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Cusco Highlights: Plaza de Armas


Enter the heart of the Inca empire at Plaza de Armas

As old as the city itself, Cusco’s vibrant plaza embodies strong historical meaning and tells the stories of two very different civilizations. Originally named Huacaypata or Aucaypata, legend has it that the plaza once marked the exact geographical center of the Inca empire, adding to Cusco’s nickname of “navel of the world”. The plaza, originally twice its current size, was built as a venue for festivals and ceremonies in ancient times. Looming over stone pathways and well-kept colorful gardens now stands two of Cusco’s most iconic buildings that were introduced by the Spanish: the Cusco Cathedral and the La Compañia de Jesus Church. Two flags usually fly at the Plaza de Armas: the red-and-white Peruvian flag and the rainbow colored flag of Tahuantinsuyo, which represents the four quarters of the Inca empire (and should not be confused with the international LGBT pride flag). If you’re looking for a place to eat, Plaza de Armas is dotted with restaurants and eateries that offer a wide range of traditional Peruvian food and international cuisine. Unlike most cities, Cusco is buzzing every night of the week and the plaza provides several options for fun evening activities. Stop by Chicha, one of Cusco’s most famous restaurants owned by Peru’s award-winning celebrity chef Gastón Acurio just 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas. For a more relaxed atmosphere and a few drinks, you should go to Gastón Acurio’s “Papacho” which, showcases the best in Cusco’s bar food. With its intriguing history, its grand colonial architecture and the gorgeous twinkling lights that flood the plaza after dark, Plaza de Armas is a must-see day and night! See more of our favorite experiences in Cusco…

Plaza de Armas, Cusco

Stroll through the historical Plaza de Armas

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