The capital of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Viceroyalty of Peru couldn’t have a grander plaza than Plaza Mayor in Lima. With its trademark yellow buildings, balconies, cathedral, and presidential palace, there may not be a finer example of a Spanish plaza in the world. The plaza is fitting for Lima’s nickname, “The City of Kings”.
This UNESCO World Heritage site in Lima’s historic city center has been witness to important historic moments, such as José de San Martin proclaiming Peru’s independence in 1821. It has been used as a bullfighting ring and city gallows.
At the center of the plaza is a fountain dating back to 1651. It was placed there by García Sarmiento de Sotomayor. An earlier fountain existed back to 1578.
Palacio de Gobierno
Moving clockwise is the Palacio Arzobispal. Built in 1924, it is the residence of the Archbishop of Lima, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lima, and the headquarters of the Cardinal of Lima. The building has beautifully constructed balconies along with several other impressive architectural elements.
Catedral de Lima
Next to the Palacio Arzobispal is the Basílica Catedral de Lima y Primada del Perú, or Catedral de Lima for short. Built in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, it also contains Pizarro’s tomb. It had to be rebuilt after a 1940 earthquake.
South and West Sides
Portal de Botoneros, Palacio de la Unión, and Palacio Municipal all stand over Plaza Mayor to the south and west.
Casa de Correos
Behind Palacio Municipal is the Casa de Correos y Telegrafos (Post Office). It also houses the Museo Postal y Filatélico (Postal and Philatelic Museum) and a small area lined with restaurants.
Next to Palacio Municipal and to the northwest of Plaza Mayor is another small plaza, Plaza Perú. There’s a fountain and a Peruvian flag next to a modern building.