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Lima, capital of Peru.

Cathedral. Lima.Lima, capital of Peru, founded on January 18, 1535, is a modern city which, while constantly expanding, has also managed to maintain the elegance of its Historic Center. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Center, due to the large number of artistic monuments found there, Historic Lima is an enchanting haven of a period long gone.

Lima does have some redeeming features, notably its many interesting museums and excellent restaurants and cafes. Lima also has a good selection of accommodation at prices to suit most budgets.

We've listed below some of Lima's main attractions below:

Plaza De Armas. Lima.Plaza de Armas, Central Lima

This is the spot where Francisco Pizarro founded the city in 1535. The north side is dominated by the Government Palace (rebuilt in 1937), home of Peru's president. You can watch the changing of the guard here at 11:45 each morning.

On the east side of the Plaza you'll find the Cathedral. Construction of this church began in 1564 and was completed in 1622. Unfortunately is was reduced to rubble in 1746 by an earthquake and was subsequently rebuilt and completed by 1755. The supposed remains of Francisco Pizarro lie in a small chapel, the first on the right of the entrance, in a glass coffin. Open Tues-Sun 10:00 - 18:00, Entrance fee of $2 includes entrance to the Religious Art Museum inside.

Torre Tagle Palace. Lima.Torre Tagle Palace

Jr. Ucayali 363, Central Lima

A splendid mansion built in 1735, is considered the city's best surviving example of colonial architecture in Lima. It has a lovely facade with a stone doorway between two beautifully carved balconies, excellent furniture, tile work and paintings. Today the Palace is used by the Foreign Ministry, but visitors are allowed to enter the courtyards at weekends (Sat 09:00-12:00).

Museo del Oro.Museo del Oro del Peru (Gold Museum) y Armas del Mundo

Alonso de Molina 1100, Monterrico, Surco. Open daily 11:30 - 19:00.

The Gold Museum is a large private collection including examples of pre-Columbian gold, silver, ceramics, weavings and mummies. Upstairs is one of the world's largest collections of weapons. Entrance fee $6.

Museo de Arqueologia. Lima.Museo de Arqueologia, Antropologia e Historia (Archaeology and Anthropology Museum)

Plaza Bolivar, Pueblo Libre. Open Mon-Sat 09:00 - 18:00, Sun 10:00 - 17:00.

Houses one of the largest collections of artifacts from pre-Hispanic cultures in Peru, although it has lost some of its best pieces to the Museo de la Nacion recently. This museum was once a stately colonial mansion that was the home of the leaders of the struggle for independence, Jose de San Martin and Simon Bolivar. Exhibits include the Tello Obelisk and Estela de Raymondi from the site of Chavin de Huantar.

Museo de la Nacion. Lima.Museo de la Nacion

Jiron Javier Prado Este 2465, San Borja. Open Tues-Fri 09:00 - 18:00. Sat-Sun 10:00 - 18:00.

This modern concrete building houses a collection of exhibits which offer an excellent overview of Peru's archeological heritage, concentrating on the various pre-Columbian (before Columbus) cultures. Entrance fee $4.

Mercado Indio (Indian Market)

Located between 6th and 10th blocks of Avenida La Marina, Pueblo Libre.

If you've forgotten to buy everyone at home a present after visiting Peru then this maybe your last opportunity to do so. This large collection of market stalls sell crafts only, including woolen and alpaca clothing, carved wood objects and jewelry. There's a huge selection and bargaining is expected although the prices in other parts of Peru are cheaper. Don't take any valuables with you as there are always thieves about. The handicrafts markets in Miraflores on Avenida Petit Thouars (blocks 51-54) has a similar, although slightly more expensive, selection.

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