Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Central Lima and Cerro San Cristobal

Plaza de Armas

Lima's central square, Plaza de Armas, is surrounded by the city's important buildings: the presidential palace and the Cathedral.

The Presidential Palace

The Plaza has the feel of those in Spain rather than those in South America as it is completely surrounded by buildings - however the ever present traffic serves to remind you that you are in Lima.

On one side of the Plaza is the Lima Cathedral.

Lima Cathedral

There are free tours available inside the Cathedral to show its impressive chapels and tombs.

The Altar

The tomb of Fransisco Pizarro

A chapel in the Cathedral

Another Chapel

Under the church is a crypt which contains the graves of the various bishops of Lima 

The plaques marking the vaults of the Bishops

It also the graves of children whose families donated to the construction of the Cathedral.

Children's coffins in the crypt

And a very creepy ossuary.

The ossuary in Lima Cathedral

Which is in stark contrast to the ornate reliquary under which it is built.

The reliquary of St Turibius

The Cathedral is currently undergoing reconstruction after a recent earthquake, so unfortunately some of the areas were off limits to the tour, but it was still a fascinating look at the history of the Cathedral.

Back outside in the main Plaza there are several tours that take you to Cerro San Cristobal. Many tourists take taxis at S/. 50 (around $A20) but if you don't mind a crowded mini bus there are tours that get you there for a mere S/. 5 (around $A2). In addition, the bus tour gives a running commentary (in Spanish) of the various sights on the way.

Looking up towards San Cristobal

The road to the hill is extremely narrow and travels through some of the poorer suburbs of Lima.

The narrow road

Some of the less affluent suburbs of Lima

At the top of the hill is a giant cross where people pray and light candles.

The cross at the top of Cerro San Cristobal

There are also several lookouts which give a panoramic view of the city out to the ocean.

Lima, with the ocean in the distance

The trip to San Cristobal through central Lima and the views of the city from the top show just how different the affluent and touristy suburbs of Barranco and (especially) Miraflores are to central Lima and surrounds - it would be easy as a tourist to get a false impression of the city if you were merely to stay in the Miraflores or Barranco area.

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