Plaza de Armas

sights / Squares & plazas

Plaza de Armas information

Lima , Peru
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Lima’s 140-sq-meter Plaza de Armas, also called the Plaza Mayor, was not only the heart of the 16th-century settlement established by Francisco Pizarro, it was a center of the Spaniards’ continent-wide empire. Though not one original building remains, at the center of the plaza is an impressive bronze fountain erected in 1650.

Surrounding the plaza are a number of significant public buildings: to the east resides the Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop’s Palace), built in 1924 in a colonial style and boasting some of the most exquisite Moorish-style balconies in the city. To the northeast is the block-long Palacio de Gobierno , a grandiose baroque-style building from 1937 that serves as the residence of Peru’s president. Out front stands a handsomely uniformed presidential guard (think French Foreign Legion, c 1900) that conducts a changing of the guard every day at noon – a ceremonious affair that involves slow-motion goose-stepping and the sublime sounds of a brass band playing ‘El Cóndor Pasa’ as a military march.

Though the palace is no longer regularly open to visitors, it hosts occasional public exhibits, which require a 48-hour advance reservation. Check the website for a schedule and reserve through the Office of Public Relations .The web page offers a virtual tour (click on ‘Visita Virtual’) showing the building’s lavish interiors.