Plaza de Armas – a must-see. Plaza de Armas roots can be traced to the Spanish King, Charles I. Plaza de Armas is the heart of Lima, the capitol of Peru. In 1535, the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, founded the New World’s capitol, originally known as Ciudad de los Reyes. When creating the city plan he followed King Charles’s instructions in building a square to be called Plaza de Armas.
Plaza de Armas (also known as Plaza de Mayor) today is historic center of the overflowing Lima. It is a wide-open square anchored by a large fountain with palm trees dotting the stone pavement. Visitors will note the excessive police security in the area with a multitude of uniform variations. I have to give credit to the police for being very camera friendly. The Plaza is home to many protestors; hence, the additional security.
Many stately buildings surround the square, the most prominent being the Government Palace. The original, a modest two-story structure, dates to 1535, while the current version was completed in the 1930s. The president makes his home here currently. A large esplanade is protected by a black iron wrought gate in front of the Palace. There is a daily “changing of the guard”. It is one the most elaborate ceremonies I have witnessed including a large military band, playing several songs.
Perpendicular to the Palace is the Basilica Cathedral of Lima, a Roman Catholic cathedral. Construction began in 1535, when Pizarro laid the first stone. The basilica contains the tomb of Pizarro.
Also found at this UNESCO site is the Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, next to the Basilica. The stand-out feature of this home, is the magnificent and ornate balcony, which found its inspiration in Spain.
Also, when in Peru, make sure you check out the incredible wildlife of the Amazon.