Lima, Peru

Lima's Plaza de Armas San Francisco Church Crypts

  

          Our time in Lima was very limited as we left the day after we arrived….but my sense was that the city was neither particularly clean nor orderly.   For example, the bus system was privately owned and not efficiently operated from the citizen’s point of view.  There was graffiti all around the city and it did not offer a particularly cosmopolitan impression    Unemployment is about eighteen percent and taxes are quite high, with jobs paying the lowest possible salaries.  A government worker might be paid somewhere between $200 to $500 per month and a lower level service job would pay only about $140 per month.   

            Overall, Peru is a very poor country …..a very significant percentage of poor people….and a very small percentage of rich people, maybe 5% that control most of the country’s wealth.   There is no national health coverage and if the people cannot pay for health care then they get no health care.    As we moved around the country there was generally a large number of people of all ages pleading for money or trying to sell simple goods just to to raise money.   

 

           Actually, Lima is a more recent city having been founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizzaro.   We visited the Plaza de Armas…almost every city in South America is built with a central plaza around which the major buildings of the government and/or church are located.   This is the Spanish influence that came to the region after the Inca period.   We also visited the Herrera Museum, known for its fabulous collections of Inca and pre-Inca ceramics and metal art objects that had been taken from the tombs of the wealthy.    

            We also toured the San Francisco Church monastery and convent that was founded in 1672 by the order of Francis of Assisi.  The church was beautifully decorated with tiles of a Moorish influence that had been brought from Seville, Spain.  Exquisite paintings that were recently restored lined the walls throughout.   We also visited the underground crypts with rooms filled with bones and skulls of those who had been buried there over the years.

 

Lima's San Francisco Church Herrera Museum Artifact