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The Battle of Ayacucho, the decisive battle against Spain in the Peruvian War of Independence, took place on the Pampas de Quinua grasslands 37 km (23 miles) northeast of the city, near the village of Quinua, on December 9, 1824. Today a white obelisk rises 44 meters (144 feet) above the pampas to commemorate Peru's independence from Spain and cement the role of locals in bringing it about.
Quinua is one of the craft centers of Peru. It's best known for its ceramics, and you'll find various examples on the windowsills and rooftops of the adobe houses. Miniature churches, delicately painted with ears of corn or flowers, are frequently seen symbols of good luck. The ubiquitous ceramic bulls are figures once used in festivities associated with cattle-branding ceremonies. Tours from Ayacucho bring you into the workshops of the many artisans in the village. Among the better-quality workshops are: Cerámica Artística Sánchez, Rumi Wasi, and Galería Artesanal Límaco; all on Jr. Sucre off the main plaza. Tours of Huari, Vilcashuaman, and Vischongo often include Quinua, but you can also get here by bus from Ayacucho.
Tucked into the folds of the Andes, 2,740 meters (8,987 feet) up on the slopes, Ayacucho is a colorful, colonial-style town. Though its looks...