Lima Old Town (World Heritage)

Lima was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro as “Ciudad de los Reyes”, City of Kings, and advanced to become the most important city of the Spanish colonial empire in South America. Notorious was the inquisition of the Catholic Church, which set up a machine of repression against indigenous culture here. The Franciscan monastery with its three churches is one of the largest church complexes in Latin America. Pizarro’s coffin is in the cathedral. The first university on the American continent was founded in Lima in 1551.

Lima Old Town: Facts

Official title: Franciscan monastery and old town of Lima
Cultural monument: »Ciudad de los Reyes«, among others. with the church of San Agustín, the Palacio de Torre Tagle, built in the style of Andalusian palaces, and the monastery of San Francisco with a three-aisled baroque church
Continent: America
Country: Peru
Location: Lima, on the Pacific and on the Río Rimac
Appointment: 1988, expanded 1991
Meaning: the “City of Kings” as the most important city of the Spanish colonial empire in South America and there the largest monastery on the continent, the Convento de San Francisco

Old City of Lima: History

1532 Landing of Spanish Conquistadores in Peru
January 18, 1535 The city was founded by the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro
1541 Francisco Pizarro is assassinated
1551 Foundation of the first university in South America (Universidad de San Marcos)
1565 Establishment of the coin
1596-1627 Construction of the Santuario de Santa Rosa de Lima
1735 Completion of the Palacio de Torre Tagle
1746 Destruction of the cathedral by earthquake
1758 Reconstruction of the cathedral
1771 Inauguration of the Casa de Goyoneche
07/12/1821 Troops under the command of the freedom fighter José de San Martín enter Lima
07/28/1821 Independence of Peru
1881-83 Occupation by Chilean troops in the »Saltpeter War«
1938 Construction of the neoclassical Palacio de Gobierno
1985 On the occasion of the Pope’s visit, the exterior of the cathedral was painted yellow

Wooden balconies and bone mosaics

For fans of jet-black curiosities, the path in Lima’s old town leads first of all to macabre mosaics underground: to the catacombs of the magnificent Convento de San Francisco, which was built during the heyday of Spanish colonization. Up until the construction of the large municipal cemetery at the beginning of the 19th century, tens of thousands of people found their final resting place there, initially exclusively clergy, later also ordinary mortals of all classes. The poorer citizens, wrapped in simple blankets, were buried in round mass graves. Today is a sight that robust visitors find dead chic and the most sensitive of them as tasteless and disrespectful. In the large burial places, skulls and bones were draped in decorative, circular and radial patterns.

A three-aisled baroque church is attached to the Convento de San Francisco, which began in 1542 and was rebuilt after a tragic earthquake in the 17th century. The decorative tiles in the cloister come from the Andalusian Seville, the cedar wood of the baroque choir stalls from Panama. The library comprises a valuable collection of 6,000 parchments and 25,000 leather-bound books, some of which are extremely fragile.

It was at the beginning of 1535 on Lima’s today’s Plaza de Armas when the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro is said to have carved the division of the city into the dusty ground with his sword. Pizarro, who comes from Extremadura, had a brilliant rise, from pig keeper to an iron disciplined soldier to captain general of the Peru to be conquered according to thesciencetutor. Three years before this legendary city was founded, he landed with a crowd of around 200 adventurers in what is now northern Peruvian Tumbes, had the Inca ruler Atahualpa executed in Cajamarca and moved to Cuzco, the “navel of the world” of the Inca, in 1533. Two years later, a capital of the Conquistadores with access to the sea was found: The new heart of the South American Empire was first named »Ciudad de los Reyes«, “City of Kings”. From their port of El Callao, the silver-laden sailors soon set out for Spain.

Pizarro itself brought little luck to the city. It turned out to be a fatal mistake that he had not only got the Indians out of the way, but also the co-conqueror and potential competitor for power in the »gold country«, Diego de Almagro. Followers of Almagro murdered Francisco Pizarro six years after the city was founded in his house in Lima. He is remembered by a statue in the large, somewhat sober-looking Plaza de Armas and a chapel in the cathedral, which was destroyed by an earthquake in the first half of the 18th century and supposedly contains his remains.

A number of mansions testify to the colonial wealth of the metropolis of Lima, above all the Palacio de Torre Tagle, built around 1735 and named after the treasurer of the royal fleet in El Callao. The two wooden balconies facing the street are particularly beautiful with their massive elegance and the stone portal with the family coat of arms of those of Torre Tagle.

Numerous convents and churches stand for almighty Catholicism, such as the Convento de Santo Domingo, built in the 16th century, the Santuario de Santa Rosa de Lima, the sanctuary in honor of Isabel Flores de Oliva, who worked for the vulnerable, the Jesuit Church of San Pedro from the 17th century with rich baroque retables and the Iglesia de San Agustín with its facade in the style of Churriguerism. How the “unbelievers” fared up to 1813, however, is clearly demonstrated by the Inquisition Museum with its eerie wax museum. In the name of the Lord it was above all the Dominican monks who knew no mercy and did not shrink from shoving small cauldrons with glowing coals under the soles of the feet of their shackled torture victims.

Lima Old Town (World Heritage)