Lima has been officially designated an Ancient City in recognition of its pre-Hispanic past. There is evidence of buildings over 4,000 years old that were abandoned and which the later Lima (150 to 650 A.D.) and Ichma (1100 to 1450 A.D.) civilisations transformed into enormous temples in addition to channeling the water that flowed through the city in canals known as "acequias".
The Plaza Mayor was surrounded by enormous temples. Where the cathedral stands today, there once was a temple called Puma Inti. The present Government Palace is built upon the Palace of Taulishusco, the last "cacique," or chief, and the Tomb of Cabildo contains the Municipal Palace of those times.
Thanks to the efforts of archaeologists and some neighbours, countless tombs in various districts of the city have been protected from the process of urbanisation. Right in the middle of the metropolis, many of these archaeological relics are being restored.
In the heart of San Isidro is the Tomb of Huallamarca, a Quechua word signifying the realm of the Huallas, the people who inhabited the area. It is a large truncated pyramid, 35 metres (115 feet) high and constructed from thousands of small mud bricks. Pre-Hispanic tombs were discovered there, and their contents, including textiles, ceramics and even musical instruments, can be admired in the site museum.
Just a few minutes away in Miraflores is the Huaca Puccllana, an archaeological project begun more than 30 years ago, which exhibits a ceremonial centre whose principal structure is the Great Pyramid, consisting of seven stepped platforms. According to research, this ancient architecture has been found to be earthquake-resistant. The site museum exhibits the main finds, such as ceramics, textiles, and tools, in addition to an extensive exhibition detailing the development of the Lima civilisation.
Location: the districts of San Isidro and Miraflores are located 30 minutes from the centre of Lima.
Average temperature: 18°C (64°F), with a maximum of 27°C (81°F) and a minimum of 15°C (59°F).
Season: winter is the season of drizzle and fog, from June to September.