Just a few blocks from Plaza San Martin is the Parque Universitario (the University Park). Named after the National University of San Marcos that resided in the large mansion behind the park from 1867 until 1965, the University Park with its famous tower is worth a visit to relax on one of the nice benches and feel a part of Peruvian history.
In 1870 the city wall that surrounded Lima was demolished and on the free space of 20,000m2 in front of the university a plaza was supposed to be constructed. But for years the area lay idle and was paved only 50 years later.
For the centenary of Peru's independence in 1921 the German community in Peru build a 30m high clock tower in the University Park. Every midday at 12.00 it plays the Peruvian National Anthem. In the following years 3 monuments were inaugurated: In 1922 the bronze and marble statue of Bartolomé Herrera, an important Peruvian personality, congress man and promoter of the national education, in 1924 a sculpture made of bronze and granite of Sebastián Lorente, the "Maestro de la Juventud" (Teacher of the Youth), a teacher and Spanish historian who founded the Colegio Nacional Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Lima and in 1931 a monument made from Italian marble dedicated to Hipólito Unanue, a precursor of the Peruvian Independence, a politician and doctor.
The University Park has seen most of Lima's and Peru's more recent history: Declarations were announced and students riots took place here. After years of deterioration in the 80s and 90s - times where Lima had to cope with other issues - the University Park today shines in new splendor and is worth a visit to relax on one of the nice benches and feel a part of Peruvian history.