The Rimac District – El Distrito Rímac
Posted October 1, 2010on:
Rímac is one of the oldest districts in Lima and is part of the historical city center. It is located north of the Cercado de Lima, across the River Rímac. The district is accessed by a series of bridges, one of which is the oldest bridge in Lima, the Puente de Pierda, constructed in 1608. The Puente de Pierda joins the Jirón de le Unión pedestrian walkway located in the Cercado de Lima with the Jirón Trujillo, a similar pedestrian walkway in the Rímac district.
Today the Rímac district is one of the poorest areas of Lima. It is run down and it can be dangerous. However, due to its long-standing history there are many interesting and important historical sites to see in Rímac.
Along the Jíron de Trujillo, you will find the smallest church in Lima called San Jose del Puente. In the 17th century it was an Inn, it later became a chapel and was finally converted into its present status of a church. The church is bright pink on the outside and continues its brightly colored, ornate decor inside.
At the end of Jirón you will find the Iglesia de San Lázaro. It was originally constructed as a hospital and leper colony in 1562. Throughout the years the small building was expanded and eventually became a church.
Rímac also used to be the home of the Backus company’s main brewery, which produces Cristal, one of Perú’s top two beers. However, the operation was moved to Ate in 1990.
After winding your way through a number of not so pleasant streets, you will arrive at the Alameda de Los Descalzos (The Boulevard of the Barefooted). The Alameda is well-known for its mention in the song “La Flor de La Canela” by famous Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda. The Alameda de Los Descalzos is a World Heritage Site which has be reconstructed to its original design of 1856.
As you walk north along the Alameda you have a good view of the Cerro San Cristobal on your right. The walkway is lined by a number of marble statues, many of which, unfortunately, have suffered from time, neglect and vandalism.
At the end of the Alameda de Los Descalzos you end up at the Convent de Los Descalzos, after which the walkway was named. The convent was constructed between 1595-1596 as a retirement home the Franciscan Order of monks. The convent is now a museum which houses some 300 precious paintings of the Lima, Cusco and Quito Schools. Guided tours are offered in Spanish & English and give you the opportunity to see, among other things, the cells of the monks, the dining room, the infirmary, the pharmacy, the bodega, and two old chapels.
The Paseo de Aguas was built by the Spanish viceroy Manuel de Amat between 1770 and 1776, in honor of his beloved Perricholi, famous Peruvian entertainer Micaela Villegas. Today the structure actually doesn’t contain any water due to the shortage of water in Lima.
The Plaza de Torros de Acho is the bull fighting ring in Lima. It is the oldest in the Americas and the second-oldest in the world after La Maestranza in Spain. The structure is composed of wood and adobe and has a seating capacity of 17,000. Bull fighting season is in October and November in Lima during which time some of the world’s best bull fighters come to compete in the annual festival.