The Robinson Library >> American History >> South America >> Peru >> Cities and Towns, A-Z

capital and largest city of Peru

flag of Lima

With an area of 310 square miles and population of approximately 7,605,740, Lima is the fourth largest city in South America, behind São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro; the Lima Metropolitan Area has a total area of 713 square miles and population of 8,472,935.

location of Lima

Lima was founded as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro on January 18, 1535. It became the capital of the Republic of Peru when the country declared its independence in 1821.

Lima is the financial center of Peru, accounting for over two-thirds of the nation's total industrial production. The federal government is the largest employer in the city, with the manufacturing sector being a very close second. Major products produced within Lima are textiles, clothing, food, chemicals, fish, leather, and oil derivatives. The city is served by Jorge Chávez International Airport and the nearby port city of Callao, and is a major stop on the Pan-American Highway.

Lima is home to the National University of San Marcos, the oldest institution of higher learning in the Western Hemisphere (founded on May 12, 1551). Other major educational institutions are the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, an engineering school, and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, the oldest private university in South America (1917).

Major sites of interest in Lima include the Plaza de Armas (the historic center of the city), which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988; the Park of the Reserve, home to the the largest fountain complex in the world; and the Magical Circuit of War. The city is also home to the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Museum of Art of Lima, Museum of Natural History, Museum of the Republic, Museum of Italian Art, Museum of Gold, and Larco Museum.

The Lord of the Miracles (Señor de los Milagros), patron saint of Lima, is celebrated every October with a series of parades that include a life-size replica of Jesus carried on an elaborate adorned altar.

Municipal Palace, seat of the city government
Municipal Palace, seat of the city government

Pan-American Highway

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> South America >> Peru >> Cities and Towns, A-Z

This page was last updated on April 11, 2017.