Traveling to Lima, past and present of an extraordinary city

Traveling to Lima, past and present of an extraordinary city

Picture of the plaza de armas on my last traveling to lima

Traveling to Lima

When traveling to Lima, visitors will find a vibrant city working to attract more visitors. After been through a long period of economic downturn back in the 80’s, now traveling to Lima  means one of the main tourist destination points in South America.

What we know now as Lima centre was a green valley near by the Rimac river and did have native presence before the Inca times.

During the Spanish conquest, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro back in 1531 designated the name of Lima as the capital of Peru.

In time, Lima did become as ‘the capital of the Kings’ for its strong connection with the Spanish Kingdom.  The conquistador Pizarro set up his house as the governmental palace,  The major square or Plaza de Armas from which most of the official buildings which started its construction in 1535 .

Back on the 17th century Lima becomes the center of the trade between Americas,  Europe and the far East.  However, by 1687 a powerful earthquake destroyed the whole colonial city which coincidentally suffer also a slow downturn on its commercial trade having an impact on its prompt restoration. Eventually Lima regained an outstanding beauty as a result of the efforts of  Viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco.

After the Spanish independence in 1821,  people who were traveling to Lima saw on public buildings a distinctive and modern European influence that did continue its development outside the central city.

By middle of the 19th century, traveling to Lima meant to visit an opulent city which it was considered the pearl of South America.  Unfortunately,  Peru entered into war with Chile in 1879-1883 and as a result  Lima city was looted, and most public buildings were destroyed, railway systems sacked as a result in losing the war.  Places in Lima that we visit on this days such as Miraflores and Barranco facing the ocean pacific were burned by Chilean troops so most of its charm were lost.

After the war, the city had an urban renewal which it went during 1890 up to 1930 time in which Lima grow on other districts.  A similar situation in urban development happen with its inhabitants during the 1960 and 1980s so new districts were created to full fill housing needs.

Nowadays, traveling to Lima means also to encounter with a metropolis holding around 10 million people and has grow in several districts very distinctive each other from the former colonial era to a modern approach.

 

A legacy beyond the Inca

Peru has a legacy before the Incas arrived to this land and you will notice across all its territory. There are monuments, temples, fortress mostly in ruins that belong to cultures well beyond the Inca (3,000 BC).

Lima metropoli is divided among in 43 districts, and some districts are holding some ancient archaeological vestiges. One of this ruins can be found in Miraflores district where the pyramid named Huaca Pucllana (700 AD) which it gives you an idea on how this native settlers were living near the coast line.  You can also visit the vestiges of pre Inca ruins in Huaca Mateo Salado (750 AD), border with the districts of Pueblo Libre and Lima centre.  Thus, traveling to Lima means traveling back in far antique time too.

On the other hand, Pueblo Libre district holds two of the most important national museums which you must see at some point, The Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, and Museo Larco.  Both museums, have a good display of archaeological vestiges nationwide and also from the beginning of the Peruvian Republican times.

Traveling to Lima also can take you to one of the most notorious religious temples for its size which is located outside Lima centre on the Pachacamac town on the way to the southern coast line.  It is worthy to visit there the local museum as they currently exhibit the textile and artifacts of different cultures for the interest of travelers on Peru ancient past.

Places to visit when Traveling to Lima

You can join a sightseeing Tour of Lima and spend a day or two before embarking out into your final destination.

Either way you can choose visiting first the central colonial town or if you are near the coast line in Miraflores, get to know its area.

Traveling to Lima colonial side:

Like most travelers you should visit the main mayor Square or ‘Plaza de Armas’ where you can see the Presidential Palace and the changing of the guard everyday at 12 noon time. From this point you will also see most public buildings such as the ‘Cathedral’ and the ‘Mayor’s house’.  By the time Lima was founded, several churches were built because Christianity has an important role to play in the public life on the new colony.  Churches to visit ‘San Francisco Church’ with its impressive lattice dome. The catacombs below the church were once part of Lima’s cemeteries and contain over 70,000 bodies.

‘Church and Sanctuary of Saint Rose of Lima’  Bring fresh batteries and an extra memory card for Your camera because this cathedral will astound you with the designs of the different altars, catacombs and the “behind the scenes” where the priests stored their garment.

There are many examples of traditional colonial architecture to admire when traveling to Lima including most churches such as:

  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Church and Convent of Santo Domingo
  • Convent of the Descalzos
  • Church and Convent San Pedro
  • Church la Merced
  • Church San Agustin
  • Church of Jesus, Maria and Joseph
  • Church of San Sebastián

 

Lima’s colonial building have been converted into offices so you might not have a direct access to it. You can overview the ‘National congress’ or parliament house and next to it visit the ‘Inquisitor house’. Also it is worthy to walk around the ‘Chinatown’ or Barrio Chino, where you can enjoying a Chinese style meal.

Places to consider also visiting when traveling to Lima are  the ‘Hotel Bolivar’ opposite to Plaza Bolivar and if you have some time in being adventurous enough, you can head to the top of ‘Cerro San Cristobal’ and have a panoramic view of the whole Lima metropolis.

On the way to Miraflores, you will find the Magic Water Circuit, the Magic Water Circuit has the Guinness Book record for the largest fountain complex in the world, displaying 13 distinct fountains and many are interactive.

As Miraflores district is facing the sea side, you can walk to the Costa Verde marina, to enjoy a view of the beaches and the paragliders. Following the marina you will get to ‘Barranco’, the traditional artists’ town, surrounded by beautiful places such as the “Puente de los Suspiros” and bohemian bars and restaurants.

Outside Miraflores and Barranco there’s still a lot of Lima for some sightseeing:  for example, Pueblo Libre, another historic district, with traditional houses, as we mention their  museums,  have a lovely little places like its own Plaza Mayor.  You will find good places to eat and its classical tavern Queirolo to savour good selected wines and food too.

After traveling to Lima you can reach other sites in different regions of Peru to discover unique sites such us:

  • The Peruvian Amazon – Head out into the untamed Peruvian Amazon. Travel by boat and canoe with bungalow lodgings provided on the river’s edge and in the jungle. Wooden walkways take you into the heart of the rainforest to see huge centuries-old trees, caiman, turtles and many beautiful exotic birds.
  • Lake Titicaca – Located on the Peru-Bolivia border, Lake Titicaca is the South American continent’s largest lake. Its shores are home to many indigenous people whose cultures you can explore against the backdrop of the lake’s azure waters. The islands of Lake Titicaca have many archaeological ruins and several villages that are still steeped in the Inca culture.
  •    Machu Picchu – Called “the Lost City of the Incas” Machu Picchu is a wonderfully preserved symbol of the great Inca civilization. On Machu Picchu tours you can explore the ruins’ palaces, baths, temples and storage rooms. For many, the tour of the Temple of the Sun, which is built atop a pure granite rock and marks the highest altitude within the Lost City, is truly the high point of their visit.

A popular starting point for many Peru tours Cusco is just 80 km from Machu Picchu. Cusco to Machu Picchu day trips get you there in comfort and style. You spend the day exploring the ruins and learning about them from your friendly and knowledgeable local Peru travel guide.

Set out from Lima or Cusco on a multi-day Inca Trail hiking adventure. It’s the perfect way to reach Machu Picchu! Along the way you get to view many other Inca ruins and breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

Once you are in Peru, making it to several of the other South American countries is super easy. Consider booking a multi day tour package that includes stops in Peru.

 

 

 

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