Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru, is in the valleys of the ChillÓn, Rímac and Lurín rivers, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 as The City of Kings. It was the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, and after the Peruvian War of Independence, was made the capital of the republic.
Twenty-eight million people live in Peru, and 8 million of them live in Lima, making it a busy, bustling city, that's not always easy to get around. One in seven cars is a taxi so there's never a problem flagging one down and they are quite inexpensive. Be sure to agree on a price before you get in. They vary in size from small four-door compacts, (usually Daewoo Ticos) to large vans, and if you want a real adventure, you can hire one and drive yourself around.
Your first stop should be Plaza de Armas square in the middle of the city. It has a bronze horse statue and fountain and is bordered by a cathedral, archbishop's palace, government palace (which is the president's home), cafes and restaurants. The changing of the guard has taken place every day since 1937, and you get a free display of soldiers in colourful uniforms and plumed hats as they goosestep their change of shift.
Bar Cordano, next door to the presidential palace, is the city's oldest bar and is where people flock for their famous ham and pork sandwiches.
The San Francisco monastery is home to the city's order of Franciscan monks and final resting place to more than 70,000 of their parishioners in catacombs, which were dug in 1546. It is not known how many levels there are.
The church was completed in 1674. Noted for its 17th-century architecture, it is a prime example of Spanish Neoclassicism. It has been restored to the original baroque/Moorish style.
There is an impressive collection of art, and the refectory displays a large 1697 mural of the Last Supper by a Flemish Jesuit priest. The dish of the last supper is guinea pig and the Devil is standing next to Judas. The world-renowned library has thousands of historical and antique books and documents.
Cerro San Cristobal is 400m above sea level and is adorned with a massive cross. It is one of Lima's most famous landmarks and attracts many people every year, particularly those on an Easter pilgrimage. The hill is close to the Rimac River and bore witness to the 16th-century confrontations between the indigenous populations and the Spanish. The wooden cross was erected by the conquistador, Francisco Pizarro.
Plaza San Martin on Avenida Nicolás de Piérola is one of Lima's largest and most beautiful squares. It was opened in 1921 in honour of Peru's first century of independence. The monument to José de San Martin was obviously influenced by French architecture.
Lima, the capital of Peru.
Kumuka Worldwide has 10-day tours of Peru, which include a visit to Lima, accommodation and most meals. They are $2210 per person twin share.
Aerolineas Argentinas has flights to Lima.
- Sydney $2160
- Melbourne and Brisbane
- Adelaide $2460
- Perth $2930
Valid for sale and travel until November 30, 2008 and for travel between March 1 to November, 2008. Conditions apply.
Prices correct at October 16, 2008.
For further information
Level 4, 46-48 York Street
Ph: 1300 667 277 or 02 9279 0491
It is recommended travellers to Peru see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information visit www.welltogo.com.au.
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