Following our time at the museum, we ventured into the historical district.
In many ways the city looks like any other modern, urban city.
But there are districts of abject poverty as well. These buildings are very pretty on the outside, except for the graffiti, but many are empty shells inside and where once a single family lived in a palace, now 20 families live and share a single bathroom.
One of the many plazas, the Plaza San Martin
Lima has been known as the City of Kings, City of Gardens and even City of Balconies. Lima was founded and organized by the Spanish, but the balconies reflect the Moorish influence. The balconies were enclosed so the women could see out, but people on the streets could not see in, thereby maintaining the Moorish tradition of women not being seen except by family.
As time went by, the covered opening on the balconies were replaced with glass.
And eventually, balconies become completely open, which is how most balconies are built today.
Basilica and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy held the first mass in 1534 in the orginal wooden structure, before Lima was officially founded. The current church was built in 1591.
Although as noted by the date in this picture, some parts were added later.
I like the Inca Sun God figure above the seated Saint. Peruvians are 85% catholic, yet they infuse their native culture of animism into their daily religious lives.
Looking across the Plaza Mayor is the Cathedral of Lima, building started in 1535, and most of the current buildings were added in the 17th century. I learned only Cathedrals are allowed to have three doors.
This is the inside of the smaller chapel next to the Cathedral. The inside of the Cathedral is a museum during the day (and they charge) and pictures are not allowed.
As the group was preparing to return to Miraflores for lunch and back to the hotel, several of us decided to stay in the historical area, have lunch and dinner downtown and return by taxi to the hotel later that night.
This is the three musketeers who dared to defy the group schedule. R-L is Cynthia, Jean (my roommate on the tour) and myself.
We proceeded to continue to wander and explore. This is the Church and Convent of Santa Domingo.
Around the Plaza Mayor were horse drawn carriages for the tourists.
The restaurant we went to for dinner is run by nuns and they sing the Ava Maria every evening at the close of the meal.
There is also a train/tram you can catch at the Plaza Mayor too.
We were supposed to see the Church and Convent of San Francisco as part of our earlier tour, but because we spent so much time at the museum, there was no time for exploring this church. By the time we found the church it was closed except for a private function. The church building was started in 1673 and completed in 1774.
The Church and Convent San Pedro was built by the Jesuits in the 17th Century. It also has three doors, but is not officially a cathedral. Before a cathedral can be built, it is supposed to be approved by the Pope. The Jesuits built the church with the three doors before gaining approval, and then were turned down for a cathedral because one already existed in Lima. It may be the only catholic church with three doors which is not a cathedral.
Inside the Church and Convent San Pedro
Looking across the Plaza Mayor at the Presidential Palace. Plaza Mayor is the oldest public plaza in Lima. Lima was founded on an the site of an existing indigenous settlement by Conquistador Francisco Pizarro.
This fountain in the center of Plaza Mayor replaced the original fountain in 1651.
My next blog will start my adventure to the Amazon River Basin.