Five places in Lima that hide surprising myths and legends
In addition to fascinating natural and cultural destinations, Peru's capital hides incredible stories that have inspired the most surprising tales.
It is undeniable that human beings have a special fascination with the unknown. It is for this reason that myths and legends are part of the collective imagination of every country, becoming an important part of their folklore and history. For this reason, we have prepared a list of the five most interesting myths and legends you can discover in the Peruvian capital. If you're sensitive, don't read any further.
The Devil's Stone
Located in Barrios Altos, in an area corresponding to the historic Cercado de Lima, this 3-foot high dark stone is related to an ancient legend documented in a piece of writing that is of great importance to Peruvians: Peruvian traditions. Its author, Ricardo Palma, says that the devil tried to escape during a procession of the Lord of Miracles. Frightened by the fidelity of the Cristo Moreno devotees, he wished to flee, but was met by the procession of the Virgin of Carmen (patron saint of this part of the city). So he had no choice but to go through a rock to avoid it. The rock can be visited for free – it is located in a public space – and when you arrive at the place you may experience a strange feeling of unease.
The Real Felipe Fortress
Located in the traditional port of Callao – the most important port in Peru – this castle was built during the colonial period. Its enormous walls are made of stones moved from the nearby island of San Lorenzo and served to protect the port from pirate attacks, a very frequent occurrence at that time. One of the most gloomy places of this fortress is the dungeon, which used to hold hundreds of people in inhumane conditions who would then die after several days in captivity. It should be noted that this place was also the scene of the very important feat that sealed the Independence of Peru and Latin America definitively. Legend has it that the spirits of the deceased soldiers and a mysterious lady in white still wander through its damp passages and gloomy staircases.
Real Felipe Fortress
The Quinta Heeren
Located in Barrios Altos, Cercado de Lima, this set of European-style mansions was built in the nineteenth century. Between 1890 and 1930 it housed some of the embassies of the most important countries in the world, such as the United States, France, Belgium and Japan. Óscar Heeren was in charge of erecting this space, which breaks with the architectural style of the capital, without imagining that a century later it would become the source of inspiration for one of the most famous legends of Lima. It is believed that the spirit of a Japanese businessman who took his life with a katana haunts the surrounding area. Those who have visited the Quinta Heeren say that at night evil voices can be heard and that a headless horseman roams through the gardens. Currently the place is abandoned and getting there is a bit complicated, so it is recommended to visit the place with a companion and arrive there in an official taxi.
The Morro Solar
In 1881 one of the bloodiest battles of the War of the Pacific took place in the coastal district of Chorrillos, where nearly 7,000 soldiers perished. For this reason the Morro Solar is an emblematic place – a reminder of the bravery of the Peruvian soldiers who gave their lives for their country. Today, this historic mountain, a silent witness to one of the most symbolic battles of that war, is a place of pilgrimage, as it still conserves the energy of thousands of men and women who gave their lives for the country. Legend has it that the souls of soldiers who died in battle still haunt the area, which has given it the badge of being one of the most visited paranormal destinations by those who love this type of story. However, it is recommended not to arrive at this site alone or at night.
Presbítero Maestro Cemetery
Lima’s old General Cemetery is today a museum that protects the history of the different periods of the Peruvian republican era. Also located in Barrios Altos, Cercado de Lima, it was inaugurated on May 31, 1808. It currently houses 766 mausoleums and 82 historical monuments, where some of the country's most important politicians, writers, artists and heroes rest in peace. Although it is a cemetery, it is also a living testimony – how ironic! – of Peru's history. Among its paths, which are full of tombs and mausoleums, are concealed myths and legends that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of these tells the story of the so-called 'witch', Emilia Montañés Torres, who when she died had to be buried in two different graves where her body and soul rest.
Presbítero Maestro Cemetery