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"All roads lead to Rome," or that's what the Romans said. But those who visit Cusco realize that here this historical sentence change to "all roads lead to Machu Picchu"....
Beyond the wonders of Machu Picchu and the beautiful streets of the Imperial City, Cusco has less visited corners with great charm. One of them is Oropesa, a city located only 25 km from the center of Cusco and known for its tasty bread.
If you want to get to know a typical Cusco district and leave the busy streets of the city for a few hours, do not miss everything Oropesa has to offer.
The bread, the main attraction of Oropesa
As it happens in each region of Peru, Oropesa has its own gastronomic delight, unique and exclusive to this district: bread, an exquisite product that has given this city the nickname of the National Bread Capital.
85% of the inhabitants of this place are dedicated to the production of bread, so when you go down its streets you will feel the smell that emanates from the ovens and that results in different types of this product: chutas, rejillas, molletes, hurones… you’ll want to try them all!
Mysticism and religion: the story of the Child Baker
As it happens with all the traditions of Peru, the bread of Oropesa hides a history that mixes religion and mysticism, two important characteristics in the day to day of the inhabitants of the city.
According to the legend, many years ago, a boy went down the ovens of the district, helping the masters to knead the bread. After this, the boy took the breads with the aim of selling them, but he ended up playing with other children in the area and giving them for free the precious product. When the bakers came to demand the profit of the sale, the child had to explain what happened and, before they could scold him, the money miraculously appeared in the place.
Nobody knew who this child was, which disappeared from one moment to another, until one day, in a procession of the Virgen del Carmen, known in Oropesa as The Spanish, someone noticed that the child that the Virgin carried in her arms had the same face as the missing child. Thus, the work of this child was attributed to a religious miracle and the baby that carries the Virgin of Carmen remained forever with the name of Child Baker.
This way was born the secret of why this bread can not be replicated elsewhere in Peru. According to some teachers in the area, this bread is made with water from the Apu Pachatusan, one of the highest mountains in the Cusco Valley. In addition, each bread that comes out of the oven is blessed by the Virgen del Carmen and the Child Baker. And finally, they only make bread on days that no person dies in the district, because the spirit of the dead body does not let the mass ferment.
An entertaining legend that results in 2000 kilos per day of chuta, its most demanded bread, which is distributed day by day in Cusco and other cities of Peru, such as Arequipa and Puno.
What else can you see in Oropesa?
If you decide to visit the district of Oropesa, in addition to trying the bread fresh from its old ovens, you have to explore the three churches that are in this place. Among them stands out the Church of San Salvador de Oropesa, built in stone, with a beautiful baroque altar and all its walls full of frescoes with various religious images.
Undoubtedly, this building is one of the many example of the colonial architectural wonders that are still preserved in Cusco and its surroundings.
In addition, for those who want to download a bit of adrenaline, Oropesa has a paintball called Zona Gama, where you can spend a few hours of fun with your friends or family.
Location and climate
As we mentioned earlier, the Oropesa district is 25 km east of Cusco, so you can get there in a quick half-hour drive. In addition, only 7 km north of Oropesa is the Tipon Archaeological Park, one of the most representative places of Inca hydraulic architecture.
Oropesa’s climate is very similar to Cusco’s. The year is divided into two seasons: dry season (from May to October) and rainy season (from November to April). Mainly, the days are sunny and the nights are cold, but we recommend you to always be prepared for the precipitations, since they can happen at any time of the year.
How to get to Oropesa?
The Oropesa district is perfectly connected with the city of Cusco, so you can get there without any problem by taxi or taking a bus in the Wanchaq marketplace.