Today is the anniversary of my native city, Lima the City of Kings. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima 477 years ago a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean on the banks of the Rimac River close to an Indian village. Lima was fully named "Lima the City of Kings" due to the closeness of its founding to the Feast of the Epiphany and also in honor of the Catholic kings of recently unified Spain, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabelle of Castille.
In 1537 the city was granted the seal above which contains the imperial eagles of Emperor Charles V of Spain as well as the star of Bethlehem with crowns for the three kings. Lima became one the most important cities in the Spanish colonial empire serving as the seat of government for the Viceroyalty of Peru and the Spanish Inquisition as well as a center of trade with both Europe and Manila.
Main Square, end of 1872
Walled Downtown Lima. Walls were built in 1684 for protection against English pirate attacks, demolished in 1868 and only a few sections remain today.
In the last fifty years, Lima has grown from a small, predominantly European city to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. The last census records a population of 8,472,935 in metropolitan Lima, about one-third of the population of Peru. The metropolitan area is comprised of 49 independently governed contiguous districts, six of which belong to the Province of Callao, Lima's harbor. Almost 900,000 of that population live in a single district, San Juan de Lurigancho.
Miraflores District by the Pacific Ocean
Golf Club, San Isidro District
San Isidro District, Lima's financial center
Downtown, Cathedral and Archbishop's Palace
USA Today qualified Lima as the Biggest Surprise Destination of 2011 since according to their standards, "it surpassed expectations and defied preconceived notions."
Lima is a city of contrasts. Lima is a city with an unmatched cuisine and a unique musical tradition. If you can get over the terrible traffic, it's also a very welcoming city.
Check out the video below for a good tour of the heart of the city. The Plaza 2 de Mayo which appears at 0:22 is where the Migone family settled when they arrived from Italy to Lima in the late 1800s. My grandfather and his cousins would play volleyball in the middle of the traffic circle in the early 1900s. That would be impossible today.
I hope one day you're able to visit!
***None of the pictures in this post are mine***