Plaza Mayor of Lima

19:39 M.K.Orange 0 Comments



In the heart of Lima lies the Plaza Mayor this a large square and really is where Lima began, in 1523 King Charles I of Spain mandated  Procedures for the creation of cities in the New World stating that cites should be founded with a large square and grow outwards. So what will you find around this square? 



Firstly you will find the Government Palace of Peru and is one place you cannot miss. On the 18 thof January 1535 Francisco Pizarro with twelve others founded the city of Lima and with that they started work on the Government Palace which was built during the same year. At the time this building only stood two-story high and was made of adobe.   



The Palace was built over a huaca (Huacas are pre-Colombian sacred sites) that had a shrine to Taulichusco the last official to the Inca Empire in the Rimac Valley.   
This building and its location marks two historical moments in Peru, on June 26 1541 the conqueror of Peru Francisco Pizarro was assassinated in the Palace by Diego de Almagro II and on the 28 July 1821 General Jose San Martin declared independence.    
During many years this building has been modified and changed but on top of this the building has been ransacked three times (The   Almagristas - those involved in the killing of Pizarro, Chileans during the War of the Pacific- April 5, 1879 – October 20, 1883 and by the Pierolistas during the Peruvian Civil War 1894 to 1895), it has also suffered damage from approximately six earthquakes and three fires.  



Due to one fire in 1921 the building was severely damaged so the presidents then Augusto B. Leguía chose French architect Claudio Sahut to help rebuild it however, Leguía was ousted and during the time of political turmoil some parts were built but during the years of President Oscar R. Benavides the building was completed under the supervision of Ricardo de Jaxa Malachowski a Polish/Peruvian architect. 





You will then find another large building in the square known as The Basilica Cathedral of Lima (Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Merced) which was built in 1538 however; the first Cathedral was small and rustic but during many years more work and investment expanded the Cathedral till 1609 when an earthquake badly damaged it. 


Damage and restoration was a continuous right till 1940 this however gave the Cathedral a unique architectural design; here you can find elements of baroque, Gothic and Neoclassic pieces.  Also within this place you can find the final resting place of Francisco Pizarro. 
Located next to the Cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace of Lima; this is not the originally building. The original building was built 1548 however it was demolished and a new building was erected on December 8th 1924 and was designed by Ricardo de Jaxa Malachowski





This new building served for a little while as the first police headquarters and jail of Lima but Pope Paul III designated this as a holy site and this is when it became the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Lima and hosts the office to the Archbishop of Lima who currently is Juan Luis Cipriani. What you will also notice is this building is a prime example of Neo-colonial architecture that developed in Lima during the early twentieth century.  



Now looking around you will eventually find Municipal Palace of Lima just across the plaza from the Cathedral.  As with many building around the plaza this building to has been modified and changed over many years and does not look like the original Municipal Palace of Lima.  The original building was built in 1549 but due to many earthquakes 1746 and fires it was modified many times.  Although the building was damaged by fire the “Charter of Foundation of Lima” signed by Francisco Pizarro and the “Declaration of Independence” were unaffected, these documents can still be found today in the library of this Palace.  Once again we can find that Ricardo de Jaxa Malachowski lead the project and helped in the construction of a new building and was completed in 1944 and was inaugurated on 2nd of July 1944.  The municipal library within the building was opened later in 1945. 


Finally you will find a building known as El Club de Union which is an non-profit civil association that was founded on the 10th  October 1868 some of the founding members would go on to fighting in the War of the Pacific people like, Miguel Grau, Alfonso Urgarte and Francisco Bolognesi.  


Now for a little extra information right in the centre of the Plaza you will find a large fountain this fountain is also the product of many changes and it was not always like that. 
The original was constructed under the orders of Virrey Francisco de Toledo in 1578 and when constructed the fountain had a sphere on top and not the angel centrepiece you see today and this held the coats of arms of Lima.  In 1651 this was replaced under Virrey Garcia Sarmiento de Sotomayo and the angel centrepiece was placed on top however in 1900 the mayor of Lima Federico Elguera ordered the restoration of the plaza this included the fountain but when the angel was taken down it was broken by mistake. It was not until 1997 that the angel centrepiece was replaced this was decided under the suggestions of a Peruvian politician called Alberto Andrade; restoration of the fountain was undertaken by architect Jorge Orrego Vargas. The centrepiece is also known as “Angel de La Fama”, “Fama” is known in Greek/Roman mythology as a goddess “Fama”when translated to English is Pheme



As walk around the center of Lima you will find a lot of different building some going back to the colonial days and some that were built a little later on however, all show an expansive history Lima and the preservation of these buildings is important.  I recommend anyone going to visit these places to read about their history first and you will be truly amazed when you get to them.  

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