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Visit the Government Palace in Lima

Tierras Vivas Travel > Visit the Government Palace in Lima

Visit the Government Palace in Lima

This emblematic and historic building houses the legacy of all the heads of state of Peru since viceregal times. Appreciate its beautiful architectural design, completed in 1938, and its incredible rooms with finishes and decorations that will dazzle you. 

The Government Palace of Lima, formerly known as the House of Pizarro, is located in the northern part of the Plaza Mayor of the city of Lima and on the banks of the Rímac River since 1535. It is the seat of the Government of Peru and the residence of the President of the Republic. It comprises a built area of 19,200 square meters. About 200 people work there. The left wing of the building (the one facing Calle Pescadería) designed by the Polish architect Ricardo de Jaxa Malachowsky in 1926 was occupied by the Ministry of Justice until the second government of the Architect Fernando Belaúnde Terry. The current building, which is certainly not what the Marquis imagined, dates from 1938, but a fig tree sprouts from one of its patios, which legend has attributed to more than four and a half centuries of life. It is considered a historical monument and in its different architectural versions it has hosted certainly illustrious guests. From Francisco Pizarro, its founder, and the liberator Simón Bolívar, to the current King of Spain, Juan Carlos I de Borbón, during his official visit to Peru between November 22 and 26, 1978, not counting the 40 Viceroys, 53 caudillos and presidents and the “black” León Escobar, bandit and master of the Tablada de Lurín. One of his illustrious tenants, the architect Fernando Belaúnde Terry, found it “quite French-style but comfortable”.

Location in the city

The Government Palace of Peru is located in the northern part of the Plaza Mayor in the city of Lima and on the banks of the Rímac River (a place set by the Spanish as the seat of political power since 1535).

History of the Government Palace

Lima was founded in a fertile valley irrigated by the Rímac River and close to the sea. The founding ceremony was held in what is now the Plaza Mayor, on January 18, 1535. As soon as the ceremony was over, the conquerors divided up the land. 

Governor Francisco Pizarro’s house was built in a simple way. Years after his death at the hands of Almagro’s followers, the peacemaker La Gasca occupies the house, creating a conflict between Pizarro’s heirs and the Royal Crown. 

This was resolved in 1555 with the full payment of the house lease, to the heir Dona Francisca Pizarro. Then everything passed into the hands of the Royal Treasury. 

The 1586 earthquake left it uninhabitable and it could only be rebuilt by Viceroy García Hurtado de Mendoza, elevating it to the category of Palace. 

New earthquakes in 1687 and 1746 forced the Palace’s occupants to live in the Plaza Mayor. The remodeling continued throughout the Viceroyalty and also in the Republican era. 

In 1886, during the government of National Reconstruction of President Andrés Avelino Cáceres, the damage caused to its structure by the Chilean occupation was repaired. 

On the eve of the celebrations of the Centennial of National Independence in 1921, a fire broke out in the Palace and the Presidential office was temporarily moved to the area that overlooked Calle Pescadería. 

President Augusto B. Leguía continues with the restoration, inaugurating in 1927 the Great Room or Francisco Pizarro Room, the first room of the Palace designed in reinforced concrete. 

During Sánchez Cerro’s government, construction of the Reception room and the adjoining rooms were completed, including the Ambassadors room and the Luis XVI room. 

President Oscar R. Benavides completed the reconstruction of the Government Palace and inaugurated it, as we know it today, in 1938.

Description of the facade and determination of its style

The facade of the Palace (main entrance) that faces the Plaza Mayor, is in the neo-baroque style of French inspiration. This façade in the upper part of its portico bears the National Shield of Peru on top of which a venera shell is exhibited. The lateral façade of the Palace, which overlooks Palacio Street and where the Entrance Gate called the Main or Honor Gate is located, is neocolonial (neo-Plateresque) in style and shows the coat of arms of Francisco Pizarro at the top.

Description of its interior

The Government Palace has beautiful enclosures and ceremonial rooms, some of them, such as the Golden Room, were built on the basis of those existing in the Palace of Versailles in France; Its facilities, for the most part, were built on the basis of a French style.

Túpac Amaru Room

Previously called Salón Pizarro because it had a painting of the founder of Lima, the work of the Peruvian painter Daniel Hernández, and as it will be remembered, it was renamed in July 1972 by the President General of Division EP Juan Velasco Alvarado as “Túpac Amaru” having been called by the President Architect Fernando Belaúnde Terry in his second term (1980 – 1985) as “Túpac Pizarro”, this room has a shallow dome and there is a profusion of wood carvings as well as some stands for musicians that have been silent for a long time. Here are the “Four seasons of Mateu”, valuable and sensual nudes of maidens sculpted in bronze. A 40-meter-long carpet woven in Arequipa covers the floor. The windows overlook the Plaza Mayor.

Golden room

The Golden Room of the Government Palace, inspired by the Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles, is considered the most impressive site of the palace. It is completely covered in gold leaf, its furniture was brought especially from France and its vaulted ceiling is adorned with motifs that resemble the skies of the Andes of Peru. 

It is adjacent to the Pizarro Room and its furniture is made up of an excellent Louis XIV style set, on the central table of this room there is an old clock that is crowned with a miniature replica of the equestrian statue of Filiberto Manuel de Saboya, the winner of the Battle of San Quintín (1557), whose original is in the Plaza de San Carlos (Turin – Italy), its wide vault is supported by pilasters, two pairs of one-piece jasper marble columns support a gallery. Brocade panels, mirrors and four Louis XIV style chandeliers give an atmosphere of sumptuousness to the plaster covered in gold leaf. 

This room “is gimmicky” because here protocol ceremonies are held such as the swearing-in of the members of the Council of Ministers or the imposition of the Order of the Sun of Peru. 

Under the Golden Room, remains of a pre-Inca temple were discovered, which were presented by President Alan García Pérez, on the night of July 11, 2011, the President presenting his thesis, based on the existence of these ruins, which, in the History of Peru, “Government Palace is almost 2,000 years old as a center of power.”

Almirante Miguel Grau Room

Formerly called the Agreement Room, it shows a painting of Admiral Grau, National Hero, and of the Navy of Peru, also called The Knight of the Seas, because in command of his small Armored Monitor type “Huáscar”, he kept at bay to the entire enemy squad in the War of Guano and Saltpeter (1879-1883). A decorated fireplace, made of dark wood and adorned with a model of the “Huáscar” Monitor, can be seen on the right.

Ambassadors Room

The Hall of Ambassadors, today the “Mariano Santos Mateos” Hall, is an area where ambassadors present their credentials to the President of the Republic, at the time they are officially recognized. It is also the scene of official meetings with the high dignitaries of other nations. On Monday, December 31, 2007, the Minister of the Interior Luís Alva Castro announced that this room will bear the name of the national hero Inspector of Guards GC Mariano Santos Mateos as a tribute to his heroic action that was decisive in obtaining victory in the Battle of Tarapacá, during the Guano and Saltpeter War (1879 – 1883). Mariano Santos Mateos, the Brave of Tarapacá, was a Civil Guard who belonged to the Infantry Battalion “Guardias de Arequipa” Nº 25 and in the Battle of Tarapacá he managed to seize the regimental colonel (flag) of the Infantry Regiment “2º de Línea” of the adversary army being congratulated for his action and promoted to the immediate superior rank of Inspector of Guards of the Peruvian Civil Guard (Police rank equivalent to that of Ensign of the National Police of Peru). This room presents on its walls the image of the National Hero and an allegorical painting of the victory in the Battle of Tarapacá, as well as showcases with the distinctions of Mariano Santos Mateos, a replica of his sword and some other memories of his life.

Basadre room

Previously, it was called Hall Eléspuru y Choquehuanca in memory of the aide-de-camp Sergeant Major EP Eulogio Eléspuru Deustua and the soldier Pedro Poteno Choquehuanca belonging to a Section of the Infantry Battalion No. 3 that was guarding the palace, who, along with four other soldiers from the same section of the same Battalion, died on May 29, 1909, when 25 pierolistas led by Carlos de Piérola, and the children of Nicolás de Piérola, Javier and Amadeo, and a smaller group led by Orestes Ferro, attempted a daring coup, reminiscent of the Almagristas against Pizarro, and they attacked the palace capturing President Leguía who refused to resign. 

In the Basadre Hall, two carriages are exhibited, a landau-type car and a saloon-type carriage, which were used to take the Presidents to official ceremonies. Although President José Luis Bustamante y Rivero (1945 – 1948) replaced carriages with the luxury automobile, this did not prevent carriages from being used by President Manuel Prado Ugarteche in his second government (1956 – 1962), that is, the Presidential ceremony carriages were used by the president until the early 1960s. 

This Hall bears the name of the historian Jorge Basadre Grohmann from Tacun, since 2003, the year of the centenary of his birth, occupying a prominent place his bust, the work of the sculptor Raúl Franco Ochoa.

Peace Hall

The Hall of Peace is the Great Hall of the Palace and is so named because there on October 30, 1980 the peace treaty between El Salvador and Honduras was signed, thanks to the mediation of former President Don José Luis Bustamante y Rivero. From the ceiling of this room hangs a gigantic chandelier made of Bohemian quartz crystal (the largest in Peru) 4 meters high, 150 lights and a ton and a half in weight.

The Presidential Residence

The Residence has an 18th century French air. The main entrance corresponds roughly to the garden door where Juan de Rada came out with the six figs that Pizarro gave him and where they took his body after being assassinated by the knights of the cape. 

At the entrance there is a two-story oval room, wrought iron on the upper floor. The Popular Cooperation offices were here in the second term of the government of President Fernando Belaúnde Terry. There are a series of passages and nooks such as the Green Room, where President Fernando Belaúnde Terry, in his second term in office, used to attend visits that were not of an official nature. Also the Chinese Room, a narrow room that sports a complete set of oriental ebony furniture. Chifa was served here when Manuel Prado Ugarteche was president. 

Important venues in the Residence are the White Hall and the Golden Hall, which is the ceremonial center of the Residence; furnished, exclusively in the Louis XV style. At the top is the spacious and simple presidential bedroom. 

The windows overlook the back garden of the palace, bordered by huge bars that join the two arms of the façade.

Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Peru, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.

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