Andahuaylas is normally used as a brief stopover between Ayacucho and Cuzco, as it admittedly lacks the looks of either of those two cities. But it's a good base for exploring the dramatic nearby Chanka ruins of Sondor, plus a host of natural attractions, from lakes to rock formations.
The city was the capital of the Chanka people, who put up the fiercest resistance to the Incas before eventually falling in battle in around 1430. And the Chanka spirit of independence still burns in the second-most important city of Apurímac department.
It takes a while to make sense of the place, especially if you are here on a Sunday when one of the biggest and most bizarre markets in the Andes sprawls through the city center.