More than 400 years ago, the Spanish conqueror (“conquistador”) Francisco Pizarro named Lima the City of the Kings (“Ciudad de los Reyes”). Nowadays, that same city, which rose from the lands of the native chief Taulischusco, is a metropolis of over 7 million people who proudly preserve the colonial convents and mansions which are symbols of their ancient and noble traditions.
Lima, capital of Peru, founded on January 18, 1535, is a modern city which, while constantly expanding, has also managed to maintain the elegance of its Historic Center. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Center, due to the large number of artistic monuments found there, Historic Lima is an enchanting haven of a period long gone.
ATTRACTIONS IN LIMA
Construction was begun on Lima Cathedral, on the city’s Main Square (Plaza Mayor), with the city’s foundation, on January 18, 1535. Initially a modest church, in 1564, architect Jeronimo de Aliaga designed a temple of monumental dimensions modeled on Seville Cathedral in Spain.
Notable features in its interior are its choir pews, the ivory baroque chapel of La Inmaculada and the Christ donated by Carlos V of Spain, and the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the “conquistador” of Peru.
Santo Domingo Church: Santo Domingo, the oldest convent in Lima, is one the city’s most peaceful spots due to its harmonious architectural style. Consisting of a series of cloisters and courtyards surrounded by service areas and community halls, to the right of its main altar, you will find the final resting places of Saint Rose of Lima, San Martin de Porres and the beatified Juan Masías.
Church and Convent of San Francisco:
Due to its magnificent harmony of volume and color, San Francisco is considered by some as the greatest architectural complex of its kind in Latin America. Its construction was started in 1542 and completed in 1674.The convent, the cloisters and gatehouse are decorated with tiles from Seville. In the basement are underground galleries or catacombs that, during the Viceroyalty, served as a cemetery for the city.
Casa Aliaga (House of Aliaga):
This mansion was built over the private temple of the native chief Taulischusco, leading authority of the Rimac Valley during Inca times. The house belonged to Jeronimo de Aliaga who was given the land by Francisco Pizarro. Almost uniquely in both Peru and Latin America, the house continues to be occupied by descendants of the conquistador right to this day.
Casa de Pilatos (House of Pilate):
This house is one of the oldest in Lima. Built in 1590 by Jesuit Luis Portillo, it owes its name due to its similarity with the Casa de Pilatos in Seville, Spain.
Casa Goyeneche or Rada (House of Goyeneche or Rada): One of the first mansions in Lima to display the French influence common in the mid 18th century, it still maintains its traditional structure today, most notably with its balconies and doorways, characteristic of that period.
Palacio de Torre Tagle (Torre Tagle Palace):
The most beautiful of Lima’s 18th century mansions, due to its true ‘Limeño’ architectural originality, harmoniously combining as it does Andalusian, Moorish, Creole and Asian features. The Palace, nowadays home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has a stone facade and two carved balconies; both authentic “Limeño” architectural jewels.
The Government (or Presidential) Palace:
Located on the Main Square (Plaza de Armas), it houses elegant apartments and halls, in addition to priceless paintings. It is also known as the Casa de Pizarro (House of Pizarro) due to the fact that it stands on the site the conquistador selected to govern from.Court of the Holy Office or the Inquisition (Tribunal del Santo Oficio): The Inquisition was established in Peru in 1569 to punish heresies and other offenses against the Catholic religion, and wasn’t abolished until 1820. The building has an imposing neoclassical portico and an exquisite ceiling carved in wood in its main hall, the finest extant in Lima.
Plaza Mayor (Main Square):
Lima’s Plaza Mayor is the “heart” of the city, lively and Creole to the core, a “heart” which started to beat the very day the city was founded. More beautiful than ever due to its recent renovation, its bronze fountain stands out; with its statue of the Angel of Fame holding a clarion in its left hand and its right a flag bearing both Lima’s and the Crown’s coat of arms.
Plaza San Martin (San Martin’s Square):
This “plaza” was inaugurated in 1921 on the Centennial of Peru’s Independence. The monument in honor of General José de San Martín, Argentine Liberator of Peru, was created by Catalan sculptor, don Mariano Benlluire. The upper part shows the independence warrior ascending the Andes on horseback. The figure is leaning against a granite pedestal, which has the shape of a truncated pyramid with a stepped base.
Parque Universitario (University Park):
Dating from 1870, when the city’s colonial walls were demolished and 20,000 thousand square meters were designated for a small square. It was only decided to cobblestone it in 1920, and the German community of Peru arranged for the construction of a 30-meter high tower clock which chimes the music of the National Anthem every day at noon, to celebrate Peru’s Independence Centennial.
Pantanos de Villa (Villa Swamps):
A Metropolitan Ecological Park in Chorrillos, 30 minutes from downtown Lima. The swamps or “humedales” (humid lands) stretch over more than 2,000 hectares and are a refuge for migrating birds. If you’re in need of an excellent centrally located hotel, our Airport hotel Lima is the perfect accommodation. It’s only five minutes from the airport and it has all the hotel amenities you could ask for.