Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Huamanga Plazapi

Juancho, Mito, Diego, and I in Ayacucho's main square

Ayacucho is the capital of the department of the same name. Locals often refer to the city by its older name, Huamanga, and it's denizens as huamanguinos. The city was founded by Franciso Pizarro himself in 1539.

The Plaza de Armas is Huamanga's main square. At its center is an equestrian statue of José de Sucre, the general who led the independence army that foughtvictoriously against the Spanish at the Battle of Ayacucho. Overlooking the plaza is Acuchimay hill, which for decades sported a large cross at its crest. Now, besides the cross, there is a lookout point and places to eat.

On one side of the Plaza is the Cathedral, which was begun in 1632 and completed in 1672. The banner on its left tower announces planned celebrations in 2009 for the archdiocese's quadricentennial jubilee. From its main door emerges an immense litter bearing candles, wax figure, and a statue of Jesus which rises from its interior during the Easter Sunday procession. The litter can be seen in widely-distributed prommotional video from Peru's tourism bureau.

To the right of the cathedral is the Castilla y Zamora house, which has served as the headquarters of San Cristóbal de Huamanga University since 1677.

The other three sides of the plaza are lined with colonial-era arched galleries which were once the homes of Spanish notables. On the side of the plaza opposite the cathedral is the building housing Ayacucho's Superior Court.

Along the archways huamanguinas in traditional dress sell traditional sweets and qalchin qalchin, a hand-made local icecream made from peanuts or quinoa.

On Monday, Susana and I managed to get into the courthouse, even though it was officially closed for the Independence Day holiday.

Inside, we found the official portrait of my gradfather, Juan Ramón Fajardo Eyzaguirre, who -besides having been both mayor of Huamanga and political prisoner in its jail- was Chief Justice of the Superior Court in 1970-1971.


VLB said...

I found your website when searching for the Eyzaguirre family name in Ayacucho. How long have your Eyzaguirre ancestors lived there? I found a family by that name in the records of the early 1700 and wonder if my Eyzaguirre family line connects to them. If you have information of your lineage, I would be interested in corresponding with you.

Juancho said...


I'm not sure, but they've been there into the 1800s at least.

Please go to my profile and contact me via email. I can point you to a bunch of people who may have the info you seek.