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Overview

This highland town, set in the stretch of hills and mountains that run from the southern end of the Cordillera Blanca down to the department of Cuzco, is relatively off the beaten track. Although surrounded by dramatic landscapes and rich in tradition and folklore, Ayacucho was terrorized by the Shining Path terrorists in the 1980s and early 1990s. Nonetheless, this attractive colonial town, considered one of the most architecturally impressive in the Andes, has recovered from the conflict and is again attracting visitors. Colonial architecture and some exceptional mansions, along with striking churches and a Baroque cathedral, attract ...

This highland town, set in the stretch of hills and mountains that run from the southern end of the Cordillera Blanca down to the department of Cuzco, is relatively off the beaten track. Although surrounded by dramatic landscapes and rich in tradition and folklore, Ayacucho was terrorized by the Shining Path terrorists in the 1980s and early 1990s. Nonetheless, this attractive colonial town, considered one of the most architecturally impressive in the Andes, has recovered from the conflict and is again attracting visitors. Colonial architecture and some exceptional mansions, along with striking churches and a Baroque cathedral, attract attention, although the region is better known for its handicrafts, textiles and folk traditions. It also hosts the largest and most devout Semana Santa Holy Week celebration in Peru.

Alex Stewart
About the Expert

Alex Stewart is the author of the Bradt travel guide Peru Highlights and the Inca Trail trekking guide The Inca Trail, Cusco and Machu Picchu, published by Trailblazer. He has updated other material for Rough Guides, Thomas Cook and Trailblazer.

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Alex Stewart for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southern Sierra region, Ayacucho is famous for its 33 churches, one for each year of Jesus' life. Ayacucho has large religious celebrations, especially during the Holy Week of Easter.
  • Language: Spanish & native languages
  • Currency: Peruvian Nuevo Sol
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    In the central highlands the high season runs from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny. The start of this period is particularly pleasant. Alternatively, the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations held the week before Easter are among the most spectacular and devout in Peru and are an excellent time to visit.