Main Square of cusco

cusco main square

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco is one of the most emblematic squares rich in history, representative of the “navel of the world”, capital of the Inca Empire. This emblematic place invites you to explore its architectural charms. It was the scene of many heroic historical events, such as bloodshed, tragedies of heroes and ancient ceremonies, which are currently carried out on certain dates and some towns move to the main square to show their culture, keeping their customs alive by staging or parade.

History of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco, if we go back thousands of years before the first inhabitants arrived Cusco known as a lake Morkill, marine remains were found and evidence of this is in the museum of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega years later this lake It goes towards the district of San Jerónimo-Angostura, which still keeps the valley humid.

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco was formerly called “Huacaypata” a place where people cry since this place was the scene of many deaths, one of many was at the time of Tupac Amaru’s rebellion, it has been the nerve center of the city since ancient times. . It was here where important ceremonial events were held and momentous decisions for the empire were made.

Origin of the name and controversies

The current name “Plaza de Armas” comes from colonial times, when the square was used for military exercises and parades. However, its original name, “Huacaypata”, continues to be a source of debate among historians and scholars of Inca culture where many writers give their opinion on what name the Plaza de Armas of Cusco should be called.

María Rostworowski -“Aucaypata” (place of the warrior) this is due to the events of fights, one of them between the Incas and the arrival of the Spanish.

Angles Vargas- “Huacaypata” (place of crying) and this name where events such as the death of many heroes and relatives of the deceased happened, showed crying, in particular women showed their sadness.

George Squier -“Huacapata” (sacred place) this place symbolized many important events such as ceremonies, mostly because of the Incas, the place where the Sun god was performed.

Pre-Inca era and the Inca Empire

Before the arrival of the Incas, the area was already an important settlement. With the expansion of the Inca empire, the square became the epicenter of the religious, political and social life of the city.

It is said that ceremonies such as the Inti Raymi or the gathering of their own were held here, where they gathered to taste the Llaqway Uchu, today called Chiri Uchu “cold food”, where the four of them carried out their barter, that is, the exchange of products of this dish.

Another of their events in the Inca era was the procession of their mummies, since one of their beliefs was that the mummies were part of one of the three worlds, which they called Uku Pacha, place of the world of the dead. These accompanied a ceremony led by the Inca’s high priest by order of him.

The conquest and the colonial period

The Incas were a remarkable civilization, known for their deep spirituality and impressive architectural and artistic achievements. Among their main deities, they paid special veneration to Wiracocha, considered the creator god, and to the Sun god, known as Inti. These divinities occupied a central place in their worldview and were the object of complex ceremonies and rituals.

The Qoricancha, located in the sacred city of Cusco, was the main temple dedicated to the cult of the Sun god. This place was considered the religious and spiritual center of the Inca empire. The Incas demonstrated their devotion and respect for their deities through the use of gold in the decoration of the Qoricancha, covering its walls and creating figures of animals and statues that reflected their reverence and admiration for the natural and divine world.

Upon the arrival of the Spanish to Cusco led by Francisco Pizarro and the first Father Vicente Valverde who brought Catholicism where he marked the beginning of a process of evangelization and conversion to Catholicism.

From the perspective of the Spanish conquistadors and Catholic missionaries, it is possible that the Incas were described as “pagans” or “idolaters” due to their polytheistic religious practices. These terms were commonly used at that time to refer to people who did not follow the Catholic faith and had different religious beliefs.

What marked the history of the Inca empire, the Spaniards, upon seeing the work of the silver and gold of the imperial city, managed to steal everything, destroying every huaca “sacred place” with the intention of finding all the gold, for the Incas this led to the confrontation.

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco today

Today, the Plaza de Armas is a vibrant and lively place, surrounded by restaurants, shops and some of the most important monuments of the city, such as the Cathedral of Cusco and the Church of the Company of Jesus. Nowadays, the square continues to be one of the main attractions that a tourist should know at all times of the year. Even more so, it is part of the Plaza de Armas and is the scene of various cultural events and festivities throughout the year, such as the Inti . Raymi (Fiesta del Sol) and Holy Week celebrations, which attract crowds of spectators and participants. These events are an excellent opportunity to experience the rich culture and traditions of Cusco.


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