Discover the Historic Centre of Lima: the city’s historical heart
In the Historic Centre of Lima is located the largest public space in the city: the Plaza Mayor. Learn more about its history and the attractions that surround it in this article by Peru By Bus.
Historic Centre of Lima
The Historic Centre of Lima contains the most representative samples of Peruvian colonial architecture. Many important events occurred in the aquare, which provide reasons for its foundation as historical heritage of Peru. With an approximate of 600 historical monuments, there is no better place in Lima where to admire so many artistic details outside a museum; save perhaps Barranco or Monumental Callao.
Among the main tourist attractions –and preferred by travelers– is the Plaza Mayor, also known as “Plaza de Armas”. It has the same antiquity as the city itself, founded in 1535 by the conqueror Francisco Pizarro. It is composed of beautiful gardens and a pool in the center, which was part of a donation from Count Salvatierra and placed there in the seventeenth century. In this pool, you can see the shields of the Count’s family, the coat of arms of Spain and the coat of arms of Lima.
The Plaza Mayor also symbolizes a significant moment in Peruvian history. It was there where, on July 28, 1821, the liberator José de San Martín made the second proclamation of the independence of Peru. However, it was not until three years later when the Spanish domination ended.
Walking around the Plaza de Armas will give you the perfect postcards if you are a lover of photography. Here, colonial architecture is at its best. The authorities keep it clean and in constant maintenance. If you make a visit at 12:00 p.m. you can even watch the changing of the guard in the Government Palace of Peru, next to the square and made by the Cavalry Regiment. This is part of one of the most striking traditions of Lima.
A night visit will always be very attractive. The Plaza is always open and available to all public and, if you want, you can hire a guided tour in a tourist agency. You will also find restaurants, bars and multiple options for entertainment and gastronomy nearby.
The historical attractions that surround the Plaza Mayor
The Plaza the Armas is the main public space in Lima and the maximum historical expression of the city. It is surrounded by several emblematic buildings and visiting them is part of one of the best tours that travelers can choose. For example:
The Cathedral of Lima
It is the largest of all the churches in the city, besides being the most important and part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Its artistic and architectural wealth make it, undoubtedly, a place worthy of admiration. It has a Renaissance style on the outside; while the inside reflects a Gothic and Baroque style.
The Archbishop’s Palace
This architectural gem works today as the residence of the archbishop of Lima and the seat of the Archdiocese. It has a neocolonial architecture on the outside, with baroque details made of stone. Inside, it has beautiful marble sculptures, such as Santa Bárbara, patron saint of Cuba.
The Municipality of Lima
It is also known as the Cabildo of Lima and stands out for its large and crafted balconies, with a Renaissance style. Although it has undergone various modifications over time, today it can be visited by the general public. In the interiors, you can see the Atahualpa Room, the Municipal Library, the Hall of Mirrors, among many other attractions.
Casa del Oidor
It is the oldest construction around the Plaza Mayor, built at the end of the 16th century. Formerly, it was a common practice for locals to observe the city from the balconies. From up there they saw the parties and events that took place in the square.
In addition, the famous “tapadas” were one of the most remarkable characters of the time that engaged in this practice. They were women from the Viceroyalty and early Republic that covered their heads and faces with dark silk shawls, exposing only one eye.
If you want to know the history of Lima and witness its architectural wonders, visit the Plaza Mayor and the Historic Centre of Lima. Prepare your camera to immortalize your visit!