Lima, the capital of Peru and for many people (us included) the starting point of our Peru adventure!
Many people consider Lima to have been founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistadors maybe somewhat forgetting that the Inca civilisation had already been present for hundreds of years.
We had just one full day in Lima so decided to spend this in the UNESCO listed historical centre, soaking up some of the Peruvian culture and history.
The Government Palace of Peru (top picture) is where Peru’s president lives. Each day there is a changing of the guard ceremony.
We purchased a combined ticket for $10US (or 30 Peruvian Soles) to enter the Cathedral of Lima and the Archbishop’s Palace Museum both next door to each other and, together with the Palace mentioned above, situated in the large, grand and impressive Plaza Mayor square.
Archbishop’s Palace Museum
This site dates back from 1535 when the Plaza Mayor square was first founded. This coincides with the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro’s ‘finding’ of Lima. As mentioned on a leaflet we were given, throughout more than four centuries this was the building where “evangelisation and pastoral policy for Peru and all of South America was conceived and implemented” which means this was a major focal point for spreading religious faith.
The current palace was restored in 1924 adopting the baroque architecture of Lima. In 2010 it was established as the ‘Lima Archbishop’s Palace Museum’.
The museum was full of paintings, intricate models and wooden carvings. The carving above dates from 1617-1627.
The rooms were full of exquisite furniture, ornaments and decorations such as the chandelier above which was from Italy.
Cathedral of Lima
The Cathedral of Lima’s leaflet describes how Lima began as a small settlement in 1584 with a church on the site where the cathedral now stands. The main body of the cathedral was constructed in 1622 although over the years has been reconstructed several times for example after the 1940 earthquake.
The cathedral contains the tombs of several figures of historical importance including Spanish conquistadors and Archbishops of Peru.
The cathedral also contains an extensive museum and is considered ‘a treasure chest of material wealth’ as, similar to the Archbishop’s Museum it contains a huge array of sculptures and paintings.
Having been slightly hesitant about whether to visit another cathedral and another museum we were pleased we did as we felt the combined cost to visit both the museum and cathedral were well worth while. They are both huge, ornate, extravagant and with a great deal to see.
We found it interesting to have an introduction to the history of Peru at the start of the country in which we will be spending the next couple of weeks and shortly before we explore the Inca civilisation. Both buildings depict the Spanish and Catholic history and culture as represented by paintings, models and artefacts.
Following our dose of culture we continued to explore the streets around the Plaza Mayor in search of lunch…
There are several pleasant pedestrian walkways around the Plaza Mayor as above. The temperature was around 22 degrees which is apparently a fairly average daily temperature for Lima in October.
Keeping with the ‘immersing ourselves in Peruvian culture’ theme, we visited Tanta for lunch, a cool little cafe just off Plaza Mayor square where Laura tried a ‘Pisco Sour’. This is tasted sweet, sharp and refreshing although Laura was slightly put off when she found it was made with Pisco liquor, lemon and raw egg… having never had a raw egg in a cocktail before… or actually never having had a raw egg before…
For dinner later in the evening we went to ‘Restaurante El Estadio’ where Laura tried a typical chicken dish from Northern Peru made with a delicious sauce and served with a huge portion of green rice with vegetables.
As mentioned, we only had one full day to explore Lima. If you have more than one day, many people enjoy a trip to the Miraflores district, a popular area of shopping malls, trendy bars and restaurants located near the Pacific Ocean.