For 282 years, forty Spanish viceroys governed in the Palace of Pizarro while Lima was the headquarters of the Spanish government in South America. From the time of their foundation in 1535 until 1821 and throughout the Austurian and Borbon dynasties, Lima was most politically powerful of all the Spanish colonies. Lima peaked in the 17th and 18th centuries. Because of the construction of grand palaces and houses, the churches and convents containing treasured art and jewels, and the luxury and wealth of the nobility in Lima, it was known as the richest and most prosperous city in all the colonies.
During the era of colonialism, Lima was walled for protection against pirate attacks. The walled area is known today as Damero de Pizarro, Lima Cuadrada, o El Cercado, and corresponds to Lima´s historical center. The Historical Center of Lima has conserved numerous buildings that have been declared World Heritage Sites because of their architectural context and beautiful detail. The Church and Convent of San Francisco have also been declared Cultural World Heritage Sites.
During the era of the Republic and Marchal Ramón Castilla’s government, Lima was the first city in South America to build a railroad (Lima-Callao), have a telegraph machine and gas light.
In more recent years, Mayor Alberto Andrade has campaigned for the recovery and cleaning of downtown Lima, the restoration of numerous buildings, and especially the restoration of old balconies. Today some of your most unforgettable memories of Lima will be of the city center.