As in most major Latinamerican cities, the Plaza de Armas in Cusco is the center of all activities. This is the place where the Spanish torn apart Tupac Amaru, a famous Inca ruler. Later Tupac Amaru II was executed here as well. Today a large statue of the last Inca throne atop of a beautiful fountain in the center of Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by churches, restaurants and a lot of  travel agencies.

But once a year, the place is changing. On Christmas Eve the farmers and artisans from the neighborhood come to sell their products. This is the market Santuranticuy. Most of them are women in their colorful costumes, dragging a bunch of kids behind them. They spend the nights under the arcades of the surrounding houses.

But Christmas in Peru is also the feast of charity: In many places are Chocolatadas, where free hot chocolate drinks are distributed. There are also charity associations, religious groups and NGOs to distribute gifts, which may sometimes end in small riots.

As for me, with some thirty friends from Couchsurfing, I spent Christmas Eve at the premises of an NGO from Luxembourg: Eng Breck mat Latainamerika . This NGO supports various projects in Peru, including one that deals with underprivileged children in the vicinity of Cusco. Each of us brought a gift for one of these kids; they were given to them the following day. Unfortunately I could not attend the presentation of gifts.