Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of almost 10 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the second-largest city in the Americas (as defined by “city proper”), behind São Paulo and before Mexico City.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as Ciudad de los Reyes. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Around one-third of the national population lives in the metropolitan area.
Lima is home to one of the oldest higher-learning institutions in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on May 12, 1551 during the Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.
In October 2013 Lima was chosen to host the 2019 Pan American Games. It also hosted the December 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Miss Universe 1982 pageant.
In October 2015 Lima hosted the 2015 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.
Lima has a developed tourism industry, characterized by its historic center, archeological sites, nightlife, museums, art galleries, festivals and traditions. Lima is home to restaurants and bars serving local and international cuisine.
The Historic Centre, made up of the districts of Lima and Rímac, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 Some examples of colonial architecture include the Monastery of San Francisco, the Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral, Convent of Santo Domingo and the Palace of Torre Tagle.
A tour of the city’s churches is a popular circuit. A trip through the central district visits churches dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, the most noteworthy of which are the Cathedral and the Monastery of San Francisco, said to be connected by subterranean catacombs. Both contain paintings, Sevilian tile and sculpted wood furnishings.
Also notable is the Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas, the point of origin for the Lord of Miracles, whose festivities in the month of October constitute the city’s most important religious event. Some sections of the Walls remain and are frequented by tourists. These examples of medieval Spanish fortifications were built to defend the city from attacks by pirates and privateers.
Beaches are visited during the summer months, located along the Pan-American Highway, to the south of the city in districts such as Lurín, Punta Hermosa, Santa María del Mar (Peru), San Bartolo, Miraflores beach and Asia.
The suburban districts of Cieneguilla, Pachacamac and the city of Chosica, are tourist attractions among locals. Because they are located at a higher elevation than Lima, they receive more sunshine in winter months, something that the city and frequently lacks under seasonal fog
Lima is known as the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas. A center of immigration and the center of the Spanish Viceroyalty, chefs incorporated dishes brought by the conquistadors and waves of immigrants: African, European, Chinese and Japanese. Since the second half of the 20th century, international immigrants were joined by internal migrants from rural areas. Lima cuisines include Creole food, Chifas, Cebicherias and Pollerias.
In 2007, the Peruvian Society for Gastronomy was born with the objective of uniting Peruvian gastronomy to put together activities that would promote Peruvian food and reinforce the Peruvian national identity. The society, called APEGA, gathered chefs, nutritionists, institutes for gastronomical training, restaurant owners, chefs and cooks, researchers and journalists. They worked with universities, food producers, artisanal fishermen and sellers in food markets.One of their first projects (2008) was to create the largest food festival in Latin America, called Mistura (“mixture” in Portuguese). The fair takes place in September every year. The number of attendees has grown from 30,000 to 600,000 in 2014 The fair congregates restaurants, food producers, bakers, chefs, street vendors and cooking institutes from for ten days to celebrate excellent food.
Since 2011, several Lima restaurants have been recognized as among The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
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In 2016, Central was awarded #4 (chefs Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon), Maido was awarded #13 (chef Mitsuharu Tsumura) and Astrid & Gaston was awarded #30 (chef Diego Muñoz and owned by chef Gaston Acurio). In addition, Central was named #1 restaurant in the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015. Out of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America, we find: Central #1, Astrid & Gaston #3, Maido #5, La Mar #12, Malabar #20, Fiesta #31, Osso Carnicería y Salumería #34, La Picanteria #36 and Rafael #50. These restaurants fuse ideas from across the country and the world.
Lima is home to the country’s highest concentration of museums, most notably the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, Museum of Art, the Museo Pedro de Osma, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the Nation, The Sala Museo Oro del Perú Larcomar, the Museum of Italian Art the Museum of Gold and the Larco Museum. These museums focus on art, Pre-Columbian cultures, natural history, science and religion. The Museum of Italian Art shows European art.
Lima’s architecture offers a mix of styles. Examples of early colonial architecture include the Monastery of San Francisco, the Cathedral and the Torre Tagle Palace. These constructions are generally influenced by Spanish Baroque, Spanish Neoclassical and Spanish Colonial styles. After independence, preferences gradually shifted toward neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles. Many of these works were influenced by French architectural styles. Many government buildings and major cultural institutions were constructed in this period. During the 1960s, the brutalist style began appearing in Lima due to the military government of Juan Velasco Alvarado. Examples of this architecture include the Museum of the Nation and the Ministry of Defense. The early 21st century added glass skyscrapers, particularly around the financial district.
The largest parks are near the downtown area, including the Park of the Reserve, Park of the Exposition, Campo de Marte and University Park. The Park of the Reserve is home to the largest fountain complex in the world known as the Magical Circuit of Water. Many large parks lie outside the city center, including Reducto Park, Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge, El Golf (San Isidro), Parque de las Leyendas (Lima Zoo), El Malecon de Miraflores and the Golf Los Incas.
The street grid is laid out with a system of plazas that are similar to roundabouts or junctions. In addition to this practical purpose, plazas serve as principal green spaces and contain monuments, statues and water fountains.