The Must See's of Lima
Long time Lima was only seen as an unavoidable stopover on the way to other destinations in Peru. But in the last few years Lima could shake off its bad reputation attracting more and more visitors; with good reason.
On LimaEasy we provide very detailed information about many interesting sights and attractions that can make it really difficult to choose the ones you really shouldn't miss when visiting Lima especially if you're short on time. We compiled a list for you of what are in our opinion the Must See's of Lima and you can use that as a general guide. All the suggestions come also with information about other attractions in the vicinity.
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The Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas (as it was known until 1990), is the oldest public place in Lima. In 1535 the conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded on the area of an existing indigenous settlement the city of Lima. He designed a main square in the central part of the future city Lima with all important institutions built around it.
In 1535 Francisco Pizarro founded Lima and built his "palace" exactly on the same place where the main authority of the Rimac Valley at this time, the curazco Taulichusco, had his residence. When Lima was granted the title of Viceroyalty the "Casa de Pizarro" became the first Spanish Viceroys Palace in Lima.
The Church and Convent of San Francisco is besides the Cathedral of Lima probably the most significant religious complex in Lima and the most successful and impressive monument of Colonial architecture in whole Latin America. One of the "must-do's" in Lima is a highly recommended tour through the monastery. It gives an impressive inside on how religious life was during Spanish colonial times.
Considered one of the most magnificent buildings in South America, this unique mansion shows the elegance and grace of the architecture in the early 18th century. It was built in 1730 by José B. Tagle, the Marquis of Torre Tagle and treasurer of the Royal Spanish fleet. His coat of arms is still visible above the door.
The "Casa de Aliaga" is the oldest Colonial mansion in Lima, maybe even in whole South America. The house has been owned and lived in by the Aliaga family and their descendants since Franzisco Pizarro granted the land to Jerónimo de Aliaga in 1535. Originally there was a pre-Colombian altar on that plot of land owned by "Curaca Tauli Chusco" (the reign of the Rimac valley).
The Parque de la Reserva was originally opened in 1929 to commemorate all the civilian reservists who fought in the defence of Lima during the War of the Pacific. But more than 65 years later Parque de la Reserva became one of Lima's most visited tourist attractions and houses today a water and light show called the Circuito Magico del Agua (The Magic Water Circuit).
Founded in 1926, the Larco Museum showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Located in a unique vice-royal mansion of the 18th century built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The museum features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and a famous erotic archaeological collection.
Founded in April 1826, the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru (MNAAHP) is Peru's oldest state museum. On display is a wide range of perfectly preserved pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles, metals, organic materials and lithic's. Furthermore objects of historic-artistic value are exhibited. The documentary, photographic and bibliographic collections tell the story of Peru in the Colonial and Republican time.
The Archaeological Complex "Huaca Pucllana" was an Administrative and Ceremonial Center of the Lima Culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD. Located in today's district of Miraflores the "Huaca Pucllana" was built around 500 AD. "Pucllana" is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima.
Miraflores is without a doubt the most popular place for tourists, visitors, foreign expats and locals (who can afford it) to find accommodation, go shopping, have a good meal, relax in a nice café, party in one of the many bars, clubs and discotheques, savor the cultural life and enjoy your time. The district has a lot to offer and therefore we can only highly recommend spending some time here and having fun in one of Lima's nicest "suburbs".
Just one block from the big roundabout in Miraflores you find Av. Petit Thouars. On block 52 to 55 are many artisan markets selling nearly everything what Peruvian craftsmanship has to offer. You get the typical souvenirs, nice artisan craftworks, beautiful silver jewelry and other silverware, clothes made of Peru's famous alpaca, funny T-Shirts, pottery, paintings, wooden pieces, and much more from all over Peru.
Located in the district of Surquillo, the Surquillo market is just a few blocks from Parque Kennedy in Miraflores. The mercado in Surquillo is an enormous, genuine and bustling place where locals do their everyday shopping. It offers great quality food for amazingly low prices. A wide range of fresh Peruvian fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, fish, seafood and even harder to find ingredients await you.
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.
The Parque de las Leyendas is Lima's traditional zoo. But it's much more than that. It is located amidst a big part of Lima's most extensive ancient city and is one of the most important pre-Hispanic complexes at the central Peruvian coast called the Archaeological Complex of Maranga. The park successfully manages to combine ecology, archaeology, education and relaxation.
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