A Little Visit to Lima, Peru

25 Mar

Our cruise only stopped for a short time in Lima, so we had an abbreviated, but informative tour of Colonial Lima. 

First I must say that due to the flooding and extensive rain in the Andes, Lima has no portable water. The Rimac River is filled with the mud and filth a flood brings, and so the city is working to get the water treatment plants back on line.

The Rimac River March 24, 2017

When you arrive by cruise ship, you actually arrive in the port area of Callao. Very industrial and looking a bit derelict. Our guide told us that people do not finish their homes all the way, as long as it is not finished they do not have to pay full taxes. Hence many homes have no stucco or an uncompleted top floor. 

Not quite completed buildings in Callao

Then there is the traffic of this large South American city. It does not matter, seeing the Colonia area was worth the ride. 

Our first stop was the original campus of the University of San Marcos. The first university in the Americas, this school was ‘public,’ a student only had to be from a royal family, a good Catholic, be the result of a legal, church approved marriage, and past a grammar test in Spanish and Latin. Oh one student ever got in who was illegitimate, and he was very important to the history of Peru. 

The University was first the school for Jesuit priests. When they were banished from the country, the government took it over. Although the outside is unimpressive, the beautiful courtyards and rooms inside are lovely! 

The exterior of the San Marcos University

The Law School courtyard

Next stop, San Pedro Church, which is not a museum, rather an active congregation. We saw people giving confession and praying. So a quiet exploration is important. We learned that this is the church the upper crust of Lima still uses for its weddings and baptisms.  Inside is lovely with its gold painted arches, ceramic tiled walls and majestic wooden alters. 

A ceramic wall in the church.

My favorite niche altar.

From the church we walked to the main plaza, Plaza Mayor.  We learned that this was the original site of the native Inca outpost.  Where the temple had been, the Spanish destroyed it and built a church. When the leader lived, his home was destroyed and the conquering Spanish built the home of Pissarro. 

Due to earthquakes the two towers were replaced on this church in the Plaza Mayor.

We also saw a home with the lovely wooden balconies. And another building that served as the listening post for agents of the inquisition. They would stand inside screened, wooden balconies, unseen, and listen. If they disliked someone they would haul them off to another building where they would torture them into confessing. I do not like the inquisition. A distant ancestor of mine was burned in Portugal as a heretic in 1618. And it is a shame that the Spanish brought the Inquisition with them to the Americas. 

The final item I found unusual or exceptional was how the local people are just building on the foothills of the Andes with no concern of earthquakes. A hill called St Christopher’s hill truly was intriguing.  

Houses just built into the hill helter skelter

There is much more to see, I just showed our highlights. But definitely was a wonderful experience. 

2 Responses to “A Little Visit to Lima, Peru”

  1. thegenealogygirl March 27, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    Wow, some really beautiful places!

    • zicharon March 27, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

      Yes. Each city is so different!

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