The tropical country of Peru offers a treat to travelers with its spectacular varying landscape and the mystical beauty of historic ruins. However, the heart of the country lies within the arid coastal region bounded by the largest and the deepest Pacific Ocean on one side, and the dramatic mountain ranges of the Andes on the other. The capital city of Peru, Lima which is home to about two-thirds of the country’s population has been manifested by varying transitions of culture and lifestyle, from the pre-Hispanic period to Spanish colonization and the contemporary era. This makes Lima a unique city with an amalgamation of various styles of architecture. Here are 15 places to visit in Lima for a traveling Architect-

1. Plaza Mayor

Also called “Plaza de Armas”, this is where the city of Lima originated back during the Spanish Colonization period. This historical center is today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a central fountain surrounded by buildings of historical importance and administration.

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View of Plaza de Armas with its surrounding structure; Source: Allen Grey_flickr.com
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Central fountain at Plaza de Armas; Source: Chemose_flickr.com

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Views showcasing monumental structures surrounding the Plaza

2. Convento de San Francisco

The church and monastery famous for its baroque ornamentation are also renowned for their catacombs located below the church, built of brick and mortar with thousands of skulls and bones arranged in a geometric pattern. The church also features Mudejar art-Islamic art of the late medieval period, painted on vaults above the aisle and naïve region of the church. 

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Exterior View of Convento de San Francisco; Source: F Delventhal_flickr.com
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Catacombs at Convento de San Francisco; Source: amsirahcharisma_flickr.com
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Interior View of Convento de San Francisco; Source: Alf Igel_flickr.com

Exterior and Interior views of the Church with a view of Catacomb below the Church.

3. Palacio Torre Tagle

Known for its notable façade, the colonial building was built during the 1700s in Spanish Baroque style having an ornamental door at the entrance with its frame carved in stone. Two balconies at the front carved out of wood are a feature unique to the place and can be found in other colonial buildings in Peru as well. These balconies act as a transition space between exterior and interior, forming a semi-public space that connects and allows visual connectivity to the streets from inside.

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Exterior View of Palacio de Torre Tagle; Source: Manuel González Olaechea y Franco_wikimedia.or
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View of Wooden Carved Balcony of Palacio Torre Tagle; Source: arjunalistened_flickr.com
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Interior View of Wooden Carved Balcony of Palacio Torre Tagle; Source: arjunalistened_flickr.com

4. The Aliaga House

An oldest colonial mansion in Lima which was built during the 1500s has housed the Aliaga family (Descendants of the founder of Lima) for seventeen generations. The external façade features a wooden balcony, whereas the luxurious interiors display highly decorated wooden carved ornamental furniture, railings and doorframes.

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Exterior View of Casa de Aliaga; Source: Diego Delso_wikimedia.org
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Interior View of Aliaga House; Source: Watana_flickr.com

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5. Iglesia de Las Nazarenas

The church of religious importance and historic tale also displays a strong architectural character with a simple external façade and highly ornamental style of interiors with curves, asymmetry and the usage of white and pastel colors representing Rococo style of Architecture.

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Exterior View of Iglesia de Las Nazarenas; Source: Fer Perez_flickr.com
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Interior View of Iglesia de Las Nazarenas; Source: Jim De Mauro_inspirock.com
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Exterior View of Iglesia de Las Nazarenas; Source: Agnes Riveria_lonelyplanet.com

6. Museo de la Nacion (National Museum)

The city’s largest museum is a knowledge bank of the archeological data of Peru’s ancient culture and lifestyle. One can visit the museum to understand the progression of the urban built environment through various periods – Pre-Hispanic, Chavin culture, Huari civilization and Inca Period.

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Views of artifacts displayed at the National Museum
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Exterior View of National Museum at Lima; Source: Roger Haro_en.wikipedia.org
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Interior View of National Museum at Lima; Source: david.selo_flickr.com

7. Cerro San Cristóbal

The 200 m high hill is part of the Andes mountain range and has a 20 m high monumental Latin cross structure of religious importance, made of concrete and iron. On the way to the hillcrest, the colorful homes along it merge with the mountain landscape. A spectacular view of the city along with the Pacific Ocean can be witnessed from the hilltop.

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Panoramic View at the Hill Top of Cerro San Cristobal; Source: Gaby Fil_flickr.com
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View of Cerro San Cristobal Hill; Source: Sophia R_flickr.com
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View of Cerro San Cristobal, with residence placed along the hill

 8. Barranco

Lima’s arts district represents its Bohemian style of 19th and 20th-century architecture with vibrant streetscapes, mural walls and buildings that contrast with its surroundings. The smallest district in Lima is home to many artists, who flock here seeking inspiration at various cafes, galleries, theatres, etc. Barranco is a perfect example of how streets can be used as a public space with its main square dotted with fountains, statues, artworks, market places and street performers.

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View showcasing Mural Walls at Barranco, Lima; Source: Carmen_flickr.com
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Street View at Barranco, Lima; Source: Mauro Astalfi_flickr.com
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View of typical Barranco Buildings at Lima; Source: civitatis.com.com

9. Park of Legends Zoo

The park’s unique feature successfully combines archeology and bio-diversity, with a showcase of the flora and fauna of Peru built on the ruins of the ancient city complex. The animals are placed in three sections which are inspired by the three different landscapes of Peru: Coastal, Mountains and Forest.

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Various landscape elements at the Park of Legends Zoo
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View of Archeological Site of Maranga, the ancient remains of city complex: Source: limacitykings.com
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View of landscape elements at Park of Legends zoo; Source: limacitykings.com

10. Larcomar

An open shopping center located at Miraflores district at Lima combines entertainment, fashion and gastronomy. The fact that it is placed at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean makes it an exemplar commercial complex that has made the best use of the site context.

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View of Larcomar Commercial Complex at the Cliff Edge, Commercial complex designed like an open plaza which visually connects the Ocean below; Source: Jorge Cadillo Navarro_flickr.com
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View of Vibrant Commercial Centre at Larcomar; Source: Cedric MEURENS_flickr.com
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Exterior View at Larcomar Commercial Complex; Source: Connikka_flickr.com

11. El Malecon

A part of the Miraflores district consisting of several parks linearly arranged, is located at the edge of the cliff and is sandwiched between the ocean on one side and high-rise modern buildings on the other. The landscape offers pathways for jogging, cycling and various social activities like yoga, sports, etc.  It is a perfect place for paragliding where one can experience an aerial view of the city.

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View of Green Corridor along the coastline at El Malecon; Source: Peru Tours Concierge_facebook.com
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Aerial View of Green Corridor sandwiched between the sea and the high-rise buildings
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Nodal points created along the pathway helps in generating activities and keeps the place vibrant. View of Walkway at El Malecon; Source: Greg Vaughn_gettyimages.com

12. Huaca Pucllana

In the midst of the concrete jungle of modernized Peruvian buildings of Miraflores, lies a contrasting seven-tiered pyramidal structure which was once a building of importance acting as a ceremonial and administrative center. The adobe and clay brick structure has withstood thousands of years due to its earthy dry climate.

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View of the Ancient Pyramidal Structure at Huaca Pucllana; Source: Munir Squires_flickr.com
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View at Huaca Pucllana; Source: Anny Pino_flickr.com
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View at Huaca Pucllana; Source: Heinrich Gomph_flickr.com

13. Park of the Reserve

Originally built during the late 1920s, the park upgraded in the year 2007 with the construction of the “Magical Circuit”, which is the largest fountain complex in the world comprising of 13 fountains. One can experience the neo-classical influence of landscape design with colorful fountains acting as focal points.

View of colorful fountains at the Park of Reserve; Source: perutraveltrips.org
View of Fountains at Park of Reserve; Source: perutraveltrips.org
View at Park of Reserve
View at Park of Reserve; Source: perutravels.org

14. Plaza San Martín

The public square is surrounded by structures of grandeur with simplistic geometric forms, dramatic columns and blank walls- all elements of European Neoclassical Architecture. Street plays, festivals, exhibitions, music performances and various other activities make the place vibrant and active.

View of the Plaza space used for Public events and gatherings
View of the Plaza space used for Public events and gatherings
Aerial View of Plaza San Martin
Aerial View of Plaza San Martin; Source: Hector Becerra_pinterest.com
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View of Plaza San Martin used a space for Public events; Source: limacitykings.com

15. Larco Museum

This museum housed in a former mansion with a plain white exterior as a picturesque backdrop for vibrant flower gardens is known for its collection of textile, ceramic and other precious metal artifacts. The key feature of this museum is the access to its storage area where one can access artifacts that are not displayed.

View of Plaza San Martin used a space for Public events
View of Plaza San Martin used a space for Public events; Source: limacitykings.com
View displaying Pre – Columbian artifacts at Larco Museum; Source: Shane Sherman_flickr.com
View displaying Pre- Columbian artifacts at Larco Museum; Source: Max Girin_flickr.com
Author

Pavana Rao A is an Architect and an Urban Designer by profession who values the concept of people-centric designs. With a mindset to broaden her horizon, she also aims to explore and express the field of Architecture through the medium of writing. 

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