The Battle of Ayacucho, the decisive confrontation with Spanish forces during South America's Wars 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 victory over Spain, as well as the role of local troops in bringing that victory about.

Quinua is one of the crafts 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 seen as symbols of good luck. The ubiquitous ceramic bulls were 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 of which are Cerámica Artística Sánchez, Rumi Wasi, and Galería Artesanal Límaco; all are on Jirón Sucre off the main plaza. Tours of Huari, Vilcashuamán, and Vischongo often include Quinua, but you can also get here by bus from Ayacucho.

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Fodor's Essential Peru: with Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail

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