Home to 33 churches representing each year of Jesus’ life, Ayacucho is nestled in the Southern Sierra of Peru. It clusters around a charming cobblestoned centre and is famed for its lively Easter Week celebrations, as well as a unique folk art known as “retablo”.
Things to do in Ayacucho
Stroll through the historic heart of Ayacucho, which centres around the Plaza de Armas. Admire the gold-leaf altarpiece of the 17th-century Cathedral of Ayacucho and the triple-arched belfry of the Templo de Santo Domingo, then see the limestone architecture of the 16th-century Church of Santa Clara.
Don’t leave Ayacucho without buying a “retablo”, which are the most famous of the city’s folk handicrafts. These wooden dioramas are intricately carved with scenes from Peruvian life, including significant religious, social and cultural events.
You can admire some of the best retablos at the Museo de Arte Popular. The museum also features silver work, tapestries, stone carvings and ceramic work by local Ayacucheños, together with photos illustrating how the city has changed during the 20th century.
Soak up city views from the Mirador de Ayacucho, which sits at the top of Picota Mountain in the village of Huascahura. It’s dominated by a large white cross and statue of Jesus and can be reached by bus or on foot from the Church of Santa Clara.
Getting around Ayacucho
Coronel FAP Alfredo Mendívil Duarte Airport is a 10-minute drive from Ayacucho and daily buses make the 10-hour journey from Lima. Taxis are a convenient way to get around the city, but many of the sights are within walking distance of one another.