San Francisco Monastery and Church
Colonial churches are ubiquitous in downtown Lima and Monasterio de San Francisco is the best-preserved example. Its impressive Baroque frontage leads to an interior of spectacular altars, a splendid lattice dome, hand-carved wooden pulpits and a hallowed collection of multilingual texts dating back to the 1500s. Not for the faint hearted is a tour of the bone-lined catacombs underneath the church. Part of Lima’s original cemeteries, housing an estimated 75,000 bodies, the bones are laid out in eerie shapes and patterns.
Built on the site of a pre-Columbian temple and housed in a former mansion, Mueso Larco displays a host of Peruvian relics, including mummies, revealing how the Incas and other historic civilisations lived. Alongside the many ceramics, textiles and other artefacts, is a rather unusual collection of erotic pots. These somehow survived being smashed by the deeply religious Spanish conquerors, notoriously offended by the explicit nature of such works.
The Government Palace
The daily changing of the palace guards takes place at noon at the majestic Government Palace on the Rimac River. The official residence of Peru’s president, the site was also the home of the last Inca chief in Lima before becoming Spanish conqueror, Francisco Pizarro’s 16th century settlement. Bestowed with the intricately carved wooden balconies famous in the downtown area, it sits on the north side of the Plaza de Armas, Lima's central square. The square is also home to the Cathedral of Lima, the adjoining Archbishop's Palace and Municipal Palace.
Lima boasts an array of historic ruins and Huaca Pucllana, an ancient adobe clay pyramid, found in the residential and upmarket Miraflores district. It is estimated to have been built in around 500AD by the Lima culture, a Pre-Incan coastal civilisation. Beautifully illuminated by night, visitors can dine in at its celebrated restaurant.
Lima’s famed gastronomic delights showcase the diverse Peruvian culinary traditions that have cemented its reputation as South America’s foodie capital. Employing ingredients from the ocean, Amazon and the Andes, fused with local and Asian influences, cuisine ranges from Peru’s national dish, ceviche, to sánguche (traditional Peruvian sandwiches), and can be enjoyed as street food or in gourmet restaurants throughout the city, especially in the stylish Miraflores district.
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Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
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