Founded by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Plaza Mayor and the surrounding old town retain their colonial feeling. In this square you will find the cathedral, one of the most fascinating examples of baroque architecture in America and home to Pizarro’s tomb. Nowadays, the home town of Nobel prize winner Nobel Mario Vargas Llosa has positioned itself firmly as the gastronomical mecca of Latin America.
There are many charming places and monuments in the capital of Peru that you might not have expected to find here. Walking around its streets, visiting its churches and tasting its food are just three of the things you can do if you decide to visit Lima.
If you've decided to travel to Lima, you mustn't miss its nerve centre: Plaza de Armas. This is one of the most photographed sightseeing places in the city. Here you'll find the archbishop's palace, the government palace and the equestrian statue of Francisco Pizarro. Some of these buildings are open to visitors, but if you don't feel like going in, don't worry: just seeing the beauty of their facades is rewarding in its own right.
Religious tourism is not a major feature of Peru, but Lima Cathedral is an exception. The building combines different architectural styles. Thus, the façade is a clear representation of the Renaissance style with plateresque additions that merge into a clear neoclassical style when it comes to the towers.
You shouldn't miss the representation of the star-filled sky in the interior.
The Government palace has become a reason to travel to Lima in its own right. It is located in the Plaza de Armas and its neo-baroque facade will immediately attract your attention. Make sure this does not distract you from the side façade, decorated in neo-colonial style and also demanding admiration. Although this palace is now the seat of the Peruvian government, it harbours much more history. Eminent figures such as Francisco Pizarro dwelt within its walls. As well as several presidents of Peru.
If you're looking for a really old and impressive building, head for the theatre in Lima. It was built in 1915, but it was razed to the ground in a fire in 1998. Its restoration in 2008 included upgrades, while respecting its original style. Today it is in full use and is part of the active cultural life of Lima.
You are surely aware of the catacombs of Paris, but did you know that there are also catacombs under the Monastery of San Francisco in Lima? They form part of the country's historical heritage and it is estimated that they are home to the remains of more than twenty thousand people. When you visit them, you'll be surprised by the state of conservation of the place. Contrary to what you may expect, it is not at all sinister but rather a place of contemplation.
On the surface you'll find a monumental complex that includes a basilica, a convent and two other buildings of religious character: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude and the Church of the Miracle. This is one of the most majestic and yet charming spots in Lima.
You'll find the Malecón esplanade towards the end of the Miraflores district. A perfect walk to get to know this beautiful city. As you proceed you'll discover various parks and gardens where you can enjoy the perfect climate and the tranquillity of a city that lives in close contact with the sea.
And if the walk is beautiful, the five kilometres of the Malecón are just as good. Do the walk and you'll reach the cliffs of the Costa Verde and their incomparable views.
Among the great range of parks and gardens in Lima, the Parque del Amor, or Park of Love, is notable for housing Victor Delfin's famous sculpture "The Kiss". It shows a couple kissing passionately on a platform facing the sea. Visiting Lima can be a bit overwhelming, so stop in the shade of its trees and catch your breath before continuing.
Not everything involves fresh air and parks in Lima. The city also has popular shopping malls, such as the Larcomar Shopping Centre. It's the perfect place to get your strength back with a "Pisco Sour", or a typical Peruvian ceviche. But be prepared to spend your time here in the company of crowds. Larcomar is not only big, but also very popular.
Travelling to Lima and missing the archaeological centre of Huaca Pucllana would be unforgivable.
Note its truncated pyramid and the many adjoining courtyards and buildings. The entire complex was built in adobe and filled in with pebbles. The visit is very interesting and instructive, thanks to the restoration work that began in the 1980s and continues to this day.
Lima is, as we have already mentioned, a city that lives in contact with the sea. Its beaches and its malecones prove it. To bid farewell to this beautiful capital, come to the Bridge of Sighs at sunset. You'll have an unforgettable image of the ocean imprinted on your retina that will stay with you forever.
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