- Home to 10 million Limeños, 30% of the country’s population
- Economic heart of the country
- The world’s second largest “Desert City” after Cairo
- Nicknamed the “City of Kings” due to its former status as capital of the Viceroyalty
Lima, the proud capital of Peru is home to about 10 million Limeños, almost 30% of the country’s population. The Lima region has been inhabited for thousands of years and proof of this can still be found at a number of Huaca’s or sacred places that can be found in and around Lima, one even being located in the upmarket neighborhood of Miraflores. Other sites proving the history of the region are of course Caral, located at about 150Km north of Lima and the oldest city in the Americas dating over 2000 years, and Pachacamac located at 30Km from Lima and qualified as an important pre Inca site that later on was incorporated by the Inca.
The modern history of Lima starts with the arrival of the Spanish in 1532 and after having conquered the Inca Empire constituted Lima as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Spain. This made Lima with one go the most important city on the continent and earned the nickname “The City of Kings”. It was from here that the Spanish ruled large parts of South America and increased their wealth with all the gold and silver they got from the region and sent back to Spain. In this time the colonial center of Lima was constructed and this makes that Lima has one of the oldest colonial centers in the continent. The city center or Cercado de Lima is where most of this colonial past can be seen. The Plaza de Armas and the Plaza San Martin are great squares built in the colonial days of Lima. On the Plaza de Armas you can also find the Lima Cathedral, supposedly built on top of ancient Inca Ruins and the Presidential Palace.
The real urban growth Lima saw in the 70’s and 80’s when the country was suffering from economic depressions and left wing guerilla groups fighting against the government. This made the situation in some internal parts of the country so tense that many people decided to move to Lima and hope for a better life. As Lima grew so expansively in very few years, the city, as any large explosive grown city in the world, suffers from the lack of urban planning and extensive poverty. Nowadays Lima is trying to catch up on the time lost and large urban planning projects have been implemented, some with greater success than other.
The city has dozens of neighborhoods but the ones most interesting to visitors besides the city center would be; San Isidro; with its skyline this is the economic heart of the city (and the country) home to most international banks and companies, malls and offices. It is here that most embassies can be found as well. Miraflores the mundane seaside neighborhood that is home to hotels, restaurants and great nightlife is probably the best known modern neighborhood in Lima. It is also here that you can visit the Lima beaches and do some great shopping. Another interesting neighborhood is Barranco. This seaside neighborhood is known for its bohemian lifestyle and a large number of artists have found their homes in this neighborhood.
Furthermore Lima is worth the visit for its large number of great Museums; The Museo Larco is probably the best of all these with an impressive collection of archeological pieces from all different eras Peru has gone through. Another museum worth mentioning is the Gold Museum with maybe the second biggest collection of golden archeological pieces in the world. Finally a description of Lima would not be complete without mentioning the great number of amazing restaurants this city holds. Being a melting pot of different cuisine influences and a large
variety of ingredients from all over this so diverse country make that Lima in the last couple of years has lived a true revolution when it comes to eating.
This and more make that Lima deserves to be more than just a stopover on the way to Cusco and that in order to understand the country a couple of days in Lima are definitely recommended.
If you would like to know more about Lima, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Travel Representatives.
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