Originally known as La Ciudad de los Reyes (The City of the Kings), Lima was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro and for the next four hundred years remained an important and immensely prosperous part of the Spanish empire.
Today it is known as a vibrant city of great contrasts with poverty and riches in similar abundance and, despite the best intentions of a fearsome earthquake in 1746, a great heritage of museums, historical monuments, soaring skyscrapers and ecclesiastical masterpieces is much in evidence today.
- Tuck in to some of Peru’s finest cuisine at world-class eateries
- Visit the bone-filled catacombs of the San Francisco Monastery
- Wander around the sumptuous historic 16th Century Casa Aliaga
- Explore the colourful food markets followed by a cooking lesson
- Enjoy the pre-Hispanic gold & silver collection in the Larco Museum
Some of the city’s highlights include the Plaza de Armas, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to the Presidential Palace; the beautiful cathedral of 1755 with its massive columns, high naves and intricately carved stalls; and the delightful Archbishop’s Palace with its superb wooden balcony.
The San Francisco Monastery and its baroque church of 1674, which is one of the few survivors of the great 1746 earthquake is also well worth a visit. The church has some fabulous woodcarving, valuable artworks and lavish decorations, whilst the monastery is famous for its Seville tilework, panelled ceiling and tranquil cloisters.
There are a number of old colonial mansions in the city and Casa Solar de Aliaga is one of Lima’s colonial jewels and has been inhabited by seventeen generations of the same family since it was first built in the 16th Century, making it the oldest ancestral mansion in continuous use in the Western hemisphere. Built by Don Jeronimo de Aliaga who was a co-founder of Lima and founder of the first university in the Americas, this stunning property is still lived in by his descendants and is still lavishly decorated in the old colonial style.