucho Location

Central zone from the Andes

Altitude Ayacucho

2760 meters above sea level (9,055 feet)

Population in Ayacucho

92,123 inhabitants.

Distances from Ayacucho

From Lima (by Pisco): 575 km. (357 miles)

From Pisco ( San Clemente ): 314 km. (195 miles)

From Huancayo: 361 km. (224 miles)

Weather in Ayacucho

Warm and dry. Average annual temperature 17.5°C. Rainy season from November to March.

How to get to Ayacucho

When coming to Ayacucho from abroad, it is advisable to first arrive to the city of Lima . Then by terrestrial or airways, you can connect with Ayacucho.

Terrestrial Way

The highway called “Vía de Los Libertadores” is the most commonly used and advisable, because of the conditions in which it is. It is connected to the Pan American Highway in the city of San Clemente , Pisco. In the city of Lima , you can take tourists buses to Ayacucho. It is a comfortable trip that takes an average of twelve hours. If you are choosing this alternative, we recommend the visit to the city of Paracas and Tambo Colorado archaeological complex , located in the way.

Air Way

The city of Ayacucho (AYP) has an airport “Coronel FAP Alfredo Mendívil”. It is a small airport with comfortable facilities. There are regular flights from/to Lima , very early in the mornings. The average flight time is of 35 minutes.


Attractions in Ayacucho

When you visit Ayacucho you go through narrow streets, passing by old and beautiful colonial houses, churches and convents with wonderful art treasures. You pass by very poor people dressed in their colorful ancestral clothes, like if you were visiting a colonial museum. You feel marveled with the nice handcraft found there.

We recommend doing a city tour of Ayacucho, specially the following places:

Plaza de Armas also called Parque Sucre

Main Square of the city. There is a big statue of the Marshal Antonio José de Sucre, who leaded the Liberator Army that gave the freedom to our country.

There are pretty arches surrounding the square. Behind them some important colonial buildings, outstanding the Cathedral. Also important:

Casona del Obispo Cristóbal de Castilla y Zamora (Colonial Large House – XVII century).

Located to the right side of the Cathedral. It was the mansion of Cristóbal de Castilla y Zamora bishop of Huamanga (1669 – 1679) and founder of the University San Cristóbal de Huamanga.. Large house of sober and elegant construction, possesses an external gallery of four arches, wooden balustrades and roof of tiles. In their interior a small patio paved with four arches. Actually headquarters of the Universidad Nacional San Cristóbal de Huamanga.

Casona Boza y Solís (Colonial Large House – XVI century).

Located in the Portal de la Constitución Nº 15. One of the oldest residences in America , sent to build for the Corregidor Nicolás de Boza y Solís. In their stone portal with vain of arch of half point, it exhibits a beautiful hall door of double leaf with brass nails. In their interior a great patio with small gardens and small font to the center, surrounded of stone arcades. During the war of the Independence , in one of their rooms it was prisoner the heroine María of Bellido. Actually headquarters of the city governor offices, the Prefecture.

Casona Chacón (Colonial Large House – XVII century)

. Located in Portal de la Unión Nº 28. The facade is formed by a beautiful arcade that forms roomy galleries. The main portal is of more height and has a hall door of two wooden leaves. The interior patio possesses an attractive one paved of figures in rhombus form in black and red color, the patio is skirted of beautiful arcades.. Headquarters of Banco de Crédito. Also located in its interior Museo de Arte Popular ( Popular Arts Museum ).

Casona Velarde Alvarez (Colonial Large House – XVI century), of Mestizo architecture, nowadays headquarters of the Escuela Regional de Bellas Artes “Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala”

Casona Ruiz de Ochoa, located in Jirón Dos de Mayo, block 2, in front of the square and church La Merced. It is one of the most typical colonial large houses in Ayacucho. Its highlights very well in their facade conserved stone cover that shows two felines and a bicephalous eagle, to both sides smaller four portal they exist. Into their interior a surrounded paved patio of a gallery with arcade and stone columns; nowadays it is the headquarters of the Bank Wiese Sudameris.

Museo Histórico Regional (Historical Regional Museum )

Location: Av. Independencia (with no number). Cultural Center Simón Bolívar

Open Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00 .

It is a small museum, has an exhibition of archaeological remains, statues, from different cultures such as Warpa, Huari, Chanca, Chavín, and Nazca. Also popular arts from the colony. Republican times room and a library.

Museo de Arte Popular ( Popular Art Museum )

Location: Portal Unión Nº 28, Plaza de Armas, Banco de Crédito Offices.

Open Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 18:30

Small museum that exhibits fine popular artisan pieces, all from the region.

Museo Andrés A. Cáceres (Museum)

Location: Jr. 28 de Julio Nº 512. Colonial House de Vivanco

Small museum exhibits colonial paintings and personal objects from Marshal Andrés A. Cáceres, Peruvian hero from the war against Chile (1880).

Barrio de Santa Ana ( Santa Ana ‘s Neighborhood)

Neighborhood inhabited by artisans. Workshop-houses grouped by the different artisan specialties. You can find excellent pieces besides meeting and talking to the artisans.

Surroundings areas from Ayacucho

Quinua (Town of Artisans )

Located at 31Km. (19.2 miles) north of Ayacucho, at 3,396 meters above sea level (11,141 feet). Very close to the Santuario Histórico Pampas de Ayacucho, where the last battle against the Spaniards was fought, giving liberty to our country from the Spanish monarchy.

It is a small town, with little houses all with red tiles and very poor people. Surrounded with little farms and beautiful landscapes.

Its population of only 7,000 inhabitants work in the country and farms, and also are good artisans. These artisans, experts with clay can create very special pieces.

Next to the town is located the archaeological center of Huari. (18 Km)


Located at 51 Km (31.7 miles) north of Ayacucho at 2,628 meters above sea level (8,622 feet). Most of the inhabitants of the city have influence in traditions and race from the Spaniards, and it can be distinguished from the indigenous. The country and landscape have the same view as it used to have many years ago.

Near Huanta you can also visit the caves of Piquimachay.

Pampas de Cangallo

Located at 68 km, south of Ayacucho. There live the Morochucos, descendants from the Spaniards that were defeated in the Chupas battle in 1542. They used this area as refuge. Their physical characteristics are like the Spanish race. Devoted to work in the country and very good horsemen. They like to drink alcoholic beverages and leave the hard work for the women.

Santuario Histórico Pampas de Ayacucho

(Historical Sanctuary Pampas of Ayacucho)

Location: Department of Ayacucho, province of Huamanga .

Located on the district of Quinua, intangible and protected area, to safeguard the scenario of the battle of Ayacucho, carried out on December 9, 1824 among the liberator forces under the control of Antonio de Sucre against the Spanish realistic forces under the control The Viceroy Serna. The heroic action of the Perúvian force, Hussars of Junín under the control of Córdoba achieved the victory, getting the capitulation and rendition of the Spanish forces, affirming the total delivery of Perúvian lands to Perúvian people, and the renouncement of the real rights of Spain mainly in Perú and South America .

Santuario Nacional de Titancáyocc

(National Sanctuary of Titancáyocc)

Location: Department of Ayacucho, province of Cangallo .

Intangible area for the conservation of the flora, fauna and archaeological locations; highlights the magnificent goads of Raimondi.

Reserva Nacional de Pampa Galeras

(National Reservation of Pampa Galeras )

Location: Department of Ayacucho, province of Lucanas .

Area: 6,500 hectares.

Creation: 1967.

Conservation unit and protection of species of the fauna and regional flora; it constitutes the intangible area of more extension for the protection of the vicuña, species in danger of extinction.

Beautiful landscapes in an Andean plateau and the best place to know to the vicuñas in wild state.

Their access and visit is advisable from the city of Nazca (90 km)

Vilcashuamán (Quechua voice that means Sacred Falcon)

Archaeological site located in Cangallo, at 110 Km (68 miles) from Ayacucho.

It is recommended to spend one day to visit the city.

Considered as the testimony of power and development of the Chanca pre-Inca civilization. Since the Inca conquest (XV century), they enhanced their building techniques and their importance in the administration of the Empire, as it was considered as the media point of it.

Vilcashuamán formed by a monumental fortress, very similar to the one of Sacsahuamán and Ollantaytambo. There are located the remains of the citadel, the Osno castle, palaces, grain deposits and military observatories, from where they used to have control of the real Inca roads.

From chronicles of Cieza de León (1538), who accompanied the Conquerors, we know that the “Templo del Sol” ( Osno Castle ) had a stone altar, that was decorated with precious stones and gold; behind was the palace of the Inca Túpac Yupanqui, some other rooms and deposits of weapons and clothing.

All this megalithic group of buildings has a big wall that surrounds the area. All with different architectural styles according to their governors. Great trapezoidal porches, pyramidal buildings, stairs made of stone, towers, aqueducts, and wall paintings.

According to the Spanish tradition, they built a Catholic Church over the Templo del Sol, to avoid indigenous believes, destroying like this very important remains.

Huari or Wari

Archaeological site (VII-XI centuries), located near a town called Quinua 20 Km (12.4 miles) north of Ayacucho.

It is advisable to spend half day to visit the city.

Remains of a rounded city. Investigations estimated that it had 40 thousand inhabitants, during its best epoch. Built in stone, with fortresses that were used as administrative headquarters as well as inhabited by indigenous from the Huari pre-Inca culture, later the Chancas conquest the area.

During their development, they used finely carved in stone, figures that were overlapped on plain stone from other constructions corresponding to their first stage.

It has high and thick walls. Also found three floors underground, with many monolithic sculptures, and caves that were used as funeral parlors, called “Chaukallas”.

This archaeological center bill with a museum, and the last restorations will offer him an excellent experience.


Prehistoric remain, located in the city of Huanta . There were found in a cave, stone gadgets from hunters, and extinguished animal fossils. This remains data from 20,000 years ago, becoming the most ancient ones ever found in America .


Ayacucho Festivities Calendar

Ayacucho counts with a very large number of feasts. Most of them are a mixture of the folklore of the Andes and the religious traditions brought from Spain . During all these feasts, people dress in multicolored typical costumes, with native music mixed with religious feelings. Indigenous relate their crops with gifts from heaven and earth. Each year a master is chosen, he is in charge of giving entertainment to the citizens of the city, giving all his money to organize the best feast. Each year there is chosen a different master for the feast.


01 New Year (holiday)

06 Bajada de Reyes (Kings of Jerusalem entrance), in the town of Belen . Contests of different kind of dancers during the evenings, such as Tijeras, huaylillas and wiraqos.


02 Virgen de la Candelaria, take place in the temples of Santa Clara and San Sebastian . Dances like huaynos, marinera and arrascas. Religious processions. Food and beverage festival. The image of the Virgin has a miracle character.

(Movable) Fiesta de las Comadres y Compadres: religious feast celebrated in all the churches; all the participants to this dance tie fruit, biscuits, candy and decorations to their body and dance by the city.

February / March

(Movable) Carnival: Great and colorful feast, with folkloric dances. People dance around the city dressed in multicolor costumes during three days. This is in honor of the fertility of country life.

March / April

(Movable) Holy Week


25 Week dedicated to Huamanga. Time of rejoicing for the citizens of this city.


03 Fiesta de Las Cruces (of the Crosses)

. Also called the travelers feast, takes place in the neighborhood of Puca Cruz. Previous to the feast, the citizens of this neighborhood gather to worship the crosses, dancing folkloric music. The next day, with musicians, they take all the decorated crosses to the church of San Francisco de Asís. After a mass and the blessing of the crosses, the people dance and party for one more day.

13 Fiesta de la Virgen de Fátima (Fatima Virgin). Takes place at San Francisco de Asís Church.


24 Fiesta de Corpus Christi, San Juan Bautista and Octava de Hábeas.


16 Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen, takes place in the church of Santa Teresa

28 Independence Day (holiday)


15 Celebración de la Ascención (Celebration of the ascension of the lord to heaven). Takes place at the surrounding towns of Ayacucho.

30 Fiesta de la Abuelita (Feast of the Grandmother), takes place in the church of Santa Ana .


8 Cocharcas Feast. Feast dedicated to the patron of the town of Quinua .

14 Exaltación del Señor (Praise to the Lord). Takes place in Quinuapata.

14 Fiesta del Señor de Amancaes (Lord of Amancaes). Takes place in Conchapata.

18 Fiesta del Señor de Manyay, (Lord of Manyay)

24 Fiesta de la Virgen de Las Mercedes, take place at the Church of La Merced .


04 Fiesta de San Francisco de Asís, at San Francisco de Asís Church.

15 Fiesta de la Virgen del Rosario, at the church of Santo Domingo .

18 Fiesta del Señor de los Milagros, at the church of San Francisco de Asís.


01 Fiesta de Todos los Santos (All Saints day), holiday, at the Cathedral. There is an important mass, all the citizens gather at the Cathedral. People carry the traditional “Huahuas” (biscuits with the shape of newborns), and the famous “suspiros”, dessert made with the egg whites, and milk candy. People visit cemeteries. People also simulate the baptism or burials of dolls.


09 Anniversary of Ayacucho Battle. Week dedicated to Honor the Liberty of South America. It takes place in the town of Quinua .