Another 15 kilometers up the road lies Quinua, a pleasant Quechuan village 37 kilometers outside Ayacucho, which is known for its iglesias de Quinua, miniature clay churches that are placed on the roofs of homes to bring good luck.
There are other hand-shaped ceramics as well, all in the region’s red clay and bright mineral paint, ranging from religious images to more humorous depictions of musicians and drunken men.
This remarkable town of cobblestone streets, adobe houses, and colonial church, has a few good restaurants and a few basic rooms for rent at the Hotel Qenwa. The owner is Quinua’s longtime, and somewhat controversial, leader, who headed up the town’s militia against the Shining Path—an 11-year battle that forced much of the town’s population to flee for Ayacucho or Lima.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition