Plaza de Armas picture
mckaysavage/Flickr

Key Info

Portal de Comercio, Historic Center

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The history of the Plaza de Armas stretches back all the way to the Inca Empire when it was called Huacaypata or Aucaypata. The massive square (originally twice its current size) was built as a venue for festivals and ceremonies in ancient times.

According to legend, this plaza once marked the exact center of the Inca Empire, earning Cusco the nickname "the navel of the world." After Spanish conquistadors conquered the city in the early 1500s, they erected two churches on the either sides of the square – La Compañia and La Catedral – where the former Incan palace once stood.

Today, the plaza contains landmarks significant to both the Andean and Spanish history, and still functions as the historic heart of the city. Recent visitors to the square say you'll find Peruvian dancing, music and plenty of people watching. Buzzing with activity all day and night, most of the centrally located hotels, restaurants and shops are just off the square. 

See all Hotels in Cusco »

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