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About city Gallery Where to stay

Most tourists who come to Peru begin their journeys in the capital – Lima. It’s the country’s largest city, located in the mid-West, near the Pacific Ocean at the foot of the Andes. For more than three centuries Lima has been the largest and most important megalopolis in the whole of South America.

The city’s history began on January 6, 1535, when Francisco Pizarro established his capital here. Lima is located on the coastline of the Pacific, and even though it’s been surrounded by nothing but deserts and suffered from a lack of potable water, the conquistador had his reasons to stay. He saw that, in case of danger or an uprising of the local Indians, he could easily escape.

Today, Lima is home to almost 8 million people, or almost a third of the country’s population if we were to also include the suburbs. It is a cultural, industrial and financial centre. At the turn of the 21st century, Lima was joined with the harbour city Callao, located a little to the West. That way, Callao also became the harbour of Lima.

The historical centre of the city is beautiful and cosy. Here you’ll find quite a few colonial buildings with intricately-etched balconies that give them a special charm. Lima is famous for its diverse balconies, which have become the city’s face with many stories to tell. The city has maintained its rectangular network of streets that’s been partly rebuilt in mid-20th century. Located to the South of the River Rímac you’ll see the Old Town; to the northwest – industrial districts; to the southeast – administrative neighbourhoods (built in the 19th century); and to the south and southeast – districts of private villas.

Plaza de Armas, Lima
Photo taken by ArtDiNo / wikimedia.org.  Plaza de Armas, Lima

The central square, called Plaza de Armas, is always full of people. It’s especially beautiful in the evening when everything is illuminated. Located near the square is the city’s main cathedral, impressive both in its exterior and interior. Inside lay the remains of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro. A few years ago there was also a monument dedicated to him in the square, but the city government eventually decided to move the statue, rather commemorating this controversial historical figure outside the city limits.

The parliament is also located near the Plaza de Armas with two light tanks and a number of armed soldiers stationed nearby. The guard changes every morning at 11:45.

The San Francisco Monastery and Church, the Main Square and the Cathedral are some of the objects every visitor should see. Tourist crowds can also be seen in the Huaca Pucllana complex – a centre of ceremonies that only the religious elite was allowed to enter in the past. Many people also visit the famous Gold Museum, where you can see a collection of golden artefacts from the ancient Peruvian cultures: earrings, gold-embroidered ponchos and ritual swords, as well as items made from emerald, pearls and blue lazurite.

San Francisco church
Photo taken by Diego Delso / wikimedia.org.  San Francisco church

Apart from these famous cultural and architectural monuments, we also recommend you visit another famous spot – the romantic Love Park that opens up on an excellent view of the Pacific Ocean.

Even though Lima seems friendly, just like in any other big city, and especially a Latin American city, danger is always around the corner. The streets here are full of pickpockets, beggars and other frauds angling for gullible tourists. In Peru, unemployment is a big and barely-controlled problem, which is why may people live below the poverty line.

Lima has well-developed food, textile, chemical, oil and metalworking industries. It also has an international airport, several universities, lots of museums, churches and monasteries. Thanks to its many palaces, Lima is also known as a city of kings. And even though the capital of Peru is one of its wealthiest cities, offering plenty of new opportunities and impressive in its modern architecture, located nearby you’ll also see the “young neighbourhoods” with no electricity, no water, dreadful sanitary conditions and filled with people selling everything they have, just to get by.

Where to stay

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