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.
Date : Saturday, 20 January 2024