Tourists coming to Peru primarily sought the sights created by the ancient Indian civilization and overlooked the capital city Lima. This was due to the unstable economic and political situation, which led to the decline of the once beautiful city. The situation changed in 1993, when the country began to stabilize. Today Lima is an attractive tourist destination, with developed guest architecture.
History of Lima
Since its founding in 1535 by the Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro, the city was called Ciudad de los Reyes or “City of Kings”. Lima is an Indian name that has caught on over time. The settlement grew rapidly and became the center of the Spanish colonies. Many aristocrats from Europe came here, building up Lima with beautiful buildings in what was later called the colonial style. In the 18th century the city falls into decline, provoked by the development of Cartagena and Buenos Aires. After Peru declared its independence in 1821, Lima became the official capital of the new state.
The Second Pacific War again led to the city’s decline. The situation improves slightly by the 1930s. But the great earthquake of 1940 not only destroyed 23% of the houses, but also brought the crisis back to Lima and led to prolonged political and economic instability. Unemployment, high crime rates, hundreds of thousands of migrants from the highlands, and inflation were all present in Peru until the early 1990s.
Today, this Latin American country shows a stable development trend, which had a positive impact on the appearance of the capital. There are still a lot of problems, though.
Lima’s Top 5 Sights
Lima is a huge metropolis with a population (including suburbs) of more than 9 million. man. Its territory is divided into seven counties and 49 districts. The main attractions of the Peruvian capital are concentrated in just a few areas. Therefore, the tour of Lima should be planned on this basis.
The heart of Lima, its cradle, is the Old City, now considered the historical center of the capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The jewel in the crown of the capital is the Basilica of St. Francis with a monastery. A majestic building from the 16th-17th centuries, lined with specially imported tiles of bright yellow color from Seville. Today the monastery offers visitors the opportunity to view the exposition of the Museum of Art and Religion, to wander through the covered galleries, decorated with indescribable beauty tiles, go down into the catacombs, turned into a cemetery and keep the bones of 70 thousand people.
The complex is located in the city’s central square, Plaza de Armas, which is considered the site of Lima’s founding. A walk through it and the surrounding streets will give real aesthetic pleasure, because it is truly a museum in the open air. In the center of the square is the fountain, built in 1578 and rebuilt in 1651 The perimeter is built with masterpieces: the Archbishop’s Palace (1924), the monastery of Las Nazarenes (1771), the Cathedral (1538), the palace of Torre Taglié (1735) and many others. others. noteworthy buildings.
The old houses used to be privately owned. Today most of them house museums and government offices. Attracts the attention of the tourist abundance of balconies, on the ancient buildings. It is estimated that there are at least 1,600 of them in the Old City. Closed and open, decorated with carvings and simple – these are what distinguish Lima from other cenotes of the colonial era and give the historic districts a unique color and charm.
Miraflores and San Isidro
These two areas are also in the central district of the capital and have direct access to the ocean. It began to be built up in the mid-19th century and today has become a cultural and business center not only Lima, but the whole of Peru. It is chosen to live for people with income well above average. There are many stores, theaters, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. The neighborhoods (especially San Ysidro) received a boost of development toward the end of the twentieth century, so modern glass and concrete buildings predominate.
But there are plenty of historical sites as well. In Miraflorenc, there are traces of the ancient Indians who lived in the area – the ruins of two huge pyramids of adobe bricks. Huaca Huallamarca is dated to the 3rd century A.D., and Huaca Pulyana to the 4th century. The area abounds with picturesque parks in which peculiar fairs are regularly organized. The area is abundant with picturesque parks where fairs of a kind are regularly organized.
San Isidro can “boast” not only modern high-rises, but also magnificent gardens and an olive grove, which was planted by the first settlers in 1560. And it’s not just big waves that can drag a bather, but also not always clean large pebble beaches. The Costa Verde coast is beloved by surfers, for whom the ocean waves – the meaning of life. The enterprising Peruvians took advantage of this. On the coast there are several good surf clubs with training classes and equipment rentals.
The Barranco neighborhood is considered the bohemian neighborhood of Lima. Here is the densest concentration of poets, musicians and artists. And tourists are primarily attracted by the Municipal Park and the Bridge of Sighs. The park is named so for a reason – the district municipality is located on its territory. In addition, you can admire the church of the Holy Cross, visit the old library, relax on the shore of the pond, surrounded by beautiful greenery and many sculptures.
Romantic souls must visit the Bridge of Sighs. There is an interesting omen associated with it – it grants wishes. But in order to do so, it must be crossed without breathing. Just across the bridge is the active temple of La Hermite. This small church is distinguished by its beautiful medieval architecture.
Barranco has the cleanest beaches in Lima. You can walk to the coast along Bajada de los Baños, above which is the Bridge of Sighs. The whole area is saturated with hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. The price range is very wide, and almost everyone can find entertainment and recreation to his liking and wallet.
Lima is a multicultural city. The Chinese began to settle here in 1849, when slavery was abolished and cheap labor was needed for the sugar cane and cotton plantations. Lima’s Chinatown is considered the oldest in both Americas. People from the Celestial Empire brought with them a special way of life and distinctive cultural features. The neighborhood is full of small shops and Guangdong eateries. Chinese cuisine has been influenced by traditional Peruvian cuisine, so some dishes are an interesting combination of the two flavor worldviews. If you are going to visit Chinatown, you must be prepared for a crowded neighborhood that does not depend on the time of day.
You can see interesting sights in Lima not only in the center of the capital, but also on its outskirts. In the southern part of the city there are several curious museums devoted to archaeology. The Pachacamac Pyramids are a legacy of the Wari Indians, who worshipped the place as sacred. To the west of the capital on the coast you can see the Fortaleza del Real Felipe star fortress, built in the 18th century to protect the capital.
La Punta was favored by the local nobility in the first half of the twentieth century. They built their mansions on the oceanfront and came here to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. It remains an island of silence and tranquility to this day. There’s an interesting observation deck – it’s essentially a breakwater, extending far into the ocean.
What else can I see in Lima?
Lima is also home to the Guinness World Record holder, the Fountain Park. It is the largest facility of its kind in the world. It is located in the Parc de la Reserva and consists of 13 fountains. Every evening, visitors to the park waiting for a grand show – the fountains “dance”. The action is accompanied by beautiful music and a laser show.
The ancient cemetery of the Peruvian capital is also of interest. The necropolis was founded in 1808. In the center was an octagonal chapel, of which only the floor plates have survived. It’s a very informative place. After all, individuals of great importance to the city are laid to rest here. And some tombstones are true works of art.
There are many corners in Lima that are just pleasant to walk around. These are embankments and numerous parks. The patches of green in the Peruvian metropolis are very well-kept. The Exposition Park will keep you cool on a hot day. It is more than 140 years old. It is located by the lake, and the whole landscape and decoration are sustained in the neo-Renaissance style. Lovers prefer the famous Love Park. It is one of Lima’s recent landmarks – it was inaugurated on February 14, 1993. There is an original fence around its perimeter on which quotations about love have been mosaicked. But the highlight of the park is a sculpture depicting a couple kissing.
When planning a trip to Peru, you need to keep in mind that this is in the southern hemisphere and summer begins in December here. But even in winter, the temperature in Lima is above zero. So to visit the city is suitable at any time, the more that the seasonal decline in hotel prices is not observed. The proximity of the ocean makes the air saturated with moisture, but it almost never rains.
Smog is a problem in metropolitan areas, especially areas remote from the ocean, but if you stay for a short time, it will not have time to cause damage to your health. But if a long tour or vacation in Peru is planned, accommodation should be chosen in Miraflores or Barranco.
How to get to Lima?
The only way to get to Lima is by air. There are no direct flights from Russia. You can change planes at a European airport or fly to Cuba and take a flight to Lima. For sea cruisers, another option is to fly to the west coast of the United States and from there take an ocean liner to the capital of Peru.
In any case, given the distance, the trip will not be cheap. You can save a little money if you buy tickets in advance and go straight there and back. A nice plus is that you don’t need a visa to travel to Peru. You can stay in the country for up to six months, but as a rule, the customs office gives permission for three months.
Video overview of sights in Lima
Peru is one of the countries of Latin America, which in terms of tourism is known to the world as the custodian of the heritage of the Inca Empire. Ruins of Machu Picchu, Tucume Pyramid Valley, Inca Trail, unique Chan Chan, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, mysterious geoglyphs of Nasca Desert – Peru is associated with these sights. Lima’s beauties have only recently begun to be discovered by the world. And this megalopolis is worthy to visit it and get acquainted with its rich history.