• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Historic Centre of Lima

  • Historical Function

    Political, Religious and Administrative

  • Administrative Status

    Capital of Peru

Location and site

On the desert coast of the Pacific Ocean, in an oasis region and sheltered from the trade winds, Lima is 12 km. from the port of Callao, which is part of its territory. It is at the foot of the San Cristobal hill, and the Rio Rimac flows through it.

Urban Morphology

The form of the site is reticulated as its design is the result of the selection and integration of monumental ensembles. The majority of the important monuments and the square known as Plaza de Armas, which was the heart of the colonial city, are situated on the north side of the Rio Rimac; the older residential quarters are located on the south side. The orthogonal grid of the heart of Lima, which was laid out by Diego de Aguero, remains intact, and the central core has maintained its original functions.

The majority of monuments date to the 17th and 18th centuries. Most of the religious and civic buildings are Baroque in style, and exemplify the originality and the unity of Hispano-American architecture. The sculpted portals and balconies of carved wood add to the city's finery and character. In addition to its most important monuments, the historic centre possesses pre-colonial ruins, notably those of the ceremonial centre of La Florida.

Registration Criteria

Criterion (iv): The Historic Centre of Lima bears witness to the architecture and urban development of a Spanish colonial town of great political, economic and cultural importance in Latin America. It represents an outstanding expression of a regional cultural process, which preserves its architectural, technological, typological, aesthetic, historic and urban values adapted in terms of availability of materials, climate, earthquakes and the requirements of society. San Francisco de Lima is an outstanding example of a convent ensemble of the colonial periods in Latin America and is one of the most complete.

Historical Reference

  • The foundation, in 1535, of Ciudad de los Reyes (which later became Lima) by Pizarro under the authority of Charles-Quint, marked an important event in the Conquest of Peru. As capital of the Spanish empire of South America, then of the Vice-royalty of Peru when it was created in 1543, Lima catered to areas of rich mining and agricultural production.
  • During the second half of the 16th century, the number of religious institutions in Lima increased; these included the Monastery of San Francisco. The first university of the New World, San Marcos, was founded there in 1551. Large colonial homes were also constructed.
  • Lima's population increased rapidly in the 17th century, and its prosperity attracted pirates. The wall that was erected for defense purposes in 1670 defined the limits of the old city.
  • Lima was subjected to a succession of violent earthquakes in 1586, 1687 and 1746. The third one, which destroyed its cupolas and towers, also razed almost all of its 6,000 houses.
  • After Independence was declared in 1821, Lima exerted its supremacy within the boundaries of present-day Peru. The Plaza de Armas remained the centre of political power and of the religious hierarchy within the new republic.
  • The urban fabric of the historic town was largely unaffected by the modernisation that took place elsewhere during the second half of the 19th century.
Sr. Luis Castañeda Lossio
Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima
Jirón de la Unión N° 300
Distrito de Lima, Perú
+51.14 27.86.51, 27.99.61
+51.14 27.21.51, 26.53.58
Arq. Patricia Dias Velarde
Programa Municipal para la Recuperación del Centro Histórico de Lima - PROLIMA
Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima, Jr. Ancash 223 - 229
Lima, Lima, Perú
(511) 427-4421