Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Lima, Peru May, 2013

We visited three sites in Lima - a very unusual city - that gave us a sense of its history and development.  Our first stop was at the Pacific Ocean - on which the Park of Love is perched.  The lovely place sits atop the cliffs of Chorrillos right at the ocean.  The park is set on several levels ultimately leading down to the beach.  One of its highlights is a series of mosaic tiles in several low walls, used to write romantic quotes.  A multi-coloured creation inspired by the great Gaudi of Barcelona and his beautiful Parc Guell.
The park is also full of glorious flower beds lining the stairs at each level.  The park's most inspiring element is a large elevated sculpture.  The Kiss, created by Victor Delfin in 1993, is the primary focus of the park both for the size of the piece and its title.  All the various parts of the park work hand in hand to make this experience a very welcoming, romantic atmosphere.

Playa Mayor provided some history of Lima - this is the main square and the birthplace of the city.  With a beautiful fountain in its centre, the plaza is surrounded by important buildings - the Cathedral of Lima, the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop's Palace and City Hall.  What is most interesting about this site is the variety of architecture.  Each side of the square seems to have been influenced by a different period.

Cathedral of Lima

Our most fascinating stop was at the Monastery of San Francisco - a structure designed in the high Spanish Baroque style, completed in 1774.  The monastery is devoted to the founder of the Dominican order, St. Francis of Assisi, with some 60 monks continuing to live on the premises.  In the public areas ('cause that's all I could see), one can view paintings by both local and European painters of the Mannerist style depicting the life of St. Francis.  Surrounding the courtyard are walls of hand painted tiles where azure blue and sunshine yellow dominate.  The monastery's most significant offering is the Museo de Catacombs.  Below the church itself are preserved catacombs, still housing femurs and skulls of centuries of believers.  Disturbingly, this is also where secret tunnels lead to what was a Tribunal of the Inquisition.  Unfortunately, no photographs are allowed so I am unable to provide evidence of my visit.

this is the entrance to the church itself

Lima is a fascinating city with numerous influences both from other places in South America as well as the rest of the world.  The people are most welcoming and they are eager to expose you to the delights of their metropolis - they are very proud of what Lima has to offer.  If you ever get the chance to travel here, take it!

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