The Bridge of Sighs in Lima - Peru
Attractions of South America e-Book

Lima

Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535 near a lush valley and few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It was a strategic choice that gave the Spanish conquistadores control over their colony.

The historic center of Lima is one of Peru's main tourist destinations. It is located mainly in downtown Lima and the Rímac District, in central Lima.

The city of Lima was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 due the large number of historical buildings dating from the Spanish colonial era, a small number of which have now been restored.


Lima became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, which encompassed nearly all of Spain's possessions in South America during the colonial era (mid 1500s to early 1800s).

The city's cultural importance was contested perhaps only by Bogotá, and its architecture and political importance in Latin America were equalled only by Mexico City.

The Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) was once considered the heart of old Lima, this grand plaza features many important architectural monuments and buildings including a magnificent bronze fountain dating from 1650, the Archbishop's Palace with its elegant balconies and the Government Palace dating from 1924.

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San Francisco de Asís Church in Lima - Peru The Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco) was built around 1674 and is known for its catacombs that contain the remains of more than 70,000 people and a magnificent library that houses thousands of antique texts.

Lima Balconies There are more than 1,600 colonial era balconies in the buildings of the historic center. To help maintain and conserve them, the Municipality of Lima invited companies and private institutions to "adopt" these balconies, which are particularly harmonious and give originality to this part of the city.

Lima is the place to be to visit some of the best museums of South America:

The National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History has an extensive archaeological collection that includes more than 100,000 items from pre-Hispanic cultures including ceramics, metals, funeral offerings and carved stone figures.

The Gold Museum (Museo de Oro del Peru), is my favorite. This private collection, assembled by Miguel Mujica Gallo, contains a wide assortment of pre-Columbian gold handicraft, weapons, ceremonial objects, jewelry and gold from both the Incas and pre-Inca civilizations.

The Rafael Larco Herrera Museum (Museo Rafael Larco Herrera) houses an impressive collection of ceramics plus exhibits of mummies, a gold room, textiles made from feathers and a unique collection of pre-Columbian erotica depicting the sexual practices of a number of Peruvian cultures.


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Attractions of Lima

National Museum of Archaeology, Antropology and History
The extensive archaeological collection in this museum includes more than 100,000 items from pre-Hispanic cultures including ceramics, metals, funeral offerings and carved stone figures.

Plaza de Armas
Once considered the heart of old Lima, this grand plaza features many important architectural monuments and buildings including a magnificent bronze fountain dating from 1650, the Archbishop's Palace with its elegant balconies and the Government Palace dating from 1924.

Gold Museum (Museum de Oro de Peru)
This private collection, assembled by Miguel Mujica Gallo, contains a wide assortment of pre-Columbian gold handicraft, weapons, ceremonial objects, jewelry and gold from both the Incas and pre-Inca civilizations.

Iglesia de San Francisco
This church and monastery of St. Francis (circa 1674) is known for its catacombs that contain the remains of more than 70,000 people and a magnificent library that houses thousands of antique texts.

Rafael Larco Herrera Museum
This museum houses an impressive collection of ceramics plus exhibits of mummies, a gold room, textiles made from feathers and a unique collection of pre-Columbian erotica depicting the sexual practices of a number of Peruvian cultures.

Iglesia de San Pedro
Built by the Jesuits in 1638, this ornate church features baroque altars decorated in gold leaf, several colonial paintings and La Abuelita, the oldest bell in Peru.

Museo Amano
Museum features the private collection of Mr. Yoshitaro Amano that contains selected pieces of ceramics and textiles, arranged chronologically to illustrate the development of weaving throughout Peru's pre-Columbian cultures, featuring special items from the Chancay culture.

Miraflores
This beachfront residential district features many of Lima's excellent shops, restaurants, nightspots and first class hotels.

Convento de Los Delcalzos
Founded at the end of the 16th century as a spiritual retreat, this monastery of the Barefoot Friars features four main cloisters and two ornate chapels.

Museo de La Nación
Lima's largest museum features scale models of temples, ruins and archaeological sites that tell the story of Peru's long history from prehistoric times and ancient civilizations to the advanced civilizations of Huari, Chimu and Paracas and the Inca Empire.

Lima Cathedral
Located on the city's Main Square or Plaza Mayor, this cathedral was built in 1564 by architect Jeronimo de Aliaga and features an ivory baroque chapel of La Inmaculada and the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, known as the "conquistador of Peru."

San Isidro
Elegant and charming residential neighborhood located north of Lima features neo-classic architecture, cobblestone streets, excellent dining, good shopping and the Huaca Hallamarma, a restored pre-Inca pyramid that now serves as a small museum of Indian artifacts.

Museo de la Inquisición
This grisly museum features the underground dungeons and torture chambers that were used to punish accused heretics.

Museum de Arte Colonial Pedro de Osma
This museum maintains an extensive private collection of colonial art featuring paintings, sculptures, silverware and furniture from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Puente de Los Suspiros
Bridge of Sighs. Shaded with flowering trees, this secluded romantic walkway leads under a wooden bridge to a cliff with sweeping views of the ocean.

Parque Municipal
Located in the well-known district of Barranco, this urban park features elegant displays of colorful blooms and many trendy bars and cafes nearby.






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© All photographs by Mark Van Overmeire