It’s known as the “Garden city,” although it’s built in a desert. Another thing that makes Lima really awesome is the fact that Peru’s capital is actually a mosaic of 43 smaller cities. Lima has 9 million inhabitants who live either in ultramodern seaside neighborhoods or shantytowns that cling to barren hillsides. Lima is definitely one of world’s few megacapitals that are proud of their heritage and their modernity.
Government Palace is the official residence and office of Peru’s president. It sits on the banks of the Rimac River and faces San Cristobal Hill, the city’s highest point. Back in the time of the Incas, the site had strategic and spiritual meaning.
The conqueror of the Incas, Pizzaro, liked the site so much he actually kept it for the first Spanish palace. The palace’s construction began in 1535. The Government Palace has been rebuilt numerous times. The current French-inspired mansion was constructed in the 1930s. It occupies the north side of the Plaza de Armas (or Plaza Mayor), Lima’s central square.
Placa de Armas
On the other three sides of Plaza de Armas are the Cathedral of Lima and the Archbishop’s Palace, which were originally built during the 1600s; the Municipal Palace (City Hall); and private office buildings.
The Cathedral is home to a museum, that has an impressive collection of religious art, much of which represents Peru’s famed Cuzco School (Escuela Cuzqueña) of painting.
All the structures have intricately carved wooden balconies, which are unique to this place. Jirón de la Unión, a long pedestrian mall, is south of the square.
If you like Art Deco and neoclassical architecture, this is the place for you. It’s also the place for you if you like shopping.
From the refurbished Plaza San Martin you have a great view of the lovely 19th century buildings. The Gran Hotel Bolivar, which once welcomed the rich and famous, is gradually deteriorating, but still worth seeing.
The Aliaga House is as old as Lima itself. Conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the capital city on January 18th, 1535. He gave the plot to his trusted ally Jerónimo de Aliaga. Eighteen generations of the Aliaga family have lived in that mansion ever since.
It’s actually been renovated continuously, due to it being the oldest house in the Americas. Much of the original main house is on display. The Aliaga House has a wide-ranging collection of Peruvian art and artifacts, including the sword Jerónimo used in the conquest of Peru. The house reflects various eras of décor from the past centuries.