Sitting in Trujillo’s Plaza de Armas—the large square that forms the heart of the city’s historical district—there is a surreal feeling knowing this is the spot from which modern Peru began. On the Spanish conquistadores’ push through the continent in search of silver and gold, the city of Trujillo was founded when this square was created in 1534. Nearly 300 years later, in 1820, it would be from right here in the Plaza de Armas that Trujillo would become the first city in Peru to announce its independence from Spain.
Despite the fact that modern day Trujillo is one of the largest cities in Peru, the historical center around the Plaza de Armas has retained its Colonial charm. The distinctive architecture of 17th century Spain forms a ring around the square, and colors such as the pastel yellow of the Trujillo Cathedral and the deeply rich blue of the Archdiocese, infuse the square with a sense of life which seems to permeate everyone who visits.
In the center of the square, interspersed amongst the throngs of pedestrians and locals on a midday stroll, the Freedom Monument springs from the crowd in an artistic form of defiance. Set atop a granite base, the uppermost statue of a man with raised fist is an enduring symbol Trujillo’s quest for liberation and independence. By night, the Colonial buildings around the Plaza de Armas are bathed in hundreds of lights, and walking through the illuminated Plaza de Armas is one of Trujillo’s most romantic displays.
The Plaza de Armas is located in the center of the historical district of Trujillo. Many of the city’s Colonial attractions are within one block of the Plaza, and while visiting the Plaza is relatively safe, visitors should be acutely aware of their belongings as it is a known hangout for pickpockets.