Lima is the capital and most populous city in Peru. Located on the Pacific coast in central Peru, Lima covers 2,672.3 sq km (1,031.8 sq mi) and has a population of 7.6 million people. It is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5).
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More on Lima
Lima is located on the Peruvian coastal plain. The Rímac and Lurín rivers flow through it. The city is within a valley the slopes all the way to the coast. The highest point within the Lima city limits is 1,548 m (5,079 ft) above sea level.
Lima's climate can be classified as subtropical or cool desert. The summers here are warm and humid while winters are cool with often gray skies. Warmest month is February, when the average high temperature reaches 26.5°C (79.7°F). Coldes months are August and September, with the3 average low temperature dipping to 14.6°C (58.3°F). Lima is extremely arid. Its annual rainfall is just 13 mm (0.5 in).
The history of Lima goes back to pre-Columbian times, when the area was inhabited by indigenous American tribes. By the 15th century, these tribes have been subdued and absorbed into the Inca Empire. The Inca Empire was defeated by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who was then made the governor of the land. Pizarro founded Lima, though originally he called it Ciudad de los Reyes, meaning "City of the Kings".
As Lima grew in importance, it was made the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1543. Even as it continued to expand, Lima faced threats from pirates, which necessitated the construction of city walls. However the earthquake of 1687, which brough widespread devastation to the city, deflated its growth amidst rising competition from other South American cities, particularly Buenos Aires.
The 1820's was a turbulent time for Peru. Menaced by Argentina and Chile, Viceroy José de la Serna evacuated the city. Fearing a populat uprising, the city council of Lima invited the Argentinian and Chilean leader General José de San Martín into the city and signed a Declaration of Independence from Spain at his request. What followed was a war of independence with Spain, economic stagnation and political turmoil.
Lima was finally able to repair itself in the 1850's. New found prosperity came in the form of guano exports, and this translated into a wave of public construction projects. The Central Market was built during this period, as well as the General Slaughterhouse, the Mental Asylum, and many other buildings.
Lima suffered another round of political turbulence in the 1879-83 War of the Pacific, when it was invaded by Chile. Again it healed inself and was expanding once more from the 1890's to the 1920's. The city began to grow outwards. During this period, the La Victoria residential neighbourhood was established.
Lima was again devastated by an earthquake in 1940, but the devastation was followed by yet another round of expansion, as the city receives a new wave of immigrants from the Andes. The population grew from around 600,000 in the 1940's to 1.9 million in the 1960's and 4.8 million by 1980.
Today Lima is yet another South American capital with its share of skyscrapers as well as slums and shanty towns.
Visiting Lima, Peru
The Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) is the main gateway to Lima and to Peru. It receives regular flights from the major cities in Latin America as well as from Miami, Newark, Atlanta and Houston. Most of the international flights land late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. This creates a midnight chaos that make getting through customs and immigration a time-consuming experience. Arriving passengers can opt to take the airport express bus or taxi to downtown Lima. As with many cities, it is wise to book your taxi from the official desk, even though the rates may appear quite high.
Taxis are probably the most practical option. Rides are generally not expensive, costing anywhere from US$2 to US$7. Taxis don't usually carry a meter, so you should negotiate the fare before climbing on board.