Lima is Peru’s capital city, located between the Chillion valleys and rivers to the central coast of Peru. It is home to some of the most marvellous historic monuments and ancient institutions founded during the Spanish reign. If you’re a history buff it’s the perfect place to go on holiday, starting at the historic centre and working your way toward the beautiful countryside.
Historic Centre of Lima
The city of Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and given the name ‘City of the Kings’. At the centre of Lima’s historic past you’ll see a mix of Spanish colonial and Moorish architecture, as well as some of the most unique and historical buildings from the 18th century. From its foundation, Lima’s port of Callao was the point of entry for all trade from Spain, Mexico, and China. A wealthy class emerged, building the spectacular palaces, gardens and churches.
Plaza Mayor is a must see when in Peru. It was here in 1535, that Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima. You can admire all the significant colonial institutions around the Plaza including the Cathedral, Palacio Arzobispal, Parroquia del Sagrario, the Municipality and the Palacio de Gobierno. The Cathedral is open to the public and houses a museum with an extensive collection of art, artefacts and historic memorabilia. The Plaza was also used to execute those condemned by the Spanish Inquisition.
Palace of Justice
Inspired by the architecture of the Law Courts in Brussels, it is a symbol of Peru’s judiciary. It is built in a grand neoclassical style with the Great Hall supported by columns and decorated with monumental bronze lamps. In the centre sits the bust of the first president of the Supreme Court, Don Manuel Lorenzo de Vidaurre. The inside of the Palacio de Justicia is inaccessible to the general public but its architectural value is something to marvel at.
Casa Aliaga is a magnificent example of Spanish colonial architecture. It has been the home of eighteen generations of the Aliaga family and served almost five centuries. It is considered to be one of the oldest houses in South America. It holds a wide collection of Peruvian art and artifacts, such as the sword Jerónimo de Aliaga used in the conquest of Peru. It may not look like much from the outside, but inside you can admire the exquisite craftsmanship, with beautiful vintage furnishings and detailed tilework. It can only be visited via organized excursions with Lima Tours.
If you’re willing to venture out a bit further for a more traditional look into Peruvian life, Cieneguilla is definitely worth the visit. Twenty kilometres east of Lima, its warm sunny weather makes it a popular place to go camping and horseback riding. Cieneguilla is interesting to visit as it has not been devastated by urban growth, and retains much of its wild landscapes and untouched natural surroundings. Make sure you try the many authentic dishes around the area such as pachamanca, a meat and vegetable dish, slow-cooked with wood and hot stones. The main access route to Cieneguilla is a highway emanating from La Molina District.
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