Photos of Ayacucho before Shining Path

(PeruThisWeek) Peruvian photographer Baldomero Alejos spent over 50 years (1924-1976) capturing images of residents of the Huamanga Province capital, revealing a city once calm and thriving ... An exhibition of 80 of Alejos’ photos was inaugurated earlier this month in Barcelona. Titled “La calma antes de la tormenta” (The calm before the storm), the show will run until February 18 at the Fernandez Jurado de Castelldefels Library.

Lucía Alejos, granddaughter of the photographer and resident of Barcelona, spoke with El Pais newspaper about the damaging effects of terrorism upon the people of Ayacucho, noting that many became displaced during the 80s and 90s, thus losing a part of their identity.

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Ayacucho is located in Southeast Peru. If you were to draw a line between Lima and Cusco, Ayacucho would be just about in the middle (off center, but close).

"Aya" in Quechua means death and "cuchu" means outback. The name is appropriate because it is one of the poorest sections of the country. It was the perfect spot for Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) to nurture the movement that was bent on overthrowing the Peruvian government in the 80s.

This photography exhibit seems fascinating as it gives us a glimpse into what Ayacucho was like "before the storm".

Today, Ayacucho is starting to become a tourist destination again. Known for it's beautiful and richly decorated churches, it is a great place to experience the authentic Peru that hasn't been commercialized... yet.

Jared Snow