Lima is the capital of...
As the political, economic and cultural centre of the country, inhabited by eight million of people, Lima is a chaotic hub totally insane for guests. Cars for hours stuck in traffic jams, which are transformed into bazaars; buses here and there dive under the ground, because local soils do not allow to build a subway; and glass skyscrapers of business districts reflect vibrant favellas and slums. This distinctive local flavour is fading away in Argentina or Brazil, thus Peru, and therefore its capital, beckon more and more travellers. And though the capital is considered to be modern and in many respects industrial city, history and nature still tried their best, and preserved amazing monuments and landscapes to the present day.
Being a part of Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries, the settlement Lima was referred to by the people only as the City of Kings, the fame of which stretched across the globe. Largely thanks to its favourable location, the settlement grew into a major trading centre of South America. The city prospered right before eyes, turning into a very real life Eldorado for the European adventurers. The legacy of those great times is modern central district, the Old Town, amazing with luxury palaces and mansions, among which stands out the Casa de Aliaga - the oldest residential building in America. It was built back in 1535 by order of Jeronimo de Aliaga, the right hand the famous conquistador Pizarro. In addition to it, a must-visit program includes a baroque complex of St. Francisco, a home to the famous painting The Last Supper, and neighbourhoods Mirafores, Barranco and San Isidro stretched around the Plaza Mayor. They are ideal for exploring the city and studying preserved colonial architecture. The courtyards, gardens, antique markets and the largest fountain in the world, which pleases the eyes of visitors in the Park de la Reserva - all this is so toy-like and artsy, that you got lost with your thoughts in a whirl asking yourself - is it a mirage?
However, Lima is a quite a real place, and walking with your mouth wide open, can be paid with your wallet or gadgets. The capital of Peru is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of pickpockets concentration. Even the Italian city of Naples is far behind it: residents of favellas, often officially unemployed, scurry in the pockets of tourists in the centre, as if it were a regular job. Pickpocketing never stops: in broad daylight, and in front of the police. In the evening, swindlerы are more numerous than the city guests. That is why, to control the situation somehow, the municipal authorities even close a few gates in the centre, arrange checkpoints, and erect walls. So do not be surprised that at 7-8 p.m. most of promenade places are virtually deserted: except for unexperienced tourists, there is no one to meet. Residents of Lima prefer to spend evenings in the cabarets, which are very popular, so you need to book a table in advance for a couple of weeks.
Well, let's not talk about sad things, all the more in recent years Lima has becomes more comfortable and safer, that is evidenced by statistics and international experts urbanists, who are invited to work there. Indeed, without some kind of extreme and adrenaline rush, Lima’s beautiful centre would not be much different from the old and peaceful European cities. Still, travellers go to the South America in search of new thrills. Lima is worth it, let’s consider, for instance, the Peruvian cuisine which overshadows all the drawbacks of the region. The restaurants are abound with embarrassment of riches: everything is juicy, appetizing and flavourful, so we would better devote a separate article to description of the cuisine. However, we cannot help mentioning the ceviche - a favourite dish of local residents. Fish marinated in lime juice and a dozen spices, melts in mouth very quickly, but the taste will be remembered for a lifetime. In the cafés the huge portions usually cost 8-12 dollars.
Spain is felt in Lima in everything, though the most powerful manifestation is the big arena for bullfights. It is more than 250 years old, and every first Sunday of a month there is no room to swing, since everyone wants to see the bulls show. Those who are not included into 20 thousand of lucky onlookers, and could not get to the scene, shall not worry, for the capital has another unusual place for the production of adrenaline, that is Museo Metropolitano. This modern complex offers a variety of installation and scientific and technical innovations in style of virtual reality. The main crowed-puller is a cinema room made in the style of the 19th century. It broadcasts an amazing session about the earthquake. Everything is so realistic, that chandeliers drop down and floor literally goes away. Even the most sceptical attendants will not remain indifferent - very often people do not believe that it's only simulation, and forget about holding a ticket in hand, so they run out of the hall in panic.
An important place in the life of Peru and its capital, is played by the Indian culture. The city and surrounding area are packed with timeless remains of their architecture, there are even pyramids in the very centre of Lima. Therefore, many tourists prefer to leave the metropolis and go on excursions closer to nature and ocean. This, of course, is also interesting and informative, but still, it is another kind of tourism, since the theme parks, exhibition and idyllic beaches, are roughly similar to each other around the world, but the stay in the alive South American city is not confused with anything. To make sure of it, it is best to order an air tour on a paraglider and personally marvel over huge and versatile Lima with magnificent ocean landscape on its outskirts.
Cover photo perusumaq.com