The 49 Districts in the Provinces of Lima & Callao
Lima is not just the name of the capital of Peru. The district of Lima where the historical city center is located is called Lima. The region around it is called Lima. And to make it a little bit more complicated, Lima is also the name of the Province, located in the Department of Lima.
Today Lima forms the region 'Lima Metropolitana'. It is divided into 43 districts (distritos). Thirty of these districts belong geographically to the city of Lima and each has its own flair, charm and character. Thirteen of Lima's districts are surrounding the core of the urban area and are located outside of Lima in more rural zones. Additionally the province of Callao counts with 6 districts that officially belong to the Lima Metropolitan area.
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Ancón is located 44 km north of the historical Center of Lima and still belongs politically to the Province of Metropolitan Lima. During Colonial times Ancón was known as the "Pueblo de Pescadores de Lancón" (Fishing village of Lancón). In the beginnings of the Peruvian Republic the small fishing village developed quickly during the middle of the 19th and 20th century as the well fashionable spa and beach resort for the aristocracy of Lima.
Ate-Vitarte is located in the central eastern part of the Metropolitan of Lima on the south banks of the Rio Rimac. The district was created shortly after the declaration of independence by General José de San Martin. The old town of Ate is located around 14 km east of the Historic Centre of Lima. From the middle of the 19th century onwards Ate-Vitarte was the industrial zone of Lima where mainly textile factories where established.
Unfortunately only a few tourists find their way to the beautiful district of Barranco. Once it was Lima's beach, pleasure and entertainment district for wealthier Limeños (during the colonial and republican times). Barranco was at the beginning of the 20th century home to famous Peruvian writers and artists which gave the district a unique character.
Bellavista is one of six districts that make up the Constitutional Province of Callao. Located south of Callao downtown the district has an almost perfect rectangular shape. As in the whole of the Lima & Callao area the first inhabitants of what we know today as Bellavista were hunters and gatherers that settled down and soon lived from fishing and agriculture.
Even being located just around the corner of the historical center of Lima, Breña is one of those districts most visitors will find their way to only by accident. After its official creation in 1949, Breña was designed to be a huge industrial zone with factories and working quarters. But only a decade later the district lost almost half of its area to the district of Cercado de Lima (Lima Center) and never came up to expectations.
Callao is one of the six districts that make up the Constitutional Province of Callao. So to make it confusing for everyone Callao is not only the name for the old downtown area, but as well for the district and the whole region around it. The district of Callao stretches along the coast and is located to the west of Lima’s city center. In prehistoric times the area we know today as Callao was transmigrated by hunters and gatherers.
The district of Carabayllo isn't the typical tourist destination. Officially created by Don José de San Martin shortly after independence the district is today one of the poorest in Lima. Only around 35% of the district are urbanized, mainly with unpleasant simple housing in shantytowns and slums. Nevertheless even this district is worth a visit. Legacies from a turbulent and interesting pre-Hispanic past can be seen in many parts of Carabayllo.
Carmen de la Legua is one of six districts that make up the Constitutional Province of Callao. It is located west of Callao downtown. In antique times, the area known today as Carmen de la Legua was inhabited by a few farmers living on the shores of the River Rimac. During the colonial period a footpath lined with thick bushes lead through today's district of Carmen de la Legua from the port of Callao to Lima.
Only around 27 km away from Lima's hectic city center is the district of Chaclacayo. Chaclacayo is a popular place especially in Lima's foggy winter months with sun and moderate temperatures all year round. The small town offers beautiful old town houses and great restaurants. With lots of fresh air and an amazing flora and fauna an ideal surrounding to enjoy and relax. The district of Chaclacayo was inhabited long before the Spaniards.
The traditional district of Chorrillos is another not so well known district of Lima for tourists. Once being a small fishing village it developed in Colonial and Republican times to the beach resort not only for Lima’s wealthy. During the Pacific War Chorrillos was the scene of heavy fighting and much of it was destroyed. Today Chorrillos is absolutely worth a visit.
The District Lurigancho – Chosica is east of the city center in the valley of the River Rimac and is the second largest district of Lima. It's "capital" is Chosica. Since the Trans-Andean railroad was built in the 19th century Chosica was a fashionable place for resting and partaking in leisure activities. At that time, many aristocratic families from Lima made the place their holiday home. And still today Chosica is a popular get away for Limeños in the winter months.
The district of Cieneguilla was formerly a part of the district Pachacamac and officially created as independent district on the 3rd of March 1970. It is located just around 25 km to the east of Lima. Due to its spring like climate and sun throughout the year the small and lovely town of Cieneguilla and the whole district is a popular weekend destination especially in the winter months for people living in foggy Lima.
Comas is a district situated in the Northern Cone of Lima just around 11 km from the city center. With over 10,000 people living on a square km it is densely populated. The area was already inhabited long before the arrival of the Spaniards. Many small, unfortunately not excavated archeological sites are evidence for these early settlements. Comas was until recently one of Lima's poorest pueblos jovenes (shanty towns).
The district of El Agustino is located directly east of the district Lima. Until 1925 the area belonged to José Enrique de la Riva Agüero and housed one of Lima's many haciendas cultivating fruits, vegetables and flowers. After his death parts of the ground were leased and sold, later the area was divided into zones giving Lima's growing population space to live on.
The district of Independencia is located north of Lima's city center. In the last years Independencia developed into the economical center of the Northern Cone of Lima. Commercial Centers like the Mega Plaza Norte and the Plaza Norte offer everything Lima's new middle-class can dream of: restaurants, cinemas, gyms, department stores, supermarkets, kids entertainment, shops selling cloth, sports ware, perfumes and much more.
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