Colonial center of Lima and some temples
Lima Travel Blog› entry 2 of 30 › view all entries
Lima also has an old colonial center. It has, as every South American city does, a Plaza de Armas, in other words the main square. Lima’s plaza de armas is a quite attractive one, with a big cathedral, the presidential palace and old yellow colonial buildings. The cathedral also houses the grave of the famous Pizarro who conquered the Inca empire.
Around noon every day there is a ceremonial change of the guards at the palace. With a lot of pomp a marching band exits the palace and gives quite a show. I almost expected llamas to join the band but no. At some point during the procession they play El Condor Pasa. You know, made famous by Simon & Garfunkel. Peru seems to be expecially proud of el condor pasa and you will hear it everywhere. In buses, in restaurants, on the streets...
to notice on the colonial buildings are their balconies.
Around the plaza there are many more churches, always painted in bright colors. Only the cathedral on the plaza is quite bleak. There is a red church with an impressive red towers to the left of the palace and an equally impressive bright yellow church some blocks away to the right. The yellow one is usually completely covered by pigeons.
Time for our first temple! To whet the appetite, so to say, for the next few weeks.
Back in the
Miraflores and San Isidro neighborhoods, there are two temples to be found made
by pre-Inca civilizations of about 1500 years old: Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarka.
From a distance either one of these temples looks like a runaway dune, situated
strangely in the middle of suburban surroundings. Upon approaching, I noticed
that Huaca Pucllana is not actually a dune, but a pile of adobe bricks.
The pre-Inca Lima civilization worshipped the Moon and sacrificed pale skinned 11-year old girls to it. They built a temple to do so and every leader enlarged the temple by building a new layer on top and around it. This way the brick pyramid grew and grew. The Limas had an ingenious way of building bricks that the Incas copied from them later on. They piled the bricks at an angle so the temple would be earthquake proof. In modern times, whenever there would be an earthquake, our restorations of the temple would tumble down, but the old walls just keep standing. (It must quake regularly in Peru, because in almost every building there are signs claiming the building to be an earthquake safety zone.)
By the way, they also fed on sharks.
The Huaca Huallamarka is one of the best restored pyramids in Peru but hardly anyone visits it. I must say it is a boring pyramid. It is big but we don’t know who built it. The view from the top gives a nice view over contemporary San Isidro, but you can get the same view from Huaca Pucllana.