The Capital of Peru, Lima is nicknamed “La Ciudad de los Palacios” or the city of palaces in English. It was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the banks of the Rimac River in 1535. It is located on the central coastal area of Peru just 12 km of the Pacific Ocean and has its own port on the city of Callao.
Lima is an amazing city that should be visited in depth
I must confess that many people use Lima just as a stop to visit other important places in Peru, like the number one Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the Colca Canyon, the Amazon rainforest and others. But it is recommended to stay in Lima at least a few days, because there is a lot to see.
In the beginning of the colonization of South America by the Spaniards, Lima was the center of the vast viceroyalty that extended from present time Ecuador to central Chile.
Its architecture is to be admired; there are palaces decorated in the baroque style that added glamour to the population of the times of the colony. Lima has been destroyed by earthquakes several times through its history, but the “Centro Colonial” survived and now it has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Let’s explore some of the most important sites.
Museo Rafael Larco Herrera
This museum housed in an 18th century mansion, it is a privately run one exhibiting one of the largest collections of ceramics you’ll ever see.
It includes over 50,000 pots dating to the 1900s stacked to the ceiling among a mind-boggling amount of ceramics. In the rest of the museum the most important pieces are displayed in a subtler manner including a selection of gold and silver pieces and all types of textiles.
Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historía del Perú
It traces the history of Peru From the very beginning before the arrival of colonizers. It shows a piece of 2 meters rock from the Chavin culture, even before the Incas.
The building was once the home of revolutionary heroes like San Martin (1821-1822) and Bolivar (1823-1826. Today it hosts some early republic paintings like the 18th century renowned “Last Supper” where Christ and his disciples are served cuy or guinea pig.
Monasterio de San Francisco
This baroque structure in a bright yellow is the home of 25,000 old texts some dating to before the conquest. Here you may see a Geometric Moorish style cupola that was carved in 1625 out of Nicaraguan Cedar. It was later restored in 1969.
Plaza de Armas
It was once the center of Lima. In the center you may see the large bronze fountain erected in 1650. The building of the Cathedral is also there.
Museo de Oro del Perú
Located in Lima until it was discovered that many of the pieces were fake. It later reopened with the assurance that the pieces are actually made of gold. It is a privately-owned museum.
Is located on the Plaza de Acho, the capitals bullring and it documents the history of Peruvian bull fighting with weapons, paintings and photographs and outfits worn by bullfighters through history.
Palacio de Gobierno del Peru
This is the residence of Peru’s President. The building located next to Plaza de Armas and the Archibishop’s Palace, was built in 1937.
A presidential guard is on duty all day and the changing of the guard is performed daily at noon. There are organized tours to visit the palace. They are free of charge but have to be arranged previously.
Museo de la Nación
It provides the history of Peru through its different civilizations, from Chavin stone carvings to the knotted rope quipus of the Incas to artifacts from the colony. On the 6th floor there is an exhibition called Yuyanapaq, meaning remembrance in the Quechua language.
Iglesia de Las Nazarenas
It was once a shantytown inhabited by former slaves. One of them painted an image of the Crucifixion on a wall that survived several earthquakes.
A church was built around that wall and today serves as a centerpiece of the altar. It has survived many earthquakes but the wall always survived.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo
Originally completed in the 16th century this impressive church was remodeled several times through history. It is renowned for being the final resting place of three important saints of Peru, Santa Rosa de Lima, for whom the city is named; Sa Juan Macias and San Martin de Porres, the first black saint in the continent.
Pachacamac near the Capital of Peru
This is another archaeological site located about 30 km from Lima. It is not compared to Machu Picchu, but it is still worth a visit. This is a Pre-Columbian complex of adobe houses, temples and palaces starting at about 100 AD. When the Incas arrived in 1450 they added many more structures.
Palacio Torre Tagle in Lima
As mentioned at the beginning, Lima, the Capital of Peru, is called the city of Palaces. There are many of these palaces throughout the city and many are occupied by museums and private offices. This impressive “Casona” built in 1735 with baroque and Moorish style architecture is the best of all. It is occupied by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry. Groups and educational organizations may request a tour in advance.
Map showing the location of Lima the Capital of Peru
images credits for capital of peru
larco by chirimoya
san francisco n/a
armas by robert luna3
gobierno by diego delso
santo domingo by diego delso
pachacamac by xauxa
tagle by capomo81
all courtesy of wikimedia commons