The most beautiful main squares in all of Peru
Peru is a diverse country that has twenty-four departments, one hundred and ninety-five provinces (a constitutional province that is Callao) and eight hundred and forty-five districts. Most of the cities were founded by the Spanish in colonial times. As was the urban organization of that time, main squares called ‘Plaza de Armas’ were created. Many cities founded in other times copied this same style. Today in Peru there are beautiful main squares. Meet the most beautiful!
Arequipa Main Square
Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas is one of the largest and most beautiful in Peru. Its origin dates from 1540 when the ‘Villa de Asunción de Nuestra Señora del Valle Hermoso de Arequipa’ was founded. Sillar was used for its construction, the volcanic stone with which the first temples and mansions of the city were erected. The story tells that religious ceremonies and even bullfights were held there.
The square stands out for its space and beautiful buildings around which stand out: the Cathedral of Arequipa, the statue of the duende ‘turututú’, the ashlar arches and the craft shops. Important celebrations such as the anniversary of the city (August 15), the Arequipa carnivals, Holy Week and more are held in this square.
- More information: Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas was the scene of strong earthquakes, which led to the reconstruction of the arcades and even the Cathedral. In 1972 the square and the entire historic center of the city were declared a ‘Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ by Unesco.
Cusco Main Square
The Plaza de Armas of Cusco is one of the most historic and most visited in Peru. Its foundation dates back to the Inca period when the Huacaypata was located there, the place of the most important civil ceremonies. For its construction, the Incas diverted the course of the Saphy River, dried up a swamp and built important temples and palaces around it. In the colony, the plaza acquired its current form (it covers an area of 28,728 square meters).
The beauty of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco stands out for its green areas, pool, statue of the Inca and historical buildings around it such as the Cathedral, the Society of Jesus and more. In addition, in its vicinity there are many tourist businesses such as restaurants, hotels, craft shops and even nightclubs.
- More information: A few steps from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco you can visit important tourist attractions such as the Cathedral, the temple of the Company of Jesus, the Stone of the 12 Angles, the Coricancha and more.
Lima Main Square
The Plaza de Armas of Lima, also called Plaza Mayor is one of the most historic spaces in the city. There Francisco Pizarro founded the ‘City of Kings’ in 1535. In addition, the Independence of Peru was proclaimed there in 1821. In 1991, as it was part of the historic center of the city, it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Around the square are the municipal palace, the Cathedral of Lima as well as the Government Palace. It has a spacious design that escapes from the bustle of the city. It has an area of 140 square meters. Around there are tourist businesses such as cafes, craft shops, restaurants and more. It is visited in the City Tour Lima.
- More information: An excellent option to visit the Plaza de Armas in Lima is to take the ‘Mirabus’. This service also includes visits to other tourist attractions in the city such as the Archbishop’s Palace, the Government Palace, the Casa del Oidor and the Jirón de la Unión.
Cajamarca Main Square
The Cajamarca Plaza de Armas is one of the largest and most historic in Peru. The reason? One of the most iconic historical events in the country took place there: the capture of the Inca Atahualpa on November 16, 1532. In homage to this fact there is a beautiful pool carved in the eighteenth century. The square also has tall trees and green areas.
Around the square there are important colonial buildings such as the Cathedral of Cajamarca (built in 1665), the church of San Francisco (the largest in the city) as well as the Sanctuary of the Virgen de los Dolores. Of course there are many tourist businesses such as restaurants, hotels, cafes and more. Only 7 kilometers away are the famous Baños del Inca
- More information: Cajamarca’s Plaza de Armas is the scene of one of the most important and joyful festivities in Peru: carnivals. These are held every year from February 3 to 20.
Pucallpa Main Square
Unlike the other squares in Peru, the main square of the city of Pucallpa in the jungle of the country, has a modern design. Its construction dates from 1979 and 1981 by the mayor Manuel Vásquez Valera. In front is the main church of the city (also of modern design). In the central part there is an immense obelisk 25 meters high.
The main square of Pucallpa has an ornamental pool, granite sculptures with representations of customs from the jungle region, as well as a monument to Colonel Pedro Portillo who helped develop this tropical region of Peru. At night the square acquires a lot of color with mechanical games, restaurants, ambulatory shops and outdoor shows.
- More information: The best time to get to know the Main Square of Pucallpa is definitely at night. During the day the temperature can exceed 30ºC. At night, the coolness of the streets makes the citizens congregate there.
Ayacucho Main Square
The Plaza de Armas of the city of Huamanga (Ayacucho) is also called ‘Plaza de Sucre’, due to the main monument in the central part in homage to Marshal Antonio José de Sucre. The square is considered the largest in Peru. It is characterized by the stone arches around it (with red clay roofs).
Around the Plaza de Armas of Ayacucho, colonial buildings such as the Independencia portal, the Unión portal and the Municipality portal stand out. Its design has baroque characteristics from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Like many cities in Peru, there are also tourist businesses around it such as restaurants, hotels, craft shops and more.
- More information: In the Plaza de Armas of Huamanga, one of the main festivities of Peru takes place: Holy Week. In Ayacucho this religious festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over Peru. The date is variable (between the end of March or the beginning of April).
Puno Main Square
Puno’s Plaza de Armas had an original layout that dates back to the arrival of Viceroy Conde de Lemos in the sixteenth century. However, its final construction dates back to 1901 when its structure was built with a pool in the central part but later changed (in 1925) to the monument of Colonel Francisco Bolognesi (hero of the Pacific War).
Like other cities in Peru, in front of the Plaza de Armas in Puno stands a colonial church whose construction dates from the sixteenth century. This church stands out for not having surrounding buildings on its four sides. Although small, it gathers thousands of people in the main festival of the city of Puno: the festival in honor of the Virgen de la Candelaria (February 2).
- More information: During the festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria, the Plaza de Armas in Puno becomes one of the most colorful and lively in Peru. That day the dancers and musical troupes dance and sing until dawn.
By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, April 1, 2023