The Plaza de Armas is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lima’s city center. Many historical sites are on the plaza and it is a wonderful place to wander around and soak up the historic atmosphere of the city.
The plaza is the site where the conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the City of Kings in 1535. Around the plaza are the Palacio de Gobierno, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipalidad and the Club Union. In the center of the plaza is a fountain dating from 1650.
The Palacio de Gobierno is the seat of Peruvian national government and the personal residence of the Peruvian president. It stands on the site of an ancient indigenous palace of Tauri Chusko and where formerly Francisco Pizarro’s mansion stood. It is also the site where Pizarro was assassinated in 1541. It is said that Pizarro was killed by having his jugular severed by an assassin’s rapier. He is reported to have fallen to the ground drawn a cross with blood and kissed it. The building that stands on the site today was completed in 1938. Each day outside the gates visitors can see the changing of the guard ceremony.
The Palacio de Gobierno dates from 1937. There is a changing of the guard ceremony at noon each day. There are fee tours of the palace in English and Spanish Monday to Friday, but tours must be booked two days in advance at the Oficina de Turismo at 201 (ask one of the palace guards for directions).