From Academic Kids

This article is about Lima, Peru. For other places, people and things named "Lima", see Lima (disambiguation).

Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru. It is the cultural, industrial, financial, and transport hub of the country. The city is located in a valley fed by the Rímac River, on the country's desert coast and adjacent to the Pacific port of Callao. Founded by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro, Lima is also known as the City of Kings. For more than three centuries, Lima was the most important city and the greatest metropolis in South America. More than four centuries have passed since its founding as a Spanish city, and Lima has become a symbol of Peru's mestizo heritage, with nearly one-third of the nation's population living in it. The city covers most of the Lima and Callao Metropolitan Area.

City of Lima
Ciudad de Lima
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Coat of arms of Lima, Peru

City coat of arms
Also called: "La Ciudad de los Reyes"
("The City of Kings")
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Location of Lima in Peru

Founded January 18, 1535
Subdivisions 43 districts
Mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio
Area 2,664.67 km²
 - Total
 - Density

8 043 521 (2004 estimate)
3 019/km²
Time zone UTC/GMT-5
Template:Coor dms
Official website:


The city was founded by conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, naming it Ciudad de los Reyes for its founding at Epiphany. Lima, its original name, however persisted. It is uncertain where the name originated, but it is thought that it derives from the Aymara word lima-limaq, (yellow flower) or from Quechuan rimaq (talking). In the oldest Spanish maps of Peru, both Lima and Ciudad de los Reyes can be seen together as the names of the city.

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San Francisco de Asís Church

Lima became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, which encompassed nearly all of Spain's possessions in South America during the colonial era (mid 1500s to early 1800s). The city's cultural importance was contested perhaps only by Bogotá, and its architecture and political importance in Latin America were equalled only by Mexico City.

In 1746, most of the city was destroyed in an earthquake.

In 1997, the Japanese embassy hostage crisis took place in Lima, an affair which received global media attention. It ended on April 22, 1997 when Peruvian Armed Forces commandos stormed the building to rescue the seventy-two hostages. One hostage died of a heart attack, two soldiers were killed, and all fourteen rebels were slain.

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1888 German map of Lima and Callao


Lima is among the world's most populated cities. Political and economic instability during the latter half of the twentieth century created unprecedented poverty and violence in the rural highlands, forcing thousands of campesinos to migrate to Lima looking for work and a better life. Today, some of these people live in shantytowns, locally known as pueblos jóvenes, many of which lack such basic services as electricity and running water.

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Lima metropolitan area from space, March 2005

Geography and climate

Lima is located in the Sechura desert, in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers. With an area of 2,672.28 km², it is the second largest city in the world located in a desert, after Cairo.

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Cathedral of Lima

Due to the Humboldt Current, Lima has a temperate climate, but is shrouded in fog seven months a year. The temperatures in the summer rarely rise above 30°C, while in winter temperatures almost never fall below 10°C. The sky is nearly always overcast. Lima gets virtually no rain.


The city has the largest concentration of higher-education institutions in the country. The Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, founded on May 12 1551, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas and one of the most prestigious in Peru; the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú the oldest private university (established on 1917) and the most respected private academic institution of the country, as do some specialized institutions, such as the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería. (See also: List of universities in Peru)


Lima has substantial textile, paper, paint, and food products industries.

Modern Lima

In recent decades, Lima has rapidly expanded and the city has seen much unregulated development. In the last decade, air pollution has risen to alarming levels, as no restrictions are allowed on the age or efficiency of motor vehicles. Leaded petrol is still widely used.

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San Isidro, Lima's financial district

Most of the better hotels and other tourist destinations are located in the upscale neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro. These modern and cosmopolitan districts sharply contrast with the shanty towns that cling to hillsides at the north and south ends of Lima.

The "Estadio Monumental "U"", located in Lima, is Peru's largest and most modern stadium; it seats eighty-thousand spectators.

Founded by José de San Martín, Peru's oldest and most important library, the National Library of Peru is located in downtown Lima. As it has suffered wars and earthquakes throughout history, a new location for the library is being built in the San Borja district and is scheduled to be finished in early 2006. This modernization program aspires to turn the library into one of Latin America's most modern libraries.


  • Lima has an extensive bus system, which connects all of Lima's main streets and avenues. These buses are commonly known as micros or combis. Although very cheap and convenient (they stop virtually everywhere), they are often poorly mantained and the smaller buses run at excessive speeds.
  • Taxis vary in quality of service and price. They can be stopped at any street, or private taxi companies can be called to pick up passengers at a certain address.
  • Numerous inter-urban bus companies offer transportation to other cities in Peru. Quality varies depending on the price, from luxury express buses to uncomfortable and crowded micros.

See: Public transport in Lima

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Government Palace

Tourist attractions

The Historical Center of Lima, located in downtown Lima and the Rímac District, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 due the large number of historical buildings dating from the Spanish colonial era, a small number of which have now been restored. In particular, the monumental Plaza de Armas, with the 16th century Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, and the catacombs of the Convento de San Francisco are popular with visitors.

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Torre Tagle Palace, built in 1735

Several sections of the Lima City Walls can still be seen. These fine examples of Spanish medieval fortification were used to defend Lima from attacks from pirates and corsairs.

The city also has a number of fine museums, notably the National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology, and History and the Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum, both in the Pueblo Libre district.

Many small beaches, which are heavily visited during the summer months, are located by the southern Pan-American Highway. The most well-known ones are located in the districts of Santa María del Mar, Punta Hermosa, Punta Negra, San Bartolo and Pucusana. Also, the district of Ancón, located north of the city, has a very popular beach resort. Numerous restaurants, clubs and hotels have been opened in these places to serve the many beachgoers. The beaches in Lima itself are not suitable for swimming because the city's sewage is dumped raw into the ocean.

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Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro statue on Lima City Walls park.

The suburbs of Chosica and Cieneguilla provide attractive green landscapes at a short distance from the city. Because of their elevation (> 500 meters), the sun shines in these areas even during winter and hence they are visited by residents of Lima to escape from the winter fog.

Recently, the Palomino Islands near the port of Callao have attracted visitors due to a population of sea lions.

For the tourist with nerves of steel the colourful "Mercado Central" should not be missed. Don't take anything of value with you, pickpockets abound!

Situated in Monterrico, the gold museum, together with the even more interesting textile museum. Here can be seen almost perfectly preserved thousand year old garments and feathered capes recovered from the waterless deserts of Western Peru. Also in the same building, an arms museum with a huge range of antique Spanish firearms.

Political division

The Lima Province is divided into forty-three districts (Spanish: distritos; singular: distrito), each of which is headed by a mayor (alcalde).

See also: Lima Province#Political division Template:Districts of Lima

External links


ca:Lima da:Lima, Peru de:Lima es:Lima fr:Lima (Pérou) io:Lima id:Lima, Peru hu:Lima nl:Lima nds:Lima ja:リマ no:Lima pl:Lima (miasto) pt:Lima (Peru) fi:Lima sv:Lima (Peru) zh:利马


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