Plaza Mayor

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2018)

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One of my favorite places in Lima is the Plaza Mayor (also known as the Plaza de Armas).

It is quiet here now, quiet different from the scene last night.

This is the historic core of Lima, the plaza designated by conquistador Francisco Pizarro. It was developed in 1535 to conform with Spanish dictates found in the Laws of the Indies, which proscribed an urban form in Colonial America of regular street patterns, harmonious groupings of major institutions around large central common areas, and provisions for orderly expansion.

In line with those precepts, the buildings along the plaza include the Archbishop’s Palace and the Basilica Cathedral (along the east side) . The Palace is a modern construction, having been built in 1924, while the colonial façade of the Basilica encloses a worship space that has been regularly rebuilt over the decades (usually following earthquakes).

The City Hall is located directly across the plaza.

The balcony on the City Hall displays a Christmas scene of the three kings bringing their gifts to the Christ child. This is a very Catholic country, but this is also the “City of Kings,” named for it’s founding during the celebration of Epiphany.

The Government Palace is here too, set back from the north side of the plaza.

Between these are a mix of beguiling ocher buildings, most with elaborate traditional balconies.

It makes for a beguiling and comfortable place.

(This is a terrible pan, but it gives you a sense of what you would see all around you if you were standing by the fountain.)

Well, except for the cows. They are part of a civic promotion. Most of them are not terribly interesting, but I do find the Cher cow rather amusing in this setting.

There has been a fountain here almost since the beginning, beginning in 1578. The current fountain dates to 1651, a consistent part of life in the heart of the city.

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Urban form as provided in the Laws of the Indies (excerpt from Cyburbia Forum’s PlanningWiki at http://planningwiki.cyburbia.org/Laws_of_the_Indies ) 110. . . . a plan for the site is to be made, dividing it into squares, streets, and building lots, using cord and ruler, beginning with the main square from which streets are to run to the gates and principal roads and leaving sufficient open space so that even if the town grows, it can always spread in the same manner. Having thus agreed upon the site and place selected to be populated, a layout should be made in the following… Read more »