Historical Center of the Lima city

"Cultural World Heritage Site" by UNESCO


Lima "The Very Noble, Distinguished and Very Loyal City of the Kings" as says in the Coat-of-Arms received from the Kings of Spain on December 7th, 1537; three times prized "The Garden City".


Capital of the New World. It was the headquarters of the Spain crown government's authority, forty Spaniard viceroys governed in the Palace of Pizarro during 282 years. From their foundation up to 1821, under the dynasties of the Asturias and Bourbons, it was the center of the biggest political, commercial and ecclesiastical power in all the Spanish colonies


Lima had its great acme during the XVII and XVIII centuries. Its material progress, the construction of big palaces and houses, its churches and convents treasured of art jewels, all this amid the luxury and wealth of its nobility that made boast of its mansions and dresses, granted Lima the fame of being the richest and prosperous city in all the colonies.


During the Colony, the city was walled, for protection of pirate attacks, and this area is the one that today is known as "Damero de Pizarro", "Lima Cuadrada" or "El Cercado" and it corresponds to the historical center of Lima located among the avenues Tacna, Grau, Abancay and the Rímac River.


During the Republican Age, Lima was the first city of South America that had railroad (Lima - Callao), telegraph and gas illumination. It was during Marshal Ramón Castilla's government.


The Historical Center of Lima conserves numerous constructions, that due to its immense beauty, in the architectural context, and for the artistic jewels of incalculable value, was declared as "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO.


In the last years, the Mayors of Lima have carried out an extraordinary campaign for the recovery of order and cleaning of downtown, restoration of numerous buildings, and a special campaign for restoration of the old balconies. Today the center of Lima is an area to spend great and unforgettable moments in a city tour.


All the monuments will be described in order to make easier your visit:


Plaza Mayor

The main square and urban center of the city of Lima. Founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, it is surrounded by the principal buildings dating from the colonial period: the Government Palace, the Cathedral and the Municipality or City Hall. At the center of this handsome architectural complex there is a magnificent ornamental bronze fountain, fused by Antonio Rivas, dating from 1650, and bearing the coats-of-arms of Lima, Spain, and of the Viceroy Conde de Salvatierra. Recently remodeled, the Square has recovered its traditional elegance, to become one of Peru's special tourist attractions.


The Cathedral

Visiting hours: Mon. – Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. The conqueror Francisco Pizarro put the first stone of the Cathedral the same day of the foundation of Lima. The church was placed under the invocation of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, and on May 11, 1540 the holy sacred heart of Jesus was placed for the first time. From then on it had different rebuilt due to earthquakes. Particularly noteworthy are its altars consecrated to Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo and the Virgen de la Evangelización. Pope John Paul II crowned the statue of the Virgen de la Evangelización, a gift sent by King Carlos V of the Spain, in a special ceremony during his visit to Peru in 1985. Other outstanding features are the choir stalls, the churrigueresque (Spanish baroque) chapel of the Immaculate, the main altar and a Christ made of carved ivory. Entering to the right is the crypt with remains of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro. The Museum of Religious Art is located in the Sacristy. To left side of the Church is located the Archbishop Palace with beautiful balconies.


Government Palace

Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:30 A.M. – 13:00 P.M. / 2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. Also called Casa de Gobierno (House of Government) or Casa de Pizarro (Pizarro's House). From the foundation of Lima, it was the elected place of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro for the construction of his house and government's headquarters. After his death in 1541, it has been the headquarters of all the Peruvian governors, Viceroys and Presidents, until now.

At the moment are conserved magnificent living rooms, like the Golden Living room that has rich pictorial collections. It is the official residence of the President of the Republic. Every day at 11:45 a.m. in the main esplanade, fronting the Main Plaza, is carried out the ceremony of Changing the Guard (Húsares de Junín) ceremony that is recommended to attend.


Palacio Municipal (City Hall)

It occupies the same place that the first town hall of the colony, Nicolás de Ribera "the Old" founded in Lima on 1535. Its current construction corresponds to 1939, work of José Alvarez C., Emilio Harth Terré and Ricardo de Jara Malachowski. Beautiful colonial wooden balconies, of sober and elegant interior. The Hall City has an important collection of Peruvian paintings and photographs, as well as the historical documents of the Founding of Lima on January 18, 1535 and the Independence of Peru, obtained in 1821.


Pancho Fierro Art Gallery

The Pancho Fierro art gallery is located in Pasaje Santa Rosa. It is used by the cultural affairs section of the City Hall of Lima, to display photographs, paintings and costumes of old Lima.


Monument to Tauli Chusco

A large stone in place in Pasaje Santa Rosa, a small street leading into the Plaza Mayor, beside de Hall City, commemorates Tauli Chusco, the last Curaca or Indian governor of the Rímac Valley. This monument was unveiled on the 450th anniversary of the founding of the city of Lima.


China Town

Jirón Paruro, Barrios Altos. It is one of the largest in South America. Walking through its streets means getting to know the customs and products of this millennial culture. Mainly, it is about eating the delicious food found in the numerous area restaurants called "chifas". The Entrance Monument to Calle Capón is a nice architectural piece.


Parque de la Muralla

Jirón Amazonas, block 1, close to Jirón Abancay, block 1. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. Free admission. It houses a fragment of the restored old wall that surrounded Lima and was built in the seventeenth century to protect it from pirates and attacks from enemies of the Spanish crown. There is a statue of the founder of Lima, Francisco Pizarro, and a site museum with exhibitions of archeological pieces found in the area.


Parque de la Exposición

Intersection of the Avenidas 28 de Julio y Garcilaso de la Vega. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 9:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. The park houses monuments that correspond to the hundred years of independence like the Morisco Pavilion, the Seismograph, the Chinese Fountain, the Botanical Gardens, and the Japanese Garden. There are also areas dedicated to arts and entertainment like the Puppet Island, the Open Theater, and the La Cabaña Theater.


Magic Circuit of the Water - Parque de la Reserva

Beautiful fountains with playing water, colored lights and laser rays which dance with the music rhythm. This newly revamped park is a pride of Lima's citizens. The Parque de la Reserva was inaugurated by the Mr. Luis Castañeda Mayor of Lima's (May 2007). The Magic Circuit of the Water Tour is currently the world record holder for the largest fountain complex in the world, consisting of 13 distinct fountains, many of which are interactive. All of the fountains are lighted at night, many with continuously changing color schemes. The largest fountain in the park named "Magic Fountain" (Fuente Mágica) contains a jet which forces water to a height of over 80 m. Additional attractions are the Tunnel Fountain of Surprises (Fuente Túnel de las Sorpresas), a 35 m. walk through water tunnel; the Children's Fountain (Fuente de los Niños), a walk-in automated fountain; and a tunnel connecting the two sections of the park which contains an exhibition highlighting recent public works projects in Lima. The Fantasia Fountain (Fuente de la Fantasia), site of a regularly-scheduled laser and picture show, is 120 m. in length and contains water-jets that are synchronized to music. (Photo Gallery Magic Circuit of the Water)


Cementerio General Presbítero Matías Maestro (Presbyter Matias Maestro General Cemetery)

Jirón Ancash, blocks 16 – 20. Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. Guided night visits are offered on the last Thursday of the month (except December). Telephone: (511) 385-2084 / 385-2117 (extension 233). This was the first cemetery in Lima, inaugurated in 1808 by Viceroy Abascal and designed up by the famous Spanish architect Presbyter Matias Maestro. There are more than 766 Neoclassical mausoleums, some with notable statues and statuettes representing saints and the theological virtues. (Photo Gallery Cementerio Presbitero Maestro)



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