When you think about Peru the first things that come out to everyone's mind is Machu Picchu, The Nazca Lines, Ceviche, Cuzco and LLAMAS… Especially llamas.
But there is a place that usually does not come to people´s mind, even though is the capital of Peru, and that is my city: Lima.
I consider myself a Limaddict. I am crazy about my city and I am willing to make people crazy about Lima too. I do not expect anyone to move here, but at least to spend a couple of days before or after your usual trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
Sure, is really hard for my city to compete with an ancient archaeological structure built in the middle of the mountains which is considered a world wonder. Or against impressive figures in the middle of the dessert that never erase even with the pass of several centuries.
Thus, I am here to share why Lima is one of the most amazing places to visit during any trip to Peru. We have many things to share: an amazing coastline, wonderful beaches, delicious places to eat, several cultural activities, historical sites, unbelievable landscapes, its also the city with most MUN activity in Peru and we even have a park filled with cats that live in the wild without owners.
Not kidding, its actually true, but we will leave that for a further post. Now, let me tell you a little about the history of Lima.
Before the Spanish came to what is today known as Lima, some few ancient civilizations lived in its territory; and even though these civilizations were later conquered by the Inkas and eventually disappear, their archaeological legacy blends perfectly with a city committed to never forget its ancestors.
Later, when the Spanish came to this territory, they founded the "The
City of Kings" in the year 1535 in a region called “Limaq” by
the natives that lived there at the moment. The location was handpicked by Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, strategically placing the city close to a coast to build a port and surrounded by rivers and fertile lands. He even placed the first stone of Lima, according to history books.
Francisco Pizarro did not know at the time, but they later found out that Lima had a blessed location at the center of the South American coast, which made the city the most important city between the Spanish colonies, the center of the commerce of the Spanish Empire in South America and the main link between the old world and the new one.
Other thing Pizarro did not know, was that Lima likes to shake a little, and she may not be a frequent shaker, but when she does, she really shakes it. Several earthquakes destroyed the city during its colonial history, but Limeños manage to get used to them and started building the city acknowledging that fact. Today, well, we are used to the usual tremor.
After Peruvians proclaimed its independence, Lima became the capitol of Peru and since then, the city has grown enormously. Lima today is home to almost 10 million Peruvians, many of them are descendants from immigrants from different parts of the world; reason why Lima it’s also called "The city where all bloods melt".
In your next visit to Lima you will understand how, instead of being divided by different traditions, local traditions and the ones from the immigrants from different parts of the world have mixed to create our culture: The Peruvian culture. Specially in the table, where an extravagant mix from Asia, the Jungle and the Andes will blow your palate away.
But we we will talk about food in another post.