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Lima

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Population : 9.000.000 inhabitants
Altitude : 160 m
Distance :
   Huaraz : 395 km
   Piura : 986 km
   Arequipa : 1411 km
   Cusco : 1467 km
Lima


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Lima

Overview
Lima, noisy and disorderly capital of Peru, is a city full of surprises. You can still see many pre-Hispanic vestiges, both in and around the city, including the famous "huacas", the religious centers of ancient Peru. But perhaps the most striking evidence of the rich and tumultuous history of the city can be found in the Historic Center, around the Plaza Mayor, where you can still see many monuments from the colonial and republican period. Lima is also known as the gastronomic capital of South America for its incredible variety of dishes. Often described as gray, dirty, messy and noisy, Lima deserves more than the few hours that some visitors give to it.

Lima is the administrative and economic capital of Peru. It is located on the Pacific Ocean, in the central part of the country. The urban area of Lima, known as Lima Metropolitan Area, is actually composed of two different administrative entities, the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima and the Constitutional Province of Callao, the second being geographically located within the first.

The city of Lima covers a vast majority of the surface of the Province of Lima, from which it is also the capital. It is subdivided into 43 districts. Some of the most important tourist districts are Miraflores, Cercado de Lima, San Isidro, Barranco, Pueblo Libre, Rimac, Cieneguilla, Punta Hermosa, San Borja and Santiago de Surco. The Constitutional Province of Callao is much smaller and is only divided into six districts, the most important tourist district is La Punta.

The urban area of Lima has a population of about 9 million people, making it the fourth most populous city in South America after Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro (ranked 28 in the world). Lima Metropolitan Area, with Lima and Callao, has an area of about 2812 square kilometers (approximately 80 kilometers long and about 35 kilometers wide). As you can imagine, don't even think about crossing it on foot. In Lima one must take a lot of taxis and public transport.

Since 2010, the "Metropolitano", a bus system which mainly passes through the "Vía Expresa" (expressway), links the districts of North and South of the city. All lines also pass through the districts of Barranco, Miraflores, San Isidro, La Victoria and Cercado de Lima. It is ideal to go to the Historic Center (Line A and C) and avoid traffic.

The location of Lima in the central part of Peru makes it a good starting point to visit any part of the country. In addition, the airport has domestic flights to almost all airports in the country.

Often described as gray, dirty, messy and noisy, Lima deserves more than the few hours that some visitors give to it. It witnessed the development of important pre-Inca cultures such as Chavin, Lima, Ichma or Wari. You can still see many vestiges of their presence in the region of Lima, both in and around the city, such as the famous "huacas" (religious centers of ancient Peru) for example. The most visited and the best preserved of the city are the Huaca Pucllana (located in the district of Miraflores) and the Huaca Huallamarca (located in the district of San Isidro). There are also remains of the Incas presence in the region such as the beautiful archaeological complexes of Pachacamac (located in the district of Lurin) and Puruchuco (district of Ate -Vitarte).
History
Pre-hispanic Lima
Before the founding of Lima by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535, the region of Lima was already occupied for over 7000 years. The occupation of the area began with gatherers and hunters who took advantage of the abundant marine wealth of the Lima coast. They began to grow pumpkin, then beans and cotton were introduced little by little. With sedentarization and the improvement of quality of life, social hierarchies began to take place and religious activities to develop.
 
At the beginning of the Christian, the development of the Lima culture began, that dedicated to agriculture with irrigation and fishing. They left important religious and administrative monuments across the region of Lima. Some can still be visited today like the Huaca Pucllana of Miraflores or the Huaca Huallamarca of San Isidro.
 
Approximately in the seventh century AD, the Lima culture was absorbed by the Wari, a culture from the central Andes and military by essence. From the year 1000 A.D. the capital of the empire, Huari, begins to decline as political center and loses its control over the conquered cities and territories. In the region of Lima, "Señorios" (little dominions) begin to appear and in particular the dominion of Ichma that will last until the arrival of the Inca army of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui between 1460 and 1470. The most striking vestige of this succession of cultures in the region Lima is the impressive archaeological complex of Pachacamac (in the district of Lurin). It began under the Lima but was later adapted by the Wari and finally by the Incas during the following centuries.
 
But the domination of the Incas did not last long. In 1531, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro began his conquest of Peru and in November 1532 he took prisoner the last ruler of the Inca Empire, Atahualpa. Some years later, on 18 January 1535, he founded the future capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru under the name of "City of Kings", in honor of the Magi by the closeness of the date of their celebration. It later took the name of "Lima" derived from Rimac, the name of the river that crosses the city and which means "talker" in Quechua.
Colonial Lima
Francisco Pizarro officially founded the city of Lima on 18 January 1535 by planting a pillory in an area near the Rimac river that was to become the main square of the city or "Plaza Mayor". This pillory was a simple tall wood beam that served as a column for the execution of the prisoners. Then, with the help of three other conquerors (Nicolas de Rivera el Viejo, Captain Diego de Aguero and the pilot Francisco Quintero), they drew the first streets and squares of the city.
 
Shortly after the creation of the city, the Spaniards were besieged by the troops of Manco Capac II, one of the more than 500 children of Huayna Capac, initially allied with the Spaniards and crowned Inca Sapa by Francisco Pizarro before rebelling against him. But the Spaniards, allied with indigenous peoples, managed to defeat them. Shortly after and for several years, Lima suffered major riots disputes that occurred between Pizarro's and Almagro's partisans (Spanish conquistador and companion of Pizarro during the conquest of the country).
 
After the first years of crisis, the city significantly increased its prestige until its recognition, in 1542, as the capital of the newly created Viceroyalty of Peru. Through the same royal decree, the new Royal Audiencia of Lima was also created (court of the Spanish Crown and the highest organ of justice). A year earlier the capital had been established as diocese of the Catholic Church and in 1547 it was converted into archdiocese. The first church of the city, very simple, was inaugurated in 1540 and elevated to the status of cathedral a year later. In 1551, the National University of San Marcos was established, the first university in the country and the oldest of America.
 
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thanks among others to the extraction of silver from the Cerro Rico de Potosi , currently in Bolivia, Lima became the most important and powerful city in South America (from there were ruled the Viceroyalty of Peru that comprised all current South America including Panama, but without Venezuela and a small part of Brazil). It also became the first commercial and cultural center of the continent. These were years of prosperity and wealth for the city.
 
However this opulence and heavy Spanish vessels full of gold sailing every month to the Iberian peninsula caused greed. And over the years, Lima began to be constantly threatened by pirates and privateers, mainly Dutch and English. Between 1684 and 1687 a wall was built around of the capital, located south of the Rimac River. One can still see remnants of the old wall in the Parque de la Muralla, located on the banks of the river, in the current district of Cercado de Lima. Years later and for the same reason, the Real Felipe Fortress was built in the port of Callao, which can still be seen and visited today.
 
In 1687, a terrible earthquake devastated much of the city and its surroundings. The disaster was followed by epidemics and food shortages that led to the decline of the population of Lima to less than half of what it was some years earlier. It was not the first nor the last that the city had to suffer (the main earthquakes occurred in 1555, 1578, 1586, 1609, 1630, 1655, 1678, 1687, 1746, 1806, 1828, 1904, 1926, 1940, 1966 and 1974) but was one of the most devastating. Many of the public buildings and mansions collapsed. The tower of the Church of Santo Domingo, the portals of the Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the Chapel of San Agustín or the vault and the transept of the Church of San Francisco were all destroyed. After the earthquake, a strong tsunami with waves between 5 and 10 meters swept the port of Callao. In total some 1500 people died. In the following months, an epidemic plague sprouted in the region and ravaged the capital, which tripled the mortality caused by the earthquake.
 
In 1746, Lima suffered the biggest earthquake in its history and second in the history of Peru. Of the 3000 intramural homes of Lima, only 25 were still standing afterward. Virtually all churches, convents, monasteries, chapels and hospitals suffered tremendous damage or fell to the floor. The port of Callao was completely destroyed by a tsunami caused by the earthquake. Of a population of 5000 people living in the port before the earthquake, only about 200 survived. Of the 60,000 inhabitants who lived in Lima, Callao and the adjacent villas at this time, nearly 10,000 were killed. In total, between 15,000 and 20,000 people died in the region ...
 
These two earthquakes forced the governments of the time to a tremendous effort to rebuild the capital and its port. But it was turning point in the history of Lima as it coincided with a downturn in trade, a declining silver production and an increased economic competition with neighboring cities such as Buenos Aires for example. The disaster of 1746 also generated an intense devotion to an image of Christ known as "Señor de los Milagros" (or Lord of Miracles), which miraculously escaped destruction. This image is taken in procession every October since 1746 during one of the most important religious event in the country.
 
Soon after, in 1766, the "Plaza de Toros" de Acho opened, the oldest bullring of America and currently regarded as one of the most prestigious of the continent. The "Paseo de la Alameda de los Descalzos" promenade was also rebuilt and the "Paseo de Aguas" promenade was built. You can see both in the current district of Rimac. Tradition says that the latter work was commissioned by the then viceroy of Peru Manuel de Amat y Juniet in honor of her lover, the beautiful Micaela Villegas, 44 years younger, better known as "The Perricholi". The name "Perricholi" would come from that one day, the Viceroy shouted "Indian dog" (in Spanish, "perra chola"), which in its Catalan accent sounded like "perri choli". And so stayed her nickname. The tradition says that when he professed his love for her, she told him she would accept it if he put the moon at her feet. So the Viceroy ordered the construction of the Paseo de Aguas, in which an ample pond reflected the sky. And in a full moon night, he took her to the edge of the source, saying "Today I put the moon at your feet ..."
 
But this reconstruction should not hide the economic decline that Lima suffered since the disasters of previous years, mainly due to the recession of trade and the decline of silver production. Lima was also affected by the so-called "Bourbon Reforms" and lost its monopoly on foreign trade. It also lost control of the important mining region of Upper Peru (now Bolivia, where the was located the famous Cerro Potosi, rich in silver) which was transferred to the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata in 1776.
 
In the early nineteenth century, the abdication of the King of Spain imposed by Napoleon had a direct impact on American territory and thus, on the city of Lima. Wars of independence spread across the continent. Lima became a royalist stronghold. A combined expedition of Argentine and Chilean patriots led by General Jose de San Martin landed south of Lima on 7 September 1820, but did not attack the city. Faced with a naval blockade and the action of guerrillas on land, Viceroy Jose de la Serna was forced to evacuate the city in July 1821 to save the Royalist army. Fearing a popular uprising and lacking the resources to impose order, the city council invited San Martín to enter Lima and signed the Declaration of Independence on July 28th.
 
The war lasted two years, during which the city changed hands several times and suffered abuses from both sides. For when war was ended on 9 December 1824 at the Battle of Ayacucho, Lima had been greatly impoverished.
 
Republican Lima
Political and economic instability of the country paralyzed the development of the capital for many years. In the 1850s, the country began to live an economic boom again, thanks largely to the exploitation of guano. For the next 20 years, many public buildings, bridges, hospitals and a railway line between Lima and Callao were built.

In 1864 Peru fought once again against Spain during the Spanish-American War. Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia also joined the conflict. The main battle led by the Peruvians took place on 2 May 1866 in the port of Callao, the stronghold of South America. It is not before 1871 that an armistice was declared, and only eight years later, in 1879, that a treaty of peace and friendship between the two countries would eventually be signed. Meanwhile, in 1872, in Lima, the old walls were demolished in anticipation of a growing of the city's population. But peace did not reign long and soon in 1879 the clouds of war gathered again over Peru and its capital.

This same year, Peru, respecting a defensive alliance treaty signed with Bolivia, was forced to go to war with it against Chile in what was then called the Pacific War. After an intense naval and ground campaign, the Chilean troops arrived to Lima in January 1881. In the south part of the city, Chilean battalions fought against the Peruvian army supported by part of the civilian population in two of the bloodiest battles of the conflict, the battle of Chorrillos and the battle of Miraflores. After occupying the city, the Chilean soldiers committed looting and vandalism, stealing volumes and scientific material from the Library of Lima and several universities among other valuable things. The city was occupied until 1894, the year in which the Treaty of Ancon was signed.

After the Chilean occupation, the city went through a major process of renewal and expansion. New districts were created and the city began to interconnect with neighboring towns like Miraflores, Barranco and Chorrillos. Between the 1920s and 1940s, many buildings were rebuilt in the historic center, including the Government Palace and the City Hall. From the 1940s, Lima witnessed a rapid growth of its population originated mainly from the Peruvian highlands, and many poor neighborhoods called "pueblos jovenes" (or "young towns") were created.

During the 80s, Lima, like the rest of the country, suffered greatly from attacks by the terrorist organization "Sendero Luminoso" (or "Shining Path"). Car bombs and blackouts were prevailing in the city. The Tarata bombing that occurred in the heart of Miraflores, was one of the deadliest held in Lima. It killed 25 people and injured about 200 people. The blast destroyed or damaged 183 homes, 400 shops and 63 cars.

After the arrest of its leader, Abimael Guzman, the country and its capital began to enjoy a new period of peace and prosperity.
Main districts
Miraflores
Miraflores is one of the top tourist districts of Lima. It has numerous shopping areas, cinemas, pubs and clubs, famous restaurants and a wide range of hotels. In the center of Miraflores you can also find Kennedy Park and the Larcomar Mall, two shopping areas of the district always in movement. One of the best preserved archaeological sites in Lima, the Huaca Pucllana, is also located in Miraflores.

To read more about the district of Miraflores, you can click here.
San Isidro
The district of San Isidro has large green areas and is known as the "garden" of Lima. Over time it has become the business center in Lima. It has many hotels, restaurants and stores. the beautiful Huaca Huallamarca is also located in San Isidro.

To read more about the district of San Isidro, you can click here.
Barranco
Barranco is a district that still maintains characteristics of the first years of the republican period. It is the bohemian district of Lima and over the years it has become the natural place for many artists and writers. The nights in Barranco are full of fun and joy, and it is the meeting point for young and old, due to the wide variety of pubs, clubs and "peñas" (pub with live music) it offers. The Bridge of Sighs, and the surrounding area, is one of the main tourist attractions of the district.

To read more about the district of Barranco, you can click here.
Cercado de Lima (Center)
Also called "Center of Lima", the district of Cercado de Lima dates from the founding of Lima and that is the first and oldest district of the city. One of the most important historical monuments of the city and famous museums are located in Cercado de Lima. It also still preserves, within its mix of ancient and modern streets, pure architectural jewels which are the living witnesses of the rich history of the capital. Most of these monuments are located in the Historic Center, near the Plaza Mayor.

To read more about the district of Cercado de Lima, you can click here.
Callao
The Constitutional Province of Callao, of great historical and commercial significance, is considered the door or key of Lima, due to the presence of the Port of Callao and the Jorge Chavez International Airport facilities (respectively Peru's first port and first air terminal). Most of the country's imports and exports pass through those facilities. The main attraction of Callao is the Real Felipe Fortress, built in the eighteenth century by the Spaniards to defend the city against pirates and privateers.
 
To read more about the Constitutional Province of Callao, you can click here.
Chorrillos
The district of Chorrillos, whose name comes from the litlle jets of fresh water that seeped through its cliffs, was initially populated by fishermen. It was still a little town separated from Lima when, in 1881, during the War of the Pacific against Chile, the Battle of San Juan took place. More than 4,000 inhabitants of Chorrillos died during the battle. After the sacking of the city and the earthquake of 1940, Chorrillos would never be the same again. However, features of the historic city can still be seen today. The only ecological reserve of Lima, the Villa wetlands, are also located in this district. A large variety of birds find a shelter in the wetlands during season changes.
 
To learn more about the district of Chorrillos, you can click here.
Pachacamac and Lurin
The district of Lurin, located 30 kilometers south of the Center of Lima, has one of the oldest archaeological sites of Peru, the Sanctuary of Pachacamac. The "huaca" (or oracle) of this sanctuary was one of the most visited of the Andean world, and the sanctuary was one of the most important ceremonial center of the central coast. Nowadays, the Pachacamac valley is considered the last green valley in Lima. The district of the same name, Pachacamac, is ideal to spend a relaxing time and enjoy the day in one of its many countryside restaurants.

To learn more about the district of Lurin, you can click here.
To learn more about the district of Pachacamac, you can click here.
 
Punta Hermosa
Punta Hermosa, located about 45 kilometers south of the Center of Lima, is one of the most attractive districts of the Peruvian coast. Its first inhabitants were fishermen who decided to open small businesses with sporadic attention to vacationers visiting the town. Then it became one of the first resorts of Lima, with Punta Negra and San Bartolo. Its waves are very favourable for surfing and for that reason Punta Hermosa has always been the cradle of great surfers, such as the World Surf Champion Sofia Mulanovich. In summer, it is also the scene of an incredible nightlife thanks to its numerous nightclubs.

To learn more about the district of Punta Hermosa, you can click here.
Rímac
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San Borja
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Tourist attractions and activities
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Altitude
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Weather
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How to get there ?
By air
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By road and rail
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By sea and river
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Hotels in Lima
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Miraflores
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Complete list of hotels
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San Isidro
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Complete list of hotels
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Barranco
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Complete list of hotels
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Cercado de Lima (Center)
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Complete list of hotels
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Complete list of hotels
To be published very soon ...
Restaurants in Lima
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Complete list of restaurants
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Pubs and clubs in Lima
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Miraflores
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Barranco
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San Isidro
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Cercado de Lima (Center)
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Complete list of pubs and clubs
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Travel agencies and tours in Lima
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Complete list of tours
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