A Travellerspoint blog

Summer in Peru - 2017

Peru - LIma # Day 3


Lima historic centre

Today I am heading into the Central Historic area of Lima where I know I am going to find lots of buildings with balconies. I have seen these in Malta, but not to the extent as in Lima.


The noble and wealthy had balconies built on their houses mostly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Women were not allowed to stroll the streets, so the balcony was an ideal place for upper-class women to sit and observe the goings on of the city from behind cover. Some of the more wealthy residents built their homes in Spanish-Moorish architecture, and just like in Morocco, most of the balconies were decorated with Seville tiles and mosaics, although not many of these have stood the ravages of earthquakes in Lima.
Along the streets in the historic centre were many houses with balconies, some were quite plain, some had decorative windows and others were a piece of art.

Torre Tagle Palace - Lima


Torre Tagle Palace, a Spanish Sevillian Baroque palace built in 1735. was one with attractive balconies. In the centre was an impressive baroque stone doorway, with a large wooden door decorated with bronze nails and with two Lion's heads for knockers. What I admired were the two large balconies, built from dark wood with carved patterns, lattice work and small columns which made them very attractive. Underneath each balcony the rafters were carved in the shape of a woman. It was quite obvious, these were "upmarket" balconies.
Today, Torre Tagle Palace is used by the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so if you wish to see the interior which I have seen photos of, then you have to do a tour. The tour is a chance to Seville tiles and mosaics.

A few steps away and in the same street as Torre Tagle Palace was the impressive 18th century mansion, "Casa de Goyeneche." It was painted in a bright yellow with white trimmings, for some unknown reason, lots of buildings in Lima are painted in these colours.

Casa de Goyeneche. ( yellow building)


Casa de Goyeneche Door Knocker

This too had beautiful balconies and in many ways was similar to Torre Tagle Palace. As I passed through the doors I noticed the interesting door knockers, part fish, part panther? - I really aren't sure what they represented, then I came to a gate and that was as far as I could go.

The Metropolitan Municipality of Lima is trying to get people interested in restoring balconies, so are running a campaign under the slogan “take a balcony,” to be restored. I noticed lots had been restored and looked wonderful!


Lima Historic Centre


My walk today took me from my Hotel, along Jirón de la Unión that ran alongside San Pedro Plaza to my destination, Plaza Mayor, the main and most important plaza in Lima. Early morning and Jirón de la Unión was quite quiet, but as the day progressed it became packed with people. Nearly every street I walked had some interesting buildings, this one was no exception. There was one run-down building, but the rest were looking great.

There were so many different styles of architecture, many were painted brightly, a few were in pastel colours. Plenty of impressive wooden doors, decorative bars on windows, balconies, lots of decorative facades, old fashioned lights and more.

Lima Historic cente

Our Lady of Mercy Basilica
Our Lady of Mercy Basilica Tower

San Pablo Church

Next, I went to see San Pablo (Pedro) Church, a famous one which has hardly altered since first built. This small church was consecrated by the Jesuits in 1638 and like nearly all the churches I had seen in Lima, it had gold overload.


San Pedro Cloisters

I wandered into the cloisters and found it a beautiful, peaceful area. I like the Jesuits style of building, and here the yellow and white complimented the garden, it really was a delightful spot.


San Pedro Cloisters

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas till 1990) is a real eye-catcher!
Conquistador Francisco Pizarro designed the main square, then all important buildings were built around it.

Plaza Mayor Water Fountain

The center of the Plaza de Armas was once home to the city gallows, it's hard to imagine now as in its place is a very attractive fountain.

Plaza Mayor Water Fountain

The Plaza Mayor is the oldest public place in Lima, it is also where all important events took place. Religious, state and military processions, all kinds of festivities and entertainment. It was here the first bullfight was held in 1538, where public executions took place and where General Jose de San Martin declared the independence of Peru. Much more has taken place here in its 500+ years, today demonstrations are held here, there was even one planned for the day I was there, but I didn't see anything, other than the Police water cannon vehicle laying in wait for them.

Police Water Cannon


The buildings around Plaza Mayor were magnificent!

Government Palace


Located on the north side of Plaza Mayor was the Government Palace [House of Pizarro], the seat of the executive branch of the Peruvian Government and the official residence of the President of Peru.
Government Palace

Over five centuries it has been reconstructed and expanded to become a much grander building than it originally was when first built in 1535. I came here first to view the Neo-Colonial building, whose facade is Neo- Baroque, then later on to watch the changing of the guards.

I found a barrier had been put up away from the fence, meaning everybody had to stand behind that and all the photos would have bars.. I was really disappointed with this and didn't even bother to watch the whole ceremony.

Palace Ceremonial Band

On the eastern side was the Archbishop's Palace which is now open to the public. Despite its grand colonial appearance, this building is quite new having been built in 1924. The Palace serves as the official home of the Archbishop of Lima and as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lima.
The Archbishop's Palace has a beautiful Baroque façade with two stunning wooden balconies, some of the best I saw in Lima.
It's a beautiful building, built from only the best materials which were shipped from around the world. The palace flies both the Peruvian and Vatican flags.

Archbishops Palace - Lima270_IMG_2896.jpg
Archbishops Palace Door Knocker - Lima


Situated next to the Archbishops Palace is the Basilica Cathedral of Lima, a Roman Catholic cathedral from 1535 built upon the site of a palace owned by the Inca prince Sinchi Puma. The Cathedral took a long time to complete, eventually it was finished in a mix of baroque, gothic and neoclassical architecture. On the main facade are statues of the 12 Apostles surrounding the cathedral’s main entrance, the Door of Forgiveness. In total there are eight entrances to the cathedral and 14 small side-chapels. Entry is free. Once inside, I found there were plenty of people looking and others praying, it was one of the busiest chuches in Lima

Basilica Cathedral of Lima

Two beautifully painted yellow buildings with colonial style balconies are located either side of Passage Santa Rosa, one is the Palace of the Union

Palace of the Union

....and the other is City Hall (Palacio Municipal), easy to pick which is which, as City Hall has the city coat of arms on its facade. This was another building from the 16th century that had been damaged badly by earthquakes and rebuilt many times, today the architecture is a neo-colonial facade with a French renaissance interior.


City Hall @ Plaza Mayor - Lima

I had finished exploring the Plaza Mayor and was wondering where to go next when a church tower in the distance made that decision for me. Heading in that direction, I first came across Plaza Peru, a pretty Plaza where lots of Peruvians were taking family photos.


Plaza Peru

Continuing a short distance, I stopped at the old pink Post office building (Casa de Correos y Telegrafos) which is now a Gastronomy Museum covering the history of Peruvian cuisine, a museum I wasn't interested in. I had a peek through the main entrance to see what the Casa was like.

Gastronomy Museum

I could see the church was only a few metres away - surprise, surprise .... It was another pink church!
The 46 metre high Bell Tower was reconstructed in 1766 in rococo style to include three levels, each with its own balcony and with an angel at the very top.

large_270_IMG_2809.jpgBell Tower

Sunday wasn't the best time to be viewing churches as they were full of people or a service was being held, because of this I did miss some chapels and I didn't bother taking the tour of the Museum of the Convent of St. Domingo - I should have!


Santo Domingo church

The Santo Domingo Church is very important as it contains the skeletal remains of the 3 saints of the Dominican Order - Santa Rosa de Lima, San Martín de Porres and San Juan Macías. Another church with a beautiful interior, a wonderful main altar in neo-classical style with turquoise and gold, whilst the rest of the church was in green. There were many chapels to see, a beautiful high ceiling and much more.


Basilica and Convent of San Agustín

Jirón Camana is where the Basilica and Convent of San Agustín was located. Its facade is Churrigueresque baroque, only one of two Churrigueresque facades left in Lima.


Coming out of the church, I walked along Jirón Camana, a historic street which led towards the Rimac River. It was along here I came across the Passage Del Correo, a walkway between two streets covered by elegant metal arches. Its impressive entrance beckoned me and so did the market stalls, then I saw I was too early, there were only a few stalls open. The building was beautifully detailed and painted pink!

Passage Del Correo



Walking out of Jirón Camana, brought me to a paved pedestrian area with some unusual sculptures, further along was parkland beside the Rimac river.
A bridge was here, so I walked to the centre to get a better view of this river that has flooded many times and caused a lot of destruction, then did the same after I arrived home in March 2017.


As I walked along the paved area I noticed these strange domes, but what were they? My guess is observatory domes, but that may not be correct, I would be interested if anybody knows what they are.


I didn't want to walk that way anymore, so I turned around and walked to the markets by the river that had handbags for sale


A browse here and I was on my way again, this time sticking to the road alongside the river which brought me to the House of Peruvian Literature. This was once Lima's old train station and was renamed to Casa de la Literatura. Today it houses a Cultural Center and Library.

San Francisco Church


It was time to make my way slowly back to my Hotel, only this time along some different streets. I was only one block away from Plaza Mayor when I came across the San Francisco church and monastery that contains a library and catacombs.


San Francisco church

Building of this lemon coloured Spanish Baroque church began in 1673 and was finally completed in 1774. The centre has a granite carved portal like many of the churches I saw in Lima

San Francisco Church

Inside, the vaults of the central and two side naves are painted in a mix of Moorish and Spanish designs, and it looked like a lot of the carvings were from wood - all were beautifully done. In this church, Jude the Apostle is venerated.


San Francisco Church

My next stop was at Plaza Bolivar, also known as the Plaza of Congress or Plaza of the Inquisition. It's here where the Legislative Palace, where the seat of the Congress of Peru is located. The Plaza is named after Simon Bolivar, the liberator of five South American countries.

Plaza of Congress

Well, it was another interesting walk.


I passed by this bright blue church, I found China town and a huge market which reminded me of Vietnam, as the stalls sold the same kind of product in each street.


Next blog, I go to Lima's zoo

Posted by balhannahrise 01:30 Archived in Peru Tagged churches buildings museums parks architecture monuments lima historic wallking

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The yellow houses around Plaza Mayor look beautiful against the blue sky. I visited for a few hours six years ago and it was during the garua season, so the sky was very grey. I too was disappointed that the changing of guards can only be seen with the iron bars between.

by MalenaN

Lima certainly has some beautiful buildings. Love your attention to detail in your photos.

by irenevt

Hi Malena,
I don't know why they don't let you get close, if Buckingham Palace can let you poke a camera through the bars, then why can't they.

by balhannahrise

I did like the coloured buildings especially those yellow ones.

by balhannahrise

Thanks Irene! I loved their architecture and the colourful buildings, ours in Australia are rather dull.

by balhannahrise

Great pics Dee. Brings back memories, I was there back in 2000.
Nice !!!!!!!

by easyout4u

Thanks Angelo!

by balhannahrise

I was intrigued by the balconies and story behind them. They are certainly unique and add character to the architecture. Nice!

by aussirose

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