The UNESCO World Heritage listed historic city center of Lima has several of interesting sites, beautiful architecture, and plazas. Unfortunately, many of the buildings were closed because my visit fell on Peru’s Independence Day. The city center is easily accessible by the Lima Metropolitano.
Most of the interesting sites in Lima are centered around plazas. Plaza Mayor is the main plaza surrounded by the most important buildings in the city. Plaza San Martín was built in 1921 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Peru’s independence. The pedestrian street that connects the two plazas is called Jirón de la Unión. It’s full of shops, restaurants, and packed with people.
Many historic colonial buildings have survived Lima’s devastating earthquakes. They’re located within a few blocks of Jirón de la Unión. One of them is Casa Riva-Agüero. It was built in the 19th century and now houses archives, a library, and folk art museum.
Palacio Torre Tagle, built in 1735, is considered Lima’s finest example of a colonial home. The Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Relations is located inside. A visit can be arranged in advance by appointment only.
Across the street from Palacio Torre Tagle is Palacio de Goyeneche, another great example of colonial architecture. It was built in 1771.
Some modern architecture is also located within a few blocks of Jirón de la Unión. Headquarters for the Bolsa de Valores (Lima’s Stock Exchange), El Comercio (a Peruvian newspaper), and Banco Central de Reserva (Central Reserve Bank – now a bank museum), are all very interesting.
Northwest of Plaza Mayor is the very interesting Casa de Aliaga. It was built in 1535 by one of Pizarro’s lieutenants on top of an Inca shrine. It’s the oldest piece of family-owned real estate in all of South America. Part of the house is possible to visit on tours from Monday to Friday.
North of Casa de Aliaga is Parque Rímac, which is lined with some colonial buildings housing shops and restaurants.
To the northeast of Plaza Mayor and behind Palacio de Gobierno is the Estación de Desamparados. Built in 1911, it was the old railway station in Lima. It is now the Casa de la Literatura Peruana (House of Peruvian Literature).