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This article is about the Peruvian town. For other uses, see Ayacucho (disambiguation).
Ayacucho's cathedral by night
Ayacucho's cathedral by night
Flag of Ayacucho
Coat of arms of Ayacucho
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The City of Churches
Ayacucho is located in Peru
Location in Peru
Coordinates: 13°09′47″S 74°13′28″W / 13.16306°S 74.22444°W / -13.16306; -74.22444
Country Peru
Region Ayacucho
Province Huamanga
Settled April 25, 1540
 • Mayor Salomón Hugo Aedo Mendoza
 • Total 2,981.37 km2 (1,151.11 sq mi)
Elevation 2,761 m (9,058 ft)
Population (2014)[1]
 • Total 177,420
 • Density 60/km2 (150/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Ayacuchano, -1
Time zone PET (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) PET (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 66
Website http://www.munihuamanga.gob.pe/

Ayacucho (Spanish pronunciation: [aʝaˈkutʃo], Quechua: Ayacuchu), is the capital city of Huamanga Province, Ayacucho Region, Peru.

Ayacucho is famous for its 35 churches, which represent one for each year of Jesus' life. Ayacucho has large religious celebrations, especially during the Holy Week of Easter. These celebrations include horse races featuring Peruvian Caballos de Paso and the traditional running of the bulls, known locally as the jalatoro or pascuatoro. The jalatoro is similar to the Spanish encierro, except that the bulls are led by horses of the Morochucos.

The name is derived from the Quechua words aya (death) and kuchu ("corner"), referring to a major battle for independence. Another possible interpretation is "soul or spirit corner," in reference to the great devotion of its people, even in pre-Hispanic times.


Vestiges of human settlements more than 15,000 years old have been found in the site of Pikimachay, about 25 km north of Ayacucho. From 500 to 900, the region became occupied by the Wari culture, which became known as the first expansionist empire based in the Andes before the Inca Empire.

Cathedral of Vilcashuaman, built on remains of Inca temple.
Arch of the triumph and San Francisco de Asís church.
Mariscal Sucre Monument in the Plaza Mayor de Ayacucho.
A retablo piece of art from Ayacucho.
Art from Ayacucho called Huamanga Stone.

The Ayacucho region was inhabited by varying indigenous cultures for thousands of years, including the Wari, Chanka people, and Nazca culture before the Inca conquest.

The Spanish colonial founding of Ayacucho was led by conqueror Francisco Pizarro on April 25, 1540, who named it San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga. Due to the constant Incan rebellion led by Manco Inca Yupanqui against the Spanish in the zone, Pizarro was quick to populate the settlement with a small number of Spaniards brought from Lima and Cusco. On May 17, 1544, by Royal decree, Ayacucho was titled La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Huamanga (the most noble and loyal city of Huamanga). The city's main University was founded on July 3, 1677 as San Cristóbal of Huamanga University.

On February 15, 1825, Simón Bolívar changed the city's name to Ayacucho. The city is named after the historical Battle of Ayacucho. Upon seeing so many casualties on the battlefield, citizens called the area Ayakuchu, aya meaning "dead" and kuchu meaning "corner" in Ayacucho Quechua. The Battle of Ayacucho was the last armed clash between Spanish armies and patriots during the Peruvian War of Independence. The battle developed in the nearby pampas of La Quinua on December 9, 1824. Independentist forces were led by Antonio José de Sucre, Simón Bolívar's lieutenant. Viceroy José de la Serna e Hinojosa was wounded, and after the battle second commander-in-chief José de Canterac signed the final capitulation of the Royalist army. The patriot victory sealed the independence of Peru and South America. La Paz, now the seat of government of Bolivia, was similarly renamed La Paz de Ayacucho following this battle.

The city's economy is based on agriculture and light manufactures, including textiles, pottery, leather goods and filigree ware. It is a regional tourism destination, known for its 33 churches built in the colonial period, and for the nearby battlefield of La Quinua, where the Ayacucho battle was fought in 1824.

In 1980, the insurgent organization known as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) used Ayachucho as its base for its campaign against the Peruvian government, even staging an assault on the Ayacucho prison in 1982. The campaign faded after the leader Abimael Guzmán Reynoso was captured in 1992 and put in prison. The region headed by Ayacucho is rural and one of the poorest of all the country. With the peace of the last 15 years, the citizens work hard to improve the living conditions and attract jobs.

Notable people from Ayacucho[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 13°09′47″S 74°13′28″W / 13.16306°S 74.22444°W / -13.16306; -74.22444


  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática, Perfil Sociodemográfico del Perú Archived November 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.›  pp. 30.
  2. ^ Watson, Ian (October 11, 2002). Negotiating Cultures: Eugenio Barba and the Intercultural Debate. Manchester University Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0719061707. 
  3. ^ Merino, Denis. "La importancia de la memoria". La Primera. 
  4. ^ "Alberto Arca Parró". University Honors & Awards. University of Indiana. Retrieved 2012-08-23. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Guitarras Maestras". La Republica (in Spanish). 25 October 2009. 

External links[edit]