Just a step or two off the Plaza de Armas we find Procuradores Street. It is filled with color from the many different businesses that fill its narrow length and the people who walk up and down it. Procuradores is one of Cuzco’s important streets and well worth a visit.
As its name indicates, during colonial times on the building were housed the attorney generals (procuradores) of Cuzco’s colonial government, the Real Audiencia de Cusco. The legal scribes and all the people with business in the civil court also found place here.
Procuradores street is a small artery that begins in the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and ends in Teqsicocha Street. It is only a block in length.
While walking down the street Walter and I met Mr. Alberto Risco who has lived on the street for decades. He said that in the past on this street lived many Catholic priests. But there were also bars on the street. Mr Risco said that the the middle and upper class lawyers would come here to take their té piteado (a traditional Peruvian drink of hot tea with liquor) and would hang out until dawn.
He also said that in the 1950 earthquake several houses were destroyed but their inhabitants rebuilt them in the same style.
Because Procuradores is part of the colonial zone and, as a result, part of the declared World Heritage zone of Cuzco, the casonas, or colonial-style mansions that fill it are conserved through the regulations of UNESCO, the National Institute of Culture of Peru and the Municipal government of Cuzco. As a result, modern buildings cannot be built here.
Besides all the services offered on this street, just walking down it is as if time were to go backward for just a moment. You can easily imagine the Spanish conquistadors who came to govern this Inca land laughing or walking seriously right beside you.
Every day from around 8 am until about 10 at night the street fills with the sights and sound of the business that line it. There are people handing out flyers. There are also barkers inviting you to try one of the restaurants.
On Procuradores can be found all kinds of business. There is a large assortment of restaurants, from Korean, to Italian, Mexican, Isaraeli, Creole, and local cuisine among others. There are inexpensive joints as well as more refined places. This block long street may well hold the greatest diversity of restaurants of any single block in Cuzco.
But the street also holds bars, travel agencies, spas, tattoo parlors, as well as stores specializing in camping equipment, clothing, shoes, jewelry (wholesale and retail) as well as a few hotels and hostals. This small block offers you almost everything you might need for tour stay in Cuzco.
On more than one occasion while walking down the street I have seen a variety of prices, from modestly pricey to very inexpensive.
At night the street is lightly lit, giving it romance and mystery, though you can still see the colonial balconies and doorways. The street fills with couples or groups of people going into the restaurants and bars. These business become meeting places. People also move down the street to go to the zone of discotheques which is found on Teqsecocha street.
On this small street, especially at night though often in the day, one finds another tradition. Drug sellers, often doubling as sellers of earrings, barkers for restaurants, or even just tourists passing through, offer their clandestine wares to passersby. These strange, comical, and maybe a bit demonic persons have been found on this artery for decades. It seems the authorities either can not or do not want to do anything about them
Generally, though, this extra-legal activity makes no problem for the more legal businesses and visitors to them.
For whatever reason, this street named after criminal prosecutors is not only colonial but very cosmopolitan. It always has people walking up and down it because of the variety of its businesses as well as its location between the Plaza de Armas and The entertainment area of Teqsecocha Street. It is always colorful and worth visiting for the characters that inhabit it, if nothing else.