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Cusco’s Plaza de Armas – History & Background
Cusco’s Plaza de Armas – History & Background


The Plaza de Armas was called ‘Huacaypata’ after its construction during the Inca Empire. The original plaza was twice the current size, and functioned as the cultural center of Inca life. Cuzco, which was the capital of the Inca Empire, was designed in the shape of a Puma to reflect their Inca animal mythology. Historians proclaim the plaza was intentionally built at the location of the heart of the Puma, in the center of the city. The location of the Plaza is no coincidence. The Plaza is used for most of the city’s events, gatherings, and festivals. Historians feel that the Plaza functioned as the cultural center, or «heart,» of the Inca Empire.

In 1532 Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro defeated the Inca Empire and took control of Cuzco, renaming the Plaza to «Plaza de Armas.» The Spanish reduced the size of the Plaza by building two Churches, la Catedral and la Compañia. La Catedral was built where the palace of Inca Wirancocha once stood. La Compañia was built in 1571 by the Jesuits during the time of Wayna Capac, the last ruler of the unconquered empire. An earthquake in 1650 destroyed the church leading to its immediate reconstruction, which resulted in one of the most beautiful churches in Latin America. The Plaza de Armas portrays the city’s diverse history while remaining the center of Cuzco life and culture.


Source: http://www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=612


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