Absolutely all the streets of our historic center have something to tell, but this time CuscoPeru.com will tell you the different stories by which the portals surrounding the Plaza Mayor acquired their current names. To start we must be located in the Cathedral of Cusco, specifically, turning our back (facing the Inca). We will start on our right side, where we will find the Portal de Panes. From here we will begin to walk around the Plaza Mayor describing the history of each portal.

Hotel Unaytambo is located just 5 minutes away from Cusco's Plaza Mayor, a magical place you can't miss.



Nowadays it is called this way, but the old name was Portal del Comisario because in it had house the Commissioner of the Inquisition, whose court, secret chamber and chamber of torment, were built near the Cathedral, long before the Chapel of the Sagrada Familia. Until 1895 it was indistinctly called Portal de Carnes and Portal de Zapatos, because of the stalls that sold these items there.


It is small and has an uneven floor. It forms an angle with the Portal de Carnes, and he/she has the name of Portal de Harinas because there they sold this article in sacks aligned along the wall. Previously it was called Portal de Carbajal, because the first house was built by Don Francisco de Carbajal, the Demon of the Andes, who after the defeat of Jaquijahuana was sentenced by his victor, the lawyer Don Pedro de la Gasca to be dragged, beheaded and quartered. The Spaniards of that time gave it the name of Portal del Mármol de Carbajal, a name that the vendors of the Plaza Mayor market have replaced with the one it has today.


The houses that there are in that portal located next to the already named, were built on the ruins of the Palace of the Inca Pachacutec, in which the conqueror Francisco Pizarro took lodging, and turned it later into prison of some of his enemies. In the time of the Corregidor Suarez de Carbajal it was called "Portal de la Bofetada", because of the sacrilege mentioned by the Franciscan Father.

The story goes that a girl wanted to buy "Chutacas with Cinnamon", which they did not want to sell, until in her defense, the Father Bursar, eager to please the girl, ordered the tonsured man to give up the real of bread and as he was not obeyed at the moment, he raised his arm and gave the Father such a strong slap, that he fell to the ground. The people who were in the Portal raised a great roar of protest, while the Corregidor walked away taking the girl by the arm. Then the mercedario, wiping the blood that came out of his mouth and looking at the Corregidor, exclaimed: "You wretched swordsman, you will not die a good death". The prognosis had fatal fulfillment the night June 24 of the year 1549 that the carpenter Vicente Corbanál killed the first Corregidor of Cusco.


The people of yesteryear called it "Portal de Fonderias", because the poor people and the vendors of the market of the main square, went at nine in the morning and at three in the afternoon to satisfy the hunger in the smoky hovels established there. Much later, in the time of Bishop Ocón, a black freedwoman named María, settled in that doorway and dedicated herself to making nougat and confectionery, from which the name of the place derives.


It was so called because of the stores that the Jewish and Spanish mercedarios had there, who filled their piggy bank selling mercedarias from overseas, cloth from Segovia and famed Castilla, so esteemed by the women of the populace. Already at the time of the Emancipation it was called "Portal de ropa-vejeros", which any reader will explain.


It was called "Portal de Sastres", until the Jesuit Convent was inaugurated with fifty friars who settled in the three cloisters of the spacious convent; whose construction, including that of its beautiful temple, was directed by Jesuit architects and priests in Italy. It took them only seventeen years to complete such a vast building, and all the work was supervised by Father Francisco Patiño. According to ancient accounts, there is a great treasure hidden in the vault of the temple.


It has that name since colonial times because the owners of the stores located in that portal, grouped in front of the pillars, forming bundles, reeds and sticks called maguey, which were highly sought after by rocket makers and sculptors. The people called it "Soqos qhatupúrtal".


Bishop Ocon, at the request of the secular Cabildo in 1645, declared Our Lady of Bethlehem as Patroness of the Arms and Patroness of our city; and Don Idelfonso de Gandarillas, lobbyist and owner of one of the houses of the said portal put a sign near the street door saying: "This is Portal de Belen".

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