The Plaza de Armas of Cusco was once a swamp, which during the time of the Incas was dried up and transformed into the administrative, religious and cultural center of the capital of the empire. After the conquest it was occupied by the Spaniards, who surrounded it with temples and mansions built on the Inca palaces around it; in it Tupac Amaru II was executed in 1781. Today it is the central core of modern Cuzco, surrounded by tourist restaurants, jewelers, travel agencies and the temples of the conquest period.
When Manco Cápac arrived in the valley of Cusco, he settled in the surroundings of a swamp located between two streams because that place was free from the threats of the neighboring ethnic groups.8 He made his palace at the base of the Sacsayhuaman plateau and the city It was always erected around the swamp.9 Sinchi Roca, son and successor of Manco Cápac dried the swamp with soil brought from the mountains8 and later Pachacútec was in charge of drying it completely covering the swamp with sand brought from the coastal coast.
During the Inca period, the main square was more extensive than the current Plaza de Armas, because in addition to the current plaza (former Huacaypata) occupied all the land of the current plaza regocijo (formerly cusipata), the “Hotel Cusco” and the stables located on the side of the middle street. Just these blocks and the middle street were crossed by a stream called Saphy (now covered and made culvert), which divided the square into its two already known sectors. This stream during the incantation was channeled throughout its urban route, and the part that crossed the square was covered as a tunnel. The current main square was only the northeast sector of the main plaza, the southwest sector being called Cusipata.
It was the religious and administrative center of the Incas. Around the square were the Pachacútec, Huayna Cápac and Viracocha Inca palaces. During the Incas it was where most of the Inca fiestas were celebrated, including Inti Raymi, Huarachicuy, the Amaru dance, Capac Raymi, etc. It was also there where the main fairs were held and where the victories of the Inca army were celebrated.
When the Spaniards arrived in Cuzco, they stayed in the Inca palaces around the plaza. Later, they built colonial mansions, cathedrals, temples and chapels on the Inca palaces. In 1542, the chapter of the city of Cuzco, Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega Vargas (father of the chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega) authorized the construction of mansions in the middle of the great plaza. In this way, the Saphy stream was completely covered, the square was divided three (Plaza de Armas, Plaza Regocijo, and Plazoleta de la Merced) to be divided by new buildings (Hotel Cusco, Portal Comercio and Portal Espinar).
In 1545 the corregidor Polo de Ondergardo ordered the removal of the beach sand that lay on the floor of the plaza for use in the construction of the Cathedral of Cuzco.
Currently the Plaza de Armas is located in the historic center of Cusco, and is surrounded by tourist restaurants, jewelry stores, travel agencies, tourist shops, etc. our travel agency in Cusco RAP Travel offers you the services of City Tour in Cusco, where you can visit the main tourist attractions in and around the city of Cusco. The temples built around it remain as such, and as museums. Most of the buildings preserve some Inca walls and more than all their colonial style. The importance of the area leads to being the most expensive in the city of Cusco. In some cases the rent of a place exceeds $ 600 per month. In the first decade of the 21st century, the company Bembos opened a store in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, also the North American company McDonald’s, the franchises of Starbucks and KFC are also located in the main square, the latter is carrying out its commercial activities where not long ago the famous Cafe Ayllu worked. The square is still the place of celebrations of many Cuzco folk festivals such as Santiraticuy, Corpus Christi, Semana Santa, etc. And many other modern parties such as the Independence Day, Cuzco Festivities, New Year, etc. Sometimes the Plaza de Armas is the place of some free concerts, parades of delegations and some political rallies.