From the colonial grandeur of the Plaza de Armas to its pre-Columbian huacas, a walking tour of Lima serves up a melting pot of Peruvian culture and history, but the city’s proud heritage is also on display at its many museums. Today, the one-time ‘City of Kings’ boasts dozens of museums and galleries, including Peru’s National museums of art, archeology and history.
One of Lima’s most famous museums is the Larco Museum (Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera), set in a magnificent 18th-century mansion and home to a vast assemblage of pre-Columbian artifacts and ancient ceramics, including the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian art. Equally mesmerizing are the glittering display of pre-Incan and Incan gold, silver and brass at the Gold of Peru Museum; the 20,000-strong collection of arms and armory at the Weapons of the World Museum; and the opulent Museo Pedro de Osma, which showcases some of the city’s finest colonial furnishings, artworks and silverware.
Those intrigued to learn more about Peruvian history should make a beeline for the National Museum (Museo de la Nación) and the National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología), where the varied exhibitions whisk visitors on a journey from Peru’s earliest settlements through the conquests of the mighty Inca Empire, to its rebirth as a colonial superpower.
Finally, art lovers should check out the temporary exhibitions at the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI) in downtown Lima; enjoy contemporary works at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC); and marvel over some of the country’s finest religious art at the Convento y Museo de San Francisco.