Stretching between the Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, and bisected by the principal boulevard of Jirón de la Unión, the historic center of Lima is still the focal point of the modern-day city. Today, the UNESCO-listed area forms the basis of most tourist itineraries, with the majority of attractions within easy walking distance and a wealth of elegant buildings, churches and monumental statues dating back to the colonial era.
The Plaza de Armas makes a popular starting point for walking tours, home to a cluster of landmarks including the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Palace (City Hall) and the Palace of the Union, as well as a bronze fountain bearing the coats-of-arms of Lima. Famously the site of the foundation of the ‘City of the Kings’ in 1535, the Plaza de Armas became the city’s first public square and was later the site of the declaration of the Republic of Peru in 1821.
Next, visit the grand Cathedral of Lima, home to Pizarro's tomb and a Museum of Colonial Art; stroll around the lively Central Market and neighboring Barrio Chino (Chinatown); then discover the remains of the colonial city walls in the nearby Parque Universitario. Additional highlights of the historic center include the Hotel Bolivar, Lima’s oldest Hotel, the 17th century Monasterio de San Francisco, the ornate Archbishop's Palace and the well preserved Church and Convent of Santo Domingo.