Plaza San Martín

sights / Squares & plazas

Lonely Planet review

Built in the early 20th century, Plaza San Martín has come to life in recent years as the city has set about restoring its park and giving the surrounding beaux-arts architecture a much-needed scrubbing. It is especially lovely in the evenings, when it is illuminated. The plaza is named for the liberator of Peru, José de San Martín, who sits astride a horse at the center of the plaza. At the base, don’t miss the bronze rendering of Madre Patria, the symbolic mother of Peru. Commissioned in Spain under instruction to give the good lady a crown of flames, nobody thought to iron out the double meaning of the word flame in Spanish (llama), so the hapless craftsmen duly placed a delightful little llama on her head.

The once-stately Gran Hotel Bolívar , built in the 1920s, presides over the square from the northwest.