With park benches, green lawns, and splendid views of the Catedral, Cusco's gorgeous colonial Plaza de Armas invites you to stay awhile. Pull up one of those park benches and the world will come to you—without moving an inch you'll be able to purchase postcards, paintings, and snacks, organize a trip to Machu Picchu, get your photograph taken, and get those dirty boots polished. What you see today is a direct descendant of imperial Cusco's central square, which the Inca called the Haukaypata (the only name indicated on today's street signs) and which extended as far as the Plaza del Regocijo. According to belief, this was the exact center of the Inca empire, Tawantinsuyo, the Four Corners of the Earth. Today, continuing the tradition, it's the tourism epicenter. From the plaza you'll see the Catedral and Iglesia de la Compañía on two sides, and the graceful archways of the colonial portales, or covered arcades, lining the other sides. Soft lighting bathes the plaza each evening
and creates one of Cusco's iconic views. Many of the city's frequent parades (and some protests) pass through the Plaza, especially on Sundays. Enjoy the views of colonial Cusco, but note that any attempt to sit on one of those inviting green lawns will prompt furious whistle-blowing from the guards.