All about the city of Lima
The city of kings
Lima is also known as the 'City of the Kings' as Francisco Pizarro arranged it on the day of its foundation in 1535. The reason is that that day, January 18, the 'Three Wise Men' headed towards Bethlehem, although it is also believed that the name is also related to the kings Carlos V of Austria and I of Spain.
Since its foundation, Lima played a fundamental role, first in the viceroyalty and then in the Republic of Peru. There the capital of the country, the Government Palace and the main government institutions were established.
Lima is a very diverse city. Throughout its more than 4 centuries of history, the city was changing due to migration from the provinces and modernity that was adapting in various ways in certain districts.
The city of Lima, also called 'Metropolitan Lima' covers a total area of 2,672 square kilometers. It has 43 districts, of which the most touristic and modern are Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro. Most of the foreign visitors stay there.
In the districts of the periphery of Lima, on the other hand, modernity was adapted in an informal way. Many of these districts were created after the immigration of Andean settlers who came to the city throughout the 20th century.
Today Lima shows a mixture of cultural heritages. It is like a reduced Peru in a single city. However, it is still possible to appreciate the beautiful palaces and churches from its colonial past. There are even vestiges of Inca ancestors and cultures prior to the Incas.
Lima offers a great diversity of tourist attractions such as its colonial streets, its Cathedral, the Main Square, the modern district of Miraflores, Barranco, its beaches, archaeological sites such as Pachacamac, the Huaca Pucllana and much more.
Lima, the capital of Peru, is located on the central coast of the country. Due to its central location on the country's map, from there you can make a trip to different cities such as Cusco (1,102 kilometers by road), Arequipa (1,011 kilometers by road), Tumbes (1,271 kilometers by road), Puno (1,292 kilometers by road), Ica (304 kilometers by road) and more.
Lima is located next to the Pacific Ocean where there are arid deserts and valleys on the Rímac, Lurín and Chillón rivers. The city is flanked by Andean foothills. The average altitude of its territory is only 100 meters above sea level.
History of Lima
The arid geography of Lima was a territory inhabited by numerous pre-Inca cultures that settled in the valleys of the Lurín, Chillón and Rímac rivers. Ethnic groups such as the 'Maranga', the 'Lima' and, above all, 'Ychma' built citadels and temples from 100 BC until the imperial era of the Huari (from the 7th to the 13th century) who adopted the buildings made by the first inhabitants of Lima and adjusted them to their beliefs and architecture.
After the disappearance of the Huari and a period in which certain ethnic groups such as the Chancay culture again took center stage, the valleys of Lima were adhered to the nascent Inca empire.
The Incas settled in Lima in its expansionist era in the 15th century. At this time, huacas and temples such as Huallamarca, the Huaca Pucllana, Mateo Salado and more were built. However, the most important work was definitely Pachacamac. The Incas adapted the belief and divinity of this 'huaca' and made it the most important religious sanctuary on the entire Pacific coast.
In the 16th century, the Spanish, led by Francisco Pizarro, arrived in Pachacamac looting the place and murdering the Inca population that protected the idol of Pachacamac. Later, after the establishment of the colony, they founded the 'City of Lima' in the Main Square on January 18, 1535. There they established the capital of the new 'Viceroyalty of Peru' and built religious temples and colonial houses.
During the colonial era, the city of Lima had a leading role mainly due to the trade generated by the port of Callao. The city was embellished with gardens and large houses inhabited by the Spanish and Creole aristocracy.
Enlightenment ideas brought emancipatory ideas to the continent in the 19th century. In 1820 the Argentine general Don José de San Martín landed in Lima. In 1821 the Independence of Peru was proclaimed in the Main Square. Lima was declared the capital of the country. There the Government House and the first Constituent Congress were established.
Since then, the city of Lima has lived through times of prosperity, of decline but always with high inequalities between the bourgeois class and the common population. It is worth mentioning that, during the War with Chile (1879 - 1883), the city of Lima was occupied by the Chilean army that caused irreparable excesses such as the fire of the National Library.
During the 20th century, the city of Lima began a slow process of modernization. The city limits were disorderly expanded as a result of the immigration of settlers from the provinces. The internal war against the Shining Path in the 1990s generated an intense wave of immigrants from Andean cities such as Ayacucho who settled in peripheral districts such as Villa el Salvador. In turn, the bourgeoisie established their residence in central spas such as Miraflores.
Currently, the city of Lima has a cultural diversity that makes it a 'mini - Peru'. The city has approximately 9 million 674 thousand 755 inhabitants. It is the most populated city in the country with almost 30% of the total population of the Peruvian territory.
The main tourist attractions
The Main Square - The core of the historic center of Lima is the Main Square, one of the largest and most beautiful in Peru. The city of Lima was founded there in 1535. Also, in 1821, the Independence of Peru was declared. It covers an area of 140 square meters. Because it is located in the 'Historic Center' of the city, it is recognized as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.
The Cathedral - The Cathedral is the most important Catholic temple in the city of Lima. It is located in front of the Main Square. It has a Renaissance and neoclassical style architecture. It stands out for its tall towers, its tall doors and its beautiful façade. Inside there are five naves with gold and silver works of art. It is worth mentioning its choir stalls, its pulpit and the crypt of Francisco Pizarro.
Miraflores - The most touristic and modern district of Lima is Miraflores. There are some of the best hotels and restaurants in the city. Its streets and parks are very crowded by both Peruvians and foreign tourists. Its shopping centers, boardwalk overlooking the sea, Kennedy Park, Love Park and the famous Huaca Pucllana stand out. This district is among the 10 most visited tourist attractions in Lima.
Barranco - This Lima district located on the city's coast stands out for its serene atmosphere, full of culture and history. Its inhabitants, mainly from the middle and upper class of Lima, have promoted spaces where the history of the district and the city can be better known. Its main square, the descent from the baths, its beaches, the Pedro de Osma museum and the famous 'Bridge of Sighs' stand out.
Pachacamac - The most important archaeological site in the city of Lima is definitely Pachacamac. It is a sanctuary worshiped by various cultures such as the Ychma, the Huari and the Incas. His maximum idol was a wooden staff which was reached after a long pilgrimage. It currently has a beautiful site museum and amazing constructions with the Temple of the Moon, the Temple of the Sun and more. It is located south of Lima, 40 kilometers from the city center.
The fortress of Real Felipe - This military compound was built in the viceroyalty of Peru in order to protect the city against the threat of pirates and corsairs. It is located in Callao, 14 kilometers from the historic center of the city. It has watchtowers, defense posts with cannons, weapons enclosures, attack posts and more. It is one of the most important buildings of the colonial era.
The Magic Water Circuit - This famous city park offers a show of lights and music from 13 modern water sources. The place also has beautiful green areas, sale of Lima desserts and lots of fun. It was created in 2007 in order to recover a disused public space. It holds the Guinness record for having the largest collection of water sources in the world located in the same public place.
The museums of Lima
The Lima Art Museum (MALI) - This museum, one of the most important in the city, holds permanent and temporary exhibitions of works of art, since be it modern or classic. It is located in the famous 'Exhibition Park', in an area of 4,500 square meters. The museum stands out for its constant cultural activity with the sale of works of art in and around it.
The Larco Museum of Lima - This museum is one of those that best explains the history of pre-Columbian Peru throughout more than 5 thousand years of development, from the Caral civilization to the Incas themselves. It was founded by the archaeologist Rafael Larco Hoyle but owes its name to his father, the politician and philanthropist Rafael Larco Herrera who donated his private collection to create the museum. It is located in Pueblo Libre, 5.8 kilometers from downtown Lima.
The National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History - This museum was created in 1822 so it is the oldest in Peru. It was founded under the auspices of the liberator José de San Martín. Its first pieces of pre-Columbian and colonial Peru were looted during the War with Chile. In 1905 the museum was restructured under the direction of notable archaeologists such as Max Uhle, José Augusto de Izcue, Julio Cesar Tello and more. Its most famous piece is the 'Estela de Raimondi' belonging to the Chavín culture. It is located in the Pueblo Libre district, 5 kilometers from downtown Lima.
The Pedro de Osma Museum - This museum is located in a French-style mansion belonging to Pedro de Osma Gildemeister, a philanthropist and aristocratic Lima avid collector of pieces of colonial art of Cusco and Ayacucho tradition. The private collection as well as the mansion were donated by the descendants of the owner, Pedro and Angélica de Osma Gildemeister. The museum was founded in 1987. It features canvases, sculptures, furniture, and silverware. It is located in the Barranco district, 12 kilometers from downtown Lima.
Hotels and restaurants
The city of Lima has a hotel offer that ranges from luxurious 5-star services to shared accommodations for 'backpackers' that offer a hectic nightlife.
The 5-star hotels most famous for their quality are: the JW Marriot Hotel, the Westin Lima Hotel, the Swissotel Lima, the Hilton Miraflores Hotel, the Belmond Miraflores Park, the Hotel Casa Andina Premium San Isidro, the Hotel Delfines San Isidro, the Sheraton Lima and more.
The most famous budget hotels for 'backpackers' in Lima are: the Pay Purix Backpackers Hotel, the Pariwana Hostel, the Lima Backpackers, the Backpacker House The Pacific, the 1900 Backpackers Hostel, the Bean Bag Hostel Lima and more.
Restaurants vary according to their quality, however, they all offer Peruvian food, considered one of the best cuisines in the world. Some of the most famous restaurants recognized for their quality are: the Central Restaurant (by chef Virgilio Martínez), the Maido (a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food), the Saha (Peruvian food with innovations in ingredients and techniques), La Mar Cevichería (Peruvian seafood), Panchita (typical Lima dishes), Mayta (Peruvian food made with local products), Rafael (combines Peruvian food with Japanese and Italian) and more.
Bars and discotheques
Lima offers one of the best nights of bars and discos in South America. The best and safest night spots are in the districts of Miraflores and Barranco. It is worth mentioning: the Sergeant Pimienta Rock Bar (rock music with live concerts), the Hensley RnR Bar (with rock, metal, punk and ska music), the Bizarro de Miraflores (reggaeton, techno, salsa, tropical), the Loki Bar from Miraflores (Latin music, rock, electronic) and more.
Is Lima dangerous?
Lima is a large city with districts with low, medium and high incidence of robberies and assaults. The safest are precisely the districts where foreign tourists usually stay: Miraflores and Barranco. The districts with a medium incidence of robberies are central places such as: Cercado de Lima, Pueblo Libre, San Isidro, Magdalena and others. The peripheral districts of the city are the most dangerous: San Juan de Lurigancho, San Juan de Miraflores, Villa el Salvador, Comas, Puente Piedra, Villa María del Triunfo, etc.
Photos of Lima
Currently Lima has the only international airport in Peru, Jorge Chávez airport. There are direct connections with the main airports in Europe, North America and all of South America.
Lima has two zoos: the Parque de las Leyendas (San Miguel district) and the Huachipa Zoological Park (in the Ate district). The most famous and popular beaches are: El Silencio (in Punta Hermosa district), La Herradura beach (in Chorrillos district), Punta Hermosa beach (in Punta Hermosa district), Asia beach (in Asia district ) and more.
The city of Lima has an electric train service that runs through various districts. It also has road corridors such as the 'Blue Corridor', whose buses link the Miraflores district with the Center of Lima. The prices of the taxi service are negotiable with the taxi drivers.
Questions and answers about the visit to Lima
- 1) What is the weather like?
Lima has a temperate climate with 4 seasons throughout the year: summer (from December 22 to March 21), autumn (from March 22 to June 21), winter (from June 22 to September 22) and spring (from September 23 to December 21). In summer the maximum temperature can reach 29ºC. and the minimum at 19ºC. In winter, the maximum temperature can reach 20ºC. while the minimum can drop to 13ºC.
- 2) When is the best time to go?
Lima can be visited at any time of the year. For many, summer (from December 22 to March 21) is a good time as the sky looks brighter and the spas are filled with visitors.
- 3) What is the most widely spoken language?
Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Lima. Some settlers from the country's provinces also speak the Quechua language. Many tourist services offer service in English.
- 4) What to eat in Lima?
In addition to the typical dishes of Peru, do not miss the opportunity to enjoy some of the most famous Lima desserts such as: the picarones, the anticuchos, the zambito rice, the purple mazamorra, the rice pudding and more.
- 5) How much does a taxi ride from the airport to Miraflores cost?
The cost of a taxi service from Lima's Jorge Chávez airport to the Miraflores district is approximately 60 soles (US $ 18 on average).
- 6) How much does a 'City Tour' in Lima cost?
The Lima City Tour covers in half a day (4 hours) the Center of Lima, its churches, colonial houses, markets, museums and main historical monuments. It has a price of 30 dollars per person, approximately.
- 7) Where to go shopping in Lima?
Lima has several supermarkets and shopping centers where you can shop. Perhaps the most famous are: Larcomar (Miraflores), the Jockey Plaza (Surco) and the Real Plaza Centro Cívico (Cercado de Lima).
- 8) How to visit 'Gamarra' in Lima?
Gamarra is a commercial emporium famous for selling cheap clothing. You can get there by taxi, public service bus or electric train service. It is located in the downtown district of La Victoria.
- 9) How to visit the spa of 'Asia' in Lima?
Asia's 'exclusive' spa is approximately 100 kilometers from Lima. In summer this place fills with a hectic nightlife. The place is famous for its shopping centers and beautiful beaches. You can get there by interprovincial buses or collective taxis.
- 10) What are the 'Lima people' like?
The people of Lima are friendly and willing to engage in conversation with tourists. Most are children or grandchildren of people who came to Lima many years ago from cities in the Peruvian provinces. Therefore, the cultural diversity of its inhabitants is very interesting.