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.
As many other districts in Lima Breña is improving, but there are still some very dodgy areas left, especially at night.
Facts & Figures about Breña
The district of Breña was officially established on the 15th of July 1949. It is located in the middle of the inner city of Lima. Breña is with 3.22 km² one of the smallest district of Lima. Main streets are the Av. Brasil, Av. Arica and Av. Alfonso Ugarte.
The district of Breña is limited to the north, east and west by downtown Lima (Cercado de Lima), to the southeast by the district of Jesús María and to the southwest by the district of Pueblo Libre.
Brief History of Breña
In pre-Hispanic times the area we know as Breña today, was as literally all parts of Lima, inhabited by many different cultures. There is archaeological evidence for numerous huacas belonging to the Maranga, pre-Inca and Inca cultures. Unfortunately all of them disappeared due to urban expansion and development. During Colonial and Republican times the area was characterized by farming. On the haciendas Breña, Chacra Colorada, Garden City, Azcona, Chacra Ríos, Dos de Mayo and Conde de las Torres y Wiesse mainly sugar-cane, corn, cotton and mulberries were cultivated. After Limas city wall was torn town in the 1870s some highly regarded families moved out of the city center to new homes in the area of Breña which boosted the urban development.
Finally on the 15th of July 1949 the district of Breña was officially created, only to lose nearly half of its territory a decade later to the district of Cercado de Lima (Lima center). This caused a substantial reduction of municipal revenues. The initial plans to develop Breña into a huge industrial zone were never carried out. Today you find many small shops selling construction materials, wood, metal, furniture, food and cloth.
Places to visit & attractions in Breña
Breña might not be your first choice to visit when there are so many other districts in Lima that offer so much more. Nevertheless Breña is at least worth a short stop.
Museo del Palacio de San Jorge
One of the attractions is the "Museo del Palacio de San Jorge" on the Avenida Bolivia 568. The museum is located in a beautiful building and displays art from Egypt, Greek, the Etruscan, Moche and Chancay Culture.
Worth a visit are also the Museo Interdisciplinario del Colegio la Salle on the Avenida Arica 600 and the Museo Memoria del Mariscal Andrés Avelino Cáceres on Avenida Repúplica de Portugal 258.
For all church lovers, visit the Basílica María Auxiliadora on Avenida Brasil 210, the Parroquia De Nuestra Señora De Los Desamparados on Avenida Venezuela 1202 and the Parroquia San Pablo Y Nuestra Señora Del Carmen on Jiron Orbegoso 1160.
The Plaza Bolognesi was constructed in 1906 and is dedicated to one of the many heroes of the Pacific War, Francisco Bolognesi, who lost his life next to a lot of loyal Peruvians during the Battle of Arica. The statue of Francisco Bolognesi in the middle of the circle was erected in 1954 (the original one from 1905 can be found in the Museo Historico Militar Real Felipe). Unfortunately the surroundings of the "Plaza Bolognesi" are quite deteriorated. Nevertheless every year on the 07th of June, the anniversary of the disastrous end of the Battle of Arica, a big ceremony is held to safeguard the Peruvian flag and at the same time pay respect to all the lost lives.