The Favorite Plaza of Cusco’s Rank and File
Tupac Amaru in the square
Some years ago, I remember, while I was studying in the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega School, there was a tradition that is still kept to this day. People arrange to meet with their companions and friends in the center of the plaza where you find the statue of one of the Precursors of Peruvian Independence, Tupac Amaru II, mounted on his horse. As a kind of fun expression some kids say: “We’ll meet by the horse’s tail.”
The main square of every district of our city has its peculiarity and its enchantments, from its structure to the simple fact of the kinds of people who go there.
The Tupac Amaru Plaza is located in the district of Wanchaq about ten minutes by car from Cusco’s main square.
This plaza was constructed in honor of Tupac Amaru who gave his life because he wanted to see his people freed from the oppression of the Spanish.
Beneath the statue, on the wall, there is a plaque with an inscription that says “From the nation to the glory of José Gabriel Túpac Amaru, precursors, illustrious leader, and martyr of American independence on the bicentenary of his rebellion. Cusco November 4, 1980.” Behind the monument stand 8 columns with the names of those who accompanied him in his rebellion. There you find the name of his wife, Micaela Bastides, Antonio Oblitas, Hipólito Mariano Fernando Túpac Amaru, Cecilia Túpac Amaru, Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru, Pedro Vilca Apaza, Julián Túpac Catari, Juan Bautista Túpac Amaru, and Tomasa Titto Condemayta.
Around the plaza are offices of the Tourism Police (POLTUR), the Regional Directorate of External Commerce (DIRCETUR), as well other businesses and establishments, such as clinics, institutes, and others.
In comparison with the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s main square, where visitors to our city tend to gather, both national and foreign. They are always taking pictures of themselves with the cathedral, and with the Inca on the fountain. In the Túpac Amaru plaza you will find a larger flow of people from Cusco.
In the mornings groups of friends, family members, and companions meet their, just like in all our plazas, while in the afternoons from 3 pm until about 10 at night, you will see different dance troupes—saya, sarje, morenada, caccoya, tupay, etc.
Throughout the year, from Monday through Friday, the dancers practice carefully and with skill, their steps and their choreographies in order to show their talent and ability in the different competitions that are held on various dates of our city’s calendar.
For Cusqueñans, this Plaza represents a call to liberty. Maybe that spirit is what unites all the people of our city and brings them to this square to freely carry out their activities. At night, when the city calms from its daily activities, people go out into this plaza to think, breathe, and relax while watching the dance troupe rehearse and experiencing the calm of night. The plaza’s gardens are filled with life, color, and perfume. In these green spaces you see native trees, chchacoma, queuña, paqpa, or maguey. You also see the beauty of flowers in all their colors.
On holidays and weekends this plaza hosts civic activities and every Saturday it hosts a market in which are shown ornamental plants, along with a gastronomic fair that is varied and well attended.