Callao is the largest and most important port in Peru. The city is coterminous with the Constitutional Province of Callao, the only province of the Callao Region. Callao is located west of Lima, the country’s capital, and is part of the Lima Metropolitan Area, a large metropolis that holds almost one-third of Peru’s population. Callao borders Lima Province on the north, east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population fast approaching 9 million, Lima is the fifth largest city in Latin America, behind Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Lima has been defined as a beta world city.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or “The City of Kings.” It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Today, around one-third of the Peruvian population lives in the metropolitan area.
We arrived in Callao, the seaport adjacent the capital of Lima just after daybreak. Our arrival, as I was expecting from reading, was in fog. This area has a most unusual climate. The rainfall is very sparse, Callao only received about 1.5 inches per year, and a few miles inland Lima only get about 2.5 inches per year. Despite the minimal rainfall, the area experiences an almost persistent fog for about eight months of the year.
As a result of the fog and limitations on photography in many of the areas we visited I have few new pictures to offer, but I will share what I have.
On Monday, we visited the Larco Museum. This is a private collection of Pre Columbian art. The collection consists of over 45 thousand pieces of pottery as well as gold, silver and linen exhibits. Both the quantity and the quality of the exhibit was extraordinary. When I return home I would like to do some further research on Larco, the founder and collector. One of the disappoint things about most exhibits in South America, Museums and other cultural sites, is the lack of visitor information. It is usually very minimal or nonexistent. When literature is available it is often only in the native language, which certainly is better than not having anything, which is more likely the case.
The Larco did allow photography and I took a large number of photos but I will spare you, the kind viewer, an overload of Pre-Columbian artifacts. Kay and I are pottery collectors and as such have a greater interest than most in this area.
Silver knife and cup, used to cut the throat of captured enemies and catch their blood for offering to the priest.
Storage Rooms for pottery not on display.
The museum, in a separate building has an exhibit of erotic Pre-Columbian art. Since this blog is not rated restricted, I will not display photos of this art. Leave it to say that the Inca’s left nothing to the imagination!
We visited the Monastery of San Francisco
It is a beautiful Church, which over the centuries has experienced considerable damage and repair from earthquakes. Unfortunately photography was not allowed in the church. We visited the catacombs which was quite interesting. It is estimated that the bones of between 30 thousand to 75 thousands souls are located here. We saw a lot of them!
It was of course a little creepy, with limited light, low ceilings, uneven flooring and unexpected steps. To make it even more creepy, a movie was being filmed and you saw characters in dark robes wandering around (and they were not the monks).
This little boy was feeding the pidgins outside the Cathedrial.
On Tuesday we visited the Inca ruins of Pachacamac. This is a 1200 acre area which is under archeological survey and restoration.
The Temple of the Sun. This area was occupied from approximately 200 A.D. to 1550 A.D. This is considered some of the latest Inca ruins. The most exciting thing which happened here was when someone in our tour group (name withheld to protect the innocent) was propositioned by a guard. (Oh, this wasn’t anyone from the Soleil contingent.)
It was funny afterward, but she was quite upset initially which is understandable. Perhaps he had some of the ancient Inca bloodline? (see erotic museum above J)
I will finish up with a couple of photos around the city.
You would see hills covered with houses like this. There are no roads, to reach your home you must climb the stairs and sometimes the distance must have been at least half a mile. In many areas private companies were planting trees to discourage the squatters from occupying private land.
Note the trees on the left side of the hill
This little van looks like a Matchbox car!
We have two days at sea then arrive in Ecuador. The trip is nearing its end with only 10 days remaining. It has been great but I am looking forward to getting home and seeing friends and family. Of course I am not looking forward to sorting the piles of mail and getting ready for income tax L.