Historical Buildings

Lima, nowadays is a bustling, chaotic and quite noisy city, has a rich historical and architectural heritage. When Francisco Pizarro founded Lima in 1535 on an existing indigenous settlement, he had explicit orders by the Spanish crown on how to create and organize the city. They based the design and layout of Limas historical Center on the model of cities in Spain, especially Seville. The same applies for the first Colonial houses in Lima.

Initially, the first mansions were all built block (Spanish = Cuadra) by block around Plaza Mayor in a chessboard style and with specific rules as determined by Francisco Pizarro (exact length of one block = 400 feet / 122m and a precise width of the streets = 40 foot / 12.2m). During the Colonial times, the Spanish immigrants developed their own unique architectural style. The origins of this style were very similar to the typical Arabic-Moorish architecture in Spain. The settlers had to adapt to the local environment like earthquakes or the inferiority of building materials, and so soon a very characteristic architectural style developed.

Good examples of unique architectural factors are the famous balconies of Lima; most of them closed balconies with jalousies, of Moorish origin but with an absolutely distinctive Lima style and character. Lima known as the "City of Kings" and "City of Gardens" was soon famous for these extraordinary balconies and known as the "City of Balconies". Lima had so many balconies that nobody ever thought they would be some day something special. The principal reason for building closed balconies was that the first immigrants thought it would be inappropriate for their women to be seen from a window, an open balcony, or when going outside. Therefore, closed balconies like in North-Africa were built, allowing the high society ladies of Lima to see what was going on outside but without being seen.

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House of Goyeneche or Rada

Historical Buildings
Just across the street from Palacio Torre Tagle is an impressive 18th century mansion, the "Casa de Rada" or "Casa de Goyeneche". The house is one of the first buildings that shows a distinct French influence, typical for buildings in the mid 18th century in Lima. Characteristic for Lima are the beautiful preserved balconies and distinctive door...

House of Jorge Negreiros

Historical Buildings
In the early 18th century Don Jorge Negreiros, the chief magistrate of Arica, settled in Lima and built his house just two blocks from Plaza Mayor. It was once restored in Republican times, then in 1970 and again in 1997 by the Municipality of Lima which declared this remarkable mansion a "Historical Patrimony of the City of Lima". Absolutely be...

House of Osambela - Oquendo

Historical Buildings
The Casa de Osambela or known as well as Casa de Oquendo is one of the most traditional buildings that combines the cultural and historical patrimony of Lima. This impressive mansion was built by Martin de Osambela, a merchant, banker and ship-owner as his family residence at the beginning of the 19th century (the construction took nearly four y...

House of the Riva Agüero Family

Historical Buildings
This beautiful mansion was built in 1760 on behalf of the Riva Agüero family. It was then donated by the last descendant Don José de la Riva Agüero to the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Inside this typical Colonial mansion the Institute Riva-Agüero holds an extensive historical archive and a rich library. The building also houses the Mu...

House of Miguel Grau

Historical Buildings
Right in the middle of the historic center you find another beautiful preserved Colonial mansion: The Casa Miguel Grau. Built in the last years of the 17th century the house was occupied by Don Gaspar Osma y Tricio, later by the Peruvian writer José de la Riva Agüero y Osma. In 1867 the famous Peruvian Navy Admiral Miguel Grau lived here until h...

Fernandini House

Historical Buildings
If you are on your way through Limas streets anyway, don’t miss to have a glance at this impressive building. The two floor facade built in 1913 is beautifully decorated with a wrought-iron balustrade in the "Art Nouveau" style. Inside are wide salons decorated with stucco and glass paintings.

Larriva House - Marquis de la Riva

Historical Buildings
This remarkable Colonial mansion was built in the 18th century by the Larriva family. Typical for Lima and the time the house was built, are the two balconies and the large front door which grants you access to the amazing inner patio. The doors, windows, magnificent bars and the Andalusian style gallery are still the original ones.

Palais Concert

Historical Buildings
The Palais Concert was opened in 1913 originally as a confectionery, café and bar but almost immediately developed into the meeting place of the bohemian and intellectual world of Lima.

Belen House

Historical Buildings
The Casa Belen on Lima's famous Jiron de la Union in the City Center is a beautifully restored mansion which origins date back to around 1606. Today the privately owned historical monument houses the Museum Andres del Castillo displaying the amazing personal collection of minerals, Chancay ceramics and ancient textiles of the "del Castillo" fami...
San Martin de Porres was born illegitimate in 1579 in this beautiful preserved building in Lima that belonged to his mother a colored freed-woman from Panama. His father was a Spanish nobleman. With fifteen, he became a lay brother at the Dominican Friary in Lima and spent his whole life there as a barber, farm labourer, almoner, and infirmarian...
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