Halfway through the dusty desert of Peru, Lima is placed between the ocean and rugged parts of the Andes. Diluted and chaotic, this is now the capital of Peru. It’s full of contrasts between poverty and wealth; dusty barracks spread on both sides of the city, as well as gleaming apartments and skyscrapers with offices on the coast in the suburbs.
In the days of Spanish domination Lima was considered the most important and most prosperous city of Spanish America, and in that time one of the most beautiful, also known as the city of kings. That luxury died out, but Lima is still a city that attracts visitors with its exciting mixture of nationalities and styles, turbulent and dynamic city that is packed and filled with culture and rich heritage. Today, Lima is the center of political and mercantile life of Peru and the main gateway to the rest of the country. The long pedestrian street filled with shops and visitors connect the two main Plazas in Lima. The heart of the old town is located on the center of the city, on Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas, which is gracefully colonial with its bronze fountain and old street lamps. Formerly it was the main shopping square, and the bull fights were also held there during the Spanish reign. Very interesting objects were built around the square, such as large Spanish Baroque cathedral, then the Museum of Religious Art, and the impressive Government Palace, in front of which is the Ornamental Guard. There are also the City Hall and the Archbishops Palace with a beautiful wooden balcony. Plaza San Martin is another impressive square in that part of town, known for its magnificent fountains, street artists and performers.
Lima is a city rich in cultural and historical heritage. There are museums and galleries which present the cultural richness to the visitors in the best way. The National Museum is the best example of anthropological and archaeological research. It holds outstanding exhibits which mark the history of ancient Peruvian civilizations and provides a visitor a complete overview of the rich archaeological heritage of this country. In this museum, which is the most important national museum in Peru, the visitor chronologically learns about the complicated ancient history of the country. He is shown many conquered cultures and their achievements in the field of art and the history of original inhabitants of the Inca Empire. Museo de Oro del Peru – Gold Museum is located on the building in a form of a fortress. Its rooms are filled with the treasuries – Incan and theirs ancestors. Massive collections of gold ceremonial and decorative objects attract the attention of every visitor. Especially distinguished here is by far the famous golden Tumi, the symbol of Peru, which has been exhibited worldwide. The rest of the museum displays a collection of tapestries and weapons from the time of the Incas, wooden objects, ceremonial masks, clothing and preserved mummies. Here is a huge display that shows the weapons and uniforms from the Peruvian past. Rafael Larco Herrera Museum, which is a colonial style building dating from the 18th century, offers the visitor the largest and most impressive collection of ceramics in the world with around 55,000 clay objects. As the biggest attraction it holds a wonderful collection of ceramics from Moche civilization, whose members lived on the north coast of Peru between 100 and 800 BC. The most important social activities captured in their pottery are sex, war, weaving and metalwork.
San Francisco is the most beautiful colonial church of Lima, white and yellow building with two towers and a stone facade. It is also known for being one of the few surviving buildings after the 1746 devastation and it’s famous for underground catacombs where more than 70,000 people are buried. The interior is decorated with beautiful mosaics and engraved ceiling made of wood. In this church there is a famous library with hundreds of old texts, and within the church is a room with a works of painters Rubens and Vandyke.
Featured photo: Latin America For Less / Flickr