“The City of the Kings”
Peru’s capital, Lima, is the main gateway to Peru, a city bustling with living history and activity. It is an ethnic melting pot, with a heritage that features pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern elements. With more than 8.5 million inhabitants, Lima is also the country’s largest city. In 1988, Lima was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a symbol of the cultural diversity that distinguishes Peru. If you visit Peru a travel to Lima is must!
Founded by Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is situated in the valleys of the Chillón, Rimac and Lurin rivers, in the central part of the country. He chose the site of the capital for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and links with sailing routes: the City of the Kings was created!
The location where Lima now sits was inhabited by previous civilisations that chose the site because of its strategic location. Proof of that can be seen by the countless huacas or temples that dot the valley, particularly the Pachacamac shrine, a major pilgrimage centre during the Inca Empire. Another proof of its importance throughout history can be found to the north of Lima on the archaeological site of Paramonga, which features pre-Hispanic archaeological sites.
Lima‘s colonial architecture is exemplified in the many fine churches and convents one finds there, such as Santo Domingo, San Agustín, San Francisco, and La Merced. Among the most renowned of Lima‘s architectural buildings we find the Palace of the Governor, the Municipal Palace and the Torre Tagle Palace.
Lima is a vibrant city with an active nightlife and thriving cultural scene; its plentiful public transport means you can enjoy the city around the clock.
Plaza de Armas
Also called Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Armas is where Francisco Pizarro founded the city in 1535. On the north side is the Government Palace (rebuilt in 1935). You can watch the famous changing of the guard at noon. On the east side of the plaza is the Cathedral, begun in 1564 and completed in 1622. It was reduced to rubble in a 1746 earthquake and was completely rebuilt in 1755.
Museum of Larco Herrera
This museum is a large colonial mansion located in the Pueblo Libre district. Larco Herrera Museum has the largest private collection of Pre-Columbian ceramics (45,000 pieces). The museum mainly concentrates on items from the Moche Dynasty (AD 200-700) that lived along the northern coast in an area close to present-day Trujillo. The museum is divided into three sections: the main museum, the warehouse museum (a kind of overflow) and, most intriguingly, the erotic art museum. The main museum houses a gold-and-silver-of-ancient-Peru exhibition, a magnificent textile collection and thousands of pieces of pottery.
Museo de la Nación
Lima‘s National Museum is well laid out and very informative. The various cultures that gave rise to the formation of the Inca Empire are displayed here in chronological order. The exhibits are housed in vast halls spread over three floors. A visit to the museum is recommended before touring the archaeological sites themselves. Displays are well labelled in both Spanish and English – and include scale models of many of the Inca sites around Cusco, as well as from the north of Peru, such as the tomb of Señor de Sipan. There is also a comprehensive collection of traditional costumes from across the country and miniature models depicting life in pre-Conquest times, as well as a fine collection of ceramics and mummies.
Gold Museum of Peru
The museum has thousands of gold pieces from the pre-Inca and Inca eras. There are decorative items from all the various cultures, such as embossed and weaved nose ornaments, and stone pendants, as well as mantles, bracelets and earflaps of the Vicus culture and pre-Colombian textiles from the Paracas culture that are more than 2,000 years old. The museum also contains a wonderful collection of antique weapons from different parts of the world.