Lima Museums (Self Guided), Lima

The capital of Peru is Lima. The city has a rich history of pre-Columbian heritage as well as a former oasis for American Indian culture. In 1535, the area was conquered by Francisco Pizarro - a Spanish conquistador - and officially became known as Lima.
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Lima Museums Map

Guide Name: Lima Museums
Guide Location: Peru » Lima (See other walking tours in Lima)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • San Francisco Convent Museum
  • Inquisition Museum
  • Banco Central del Perú Museum
  • Museum of Italian Art
  • Lima Art Museum (MALI)
San Francisco Convent Museum

1) San Francisco Convent Museum (must see)

The San Francisco museum, attached to the Monastery domain, used to be a convent. It was built during the colonial period and apart from the clear Spanish architectural references, like the inner patio, it's also one of the few displays of Middle Eastern influences, with colorful tiles and mosaics. Inside the convent, there is a beautiful library, the kind that you would see on a Sherlock Holmes movie, that lacks maintenance but the age of the books is impressive. Notice the crooked walls too – they started to give in after the earthquakes.

Underneath the monastery lies the first-ever cemetery in Lima – the catacombs – which was in use up until 1808. The catacombs were discovered in 1943. They are assumed to contain more than 70,000 burials, with skulls and bones arranged neatly in the underground tunnels in geometrical order. The convent and the museum of San Francisco are a true delight for history buffs! Visiting here is bound to give you an amazing experience.

Consider skipping this part of the church if you're claustrophobic or suffer from anxiety. The ceilings are very low and there are skeletons everywhere.
Unfortunately, they do not allow pictures in the museum/catacombs, but they can sell you postcards.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-8:15pm
Inquisition Museum

2) Inquisition Museum

The Inquisition Museum is one of the best maintained and most often visited museums in Peru. It sits on Bolivar Plaza in Lima and is housed in the old building of the Peruvian Congress and National Senate. The building is now considered a site of national importance and was opened to the public on July 26th 1968.

It was from here that the Spanish Inquisition was run between 1570 and 1820. In addition to paying homage to the Peruvian Congress, the museum missions to preserve and to pass down to future generations the historical and cultural richness of the nation. The artifacts exhibited here highlight the importance and the impact that the Inquisition has had on the Peruvian history.

The Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century sought to eradicate blasphemy and heresy, pursuant to which objective it used to have the suspects of such deeds brought here for torture that took place in the basement. The Inquisition targeted, in particular, Spanish Jews who were often accused of secret dealings. Today, visitors can see the dungeons where the prisoners were held and the life-size wax models graphically depicting the acts of the torture that the victims had to endure. Some visitors may find such sight quite disturbing and sending shivers down one's spine! However, the museum is a sure must for history lovers.

Opening Hours: Daily from 09.00 am to 05.00 pm
Banco Central del Perú Museum

3) Banco Central del Perú Museum

Lima is a very rich city in both cultural and historical senses. Its legacy is preserved by many institutions, including the Banco Central del Peru Museum. This museum is situated in the center of the city, across Plaza de Armas, on the corner of Ucayil and Lampa streets, and is housed in the former Central Bank edifice. Although founded in 1980, the museum opened its doors to the public only in 1982.

It holds a diverse collection of beautiful artifacts belonging to the pre-Columbian era: sculptures, folk art, numismatic material and paintings. The displayed articles present not only cultural importance but also reflect Peruvian symbolism.

The collection is split into sections with the biggest one containing gold, pottery and textiles. Another section is devoted to popular art, featuring works collected from various villages across the nation, showcasing local traditions. There is a section dedicated to Peruvian art, spanning from the times of independence to contemporary genres. Lastly, the Folk Art section displays craft works made of various materials. The museum provides insight into the Peruvian culture and chronicles the changes it has sustained over the centuries. Art lovers will find it most exciting to explore.

Opening hours: Tue-Sat: 9am-5pm, Wed: 9am-7pm
Museum of Italian Art

4) Museum of Italian Art

The Museum of Italian Art is the only museum of European arts in Peru. Inaugurated in 1923, it is administered by the National Culture Institute and is located near Paseo de la Republica 250, in front of Parque de la Exposicion, in the center of Lima.

The museum is a gift from the Italian community of Peru, made on the occasion of the hundred year anniversary of the country's independence. The collection comprises mainly 20th century paintings and sculptures - a mix of classical and contemporary Italian art. Also on display are the works of local artists. There is a catalog of more than 300 pages providing details of over 300 pieces of art from the permanent collection. The museum also hosts touring exhibitions on a regular basis.

There is a library storing books on the history of artifacts displayed in the museum, as well as the biographies of the artists who created them.

A unique service provided by this museum is the guided tour offered for visually impaired during which the visitors can wear special gloves and touch some of the items. The variety of artifacts and the unique services provided by this museum have ensured it a growing number of visitors over the years.

Opening Hours: Tue to Sun 10.00 am to 05.00 pm
Lima Art Museum (MALI)

5) Lima Art Museum (MALI) (must see)

When in Lima, be sure not to miss the Lima Art Museum, locally known as Museo de Arte de Lima, or MALI. This museum showcases the cultural richness of the Peruvian people, manifested in the variety of works created by artists of the past and present.

As you approach the museum, you will marvel at the stately edifice that houses almost three thousand years of Peruvian art embodied in a huge collection of artifacts – from textiles, relics and ceramics of the pre-Columbian era to the wonderful selection of artworks from Republican and Colonial periods, and contemporary photographs from the Filmoteca cinema.

Many rooms in the museum house thematic exhibitions, such as the ones on pre-Columbian cultures including the Nazca, Vicus, Moche, Chimu, and Ica-Chinca. Nowhere else can you find such a cultural diversity at a single location! What’s more, the museum has in its possession a few pieces of work by the father of Peruvian abstract movement, Fernando de Szyszlo.

Why You Should Visit:
MALI tries to be everything to the observer of Peruvian history. Starting with the pottery section, they have excellent pre-Columbian exhibits up to the fairly modern era.
Located in a beautiful park and housed in an outstanding building, the museum provides a wonderful two-hour glimpse of Peruvian history in spacious exhibit areas.

There is an audio guide app that you can download on the spot, as the museum has open wifi.
Also, check out the virtual tour of the Nazca Lines that is actually better than the real thing because you use a VR set and can see in detail as if hovering over them.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri, Sun: 10am-7pm; Sat: 10am-5pm
First Friday of each month: 10am-10pm
Closed: Mondays, May 1, Dec 24/25, Jan 1

Walking Tours in Lima, Peru

Create Your Own Walk in Lima

Create Your Own Walk in Lima

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lima is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Lima Introduction Walk

Lima Introduction Walk

Lima, the capital of Peru, is a huge, thriving metropolis established by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535. The carefully preserved city center has retained much of its original colonial character set in the stones of numerous Baroque and Renaissance cathedrals, colonial mansions and palaces, many of which are included in this city orientation walk.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Miraflores Souvenir Shopping

Miraflores Souvenir Shopping

Tourists will indulge themselves in a number of traditional items from across Peru when shopping in Lima. Miraflores, a district in Lima, attracts a large number of tourists each year due to its abundance of shops. The markets range from boutiques, artisan markets, antique shops, jewelry, and clothes. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Lima, that a visitor might...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Miraflores Walking Tour

Miraflores Walking Tour

Miraflores is the most attractive district for tourists in all of Lima. The district offers phenomenal views of the ocean, as well as amazing seashore restaurants, shops, parks, and interesting archaeological sites.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Pueblo Libre District Walking Tour

Pueblo Libre District Walking Tour

Lima is renown for its various mysteries and places of high cultural value. This tour will take you for a walk around charming Pueblo Libre district and its most interesting attractions.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

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