Lima, Peru's capital is overcrowded, polluted, noisy and often has wretched weather. Nevertheless, the inhabitants are friendly and hospitable, opportunities for dining and nightlife are ample and the city has a great selection of museums. A project is now underway to restore the city's colonial center, so Lima may be a lot lovelier in the near future.
Historically, Lima "The Very Noble, Distinguished and Very Loyal City of the Kings" as says in the Coat-of-Arms received from the Kings of Spain on December 7th, 1537; three times prized "The Garden City". It was the headquarters of the Spain crown government's authority, forty Spaniard viceroys governed in the Palace of Pizarro during 282 years. From their foundation up to 1821, under the dynasties of the Asturias and Borbones, it was the center of the biggest political power in all the Spanish colonies.
Attractions include the Museo de Arte, exhibiting colonial furniture and pre-Columbian artifacts and 400 years of Peruvian art and the Museo Nacional de AntropologÃa y ArquelogÃa, noted for its exhibits of prehistoric Peru. Churches such as San Francisco (famous for its catacombs) and Santo Domingo (circa 1540) provide a welcome respite from the outside clamour. The many markets, like Polvos Azules, overflow with consumer goods and handicrafts. There are plazas, lovely colonial buildings and a zoo.
The suburb of Barranco has a number of cheap restaurants and live music venues and is very popular with backpackers. The suburb of Miraflores has the city's best stores, restaurants and nightspots.
Plaza Mayor: The Main Square and urban center of the city of Lima. Founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, it is surrounded by the principal buildings dating from the colonial period: the Government Palace, the Cathedral and the Municipality or city hall. At the center of this handsome architectural complex there is a magnificent ornamental bonze fountain, fused by Antonio Rivas, dating from 1650, and bearing the coats-of-arms of Lima, Spain, and of the Viceroy Conde de Salvatierra.
Palacio Municipal (Hall City): It occupies the same place that the first town hall of the colony, Nicolas de Ribera "the Old" founded in Lima on 1535. It has beautiful colonial wooden balconies, sober and elegant interiors. The Hall City has an important collection of Peruvian paintings and photographs, as well as the historical documents of the Founding of Lima on January 18, 1535 and the Independence of Peru, obtained in 1821.
Government Palace: Also called "House of Government" or the "House of Pizarro". From the foundation of Lima, it was the elected place of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro for the construction of his house and government's headquarters. At the moment are conserved magnificent living rooms, like the Golden Living room that has rich pictorial collections.
The Cathedral: The conqueror Francisco Pizarro put the first stone of the Cathedral the same day of the foundation of Lima. The church was placed under the invocation of Nuestra Sentora de la Asuncian, and on May 11, 1540 the holy sacred heart of Jesus was placed for the first time. Particularly noteworthy are its altars consecrated to Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo and the Virgen de la Evangelizacian. Other outstanding features are the choirstalls, the churrigueresque (Spanish baroque) chapel of the Immaculate, the main altar and a Christ made of carved ivory. Entering to the right is the crypt with remains of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro.
The Historical Center of Lima: The Historical Center of Lima conserves numerous constructions that due to its immense beauty, in the architectural context, and for the artistic jewels of priceless value, were declared as "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO. Independently the Church and Convent of San Francisco were declared Cultural World Heritage Site.
San Isidro: Elegant and charming residential neighborhood located north of Lima features neo-classic architecture, cobblestone streets, excellent dining, good shopping and the Huaca Hallamarma, a restored pre-Inca pyramid that now serves as a small museum of Indian artifacts.
San Francisco Convent: Deep under Iglesia San Francisco is its weirdest site. In the catacombs are the remains of 1000's. The monks here have arranged these remains by bone types; the strangest is an arrangement in an old well.