Every day at noon, the guard at the palace changes, a ceremony based on the event at Buckingham Palace. But it a way, the ceremony in Peru is much more colorful. First, the bolivarist uniforms, with the plumed hats and bright colors, make a great spectacle. Secondly, the Peruvian guards employ a variety of steps/kicks to get themselves in position, including the highest-kicking goose steps I have ever seen. Furthermore, it will strike most anglophonic observers as odd that a martial band would play Simon and Garfunkel during such a serious ceremony! In fact, they are playing the song "El Condor Pasa", written by a Peruvian in the 1940's but borrowed by the American duo in the 1960's (it's amazing what you learn when you travel).
Once we got in (see Warnings and Dangers), we found the tour of the Peru's Presidential Palace to be interesting. Unfortunately (from my perspective, not that of the tour guide), the Palace was rebuilt after a 1920's fire by a variety of architects borrowing a variety of styles. How about some originality? For example, the room in the photo is modeled after the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Interestingly, it is used for the most important state functions and belatedly got air conditioning when they realized a small room full of hot-aired politicians gets, well, hot. It is the only room we toured that has air conditioning.
If you're lucky enough to get a tour of the Palace (it takes some doing and planning ahead) make sure you look at Pisarro's coat of arms on the back of the chairs in the state dining room. They show an Incan with chains around his neck.
By the way, President Toledo does not currently live here.
El Palacio de Gobierno se conoce como Casa de Pizarro en razón que el fundador de Lima lo habitó hasta el día de su muerte en 1541. El edificio de gran valor histórico y arquitectónico ha sufrido los estragos de los indicios en 1884 y 1921, debiendo en consecuencia, realizarse algunas modificaciones. Destaca su estilo afrancesado y entre sus salones los denominados Colonial, Dorado y Pizarro. En una de sus alas, se ubica la residencia oficial del Presidente del Perú. Gran atractivo turístico constituye la ceremonia de Cambio de Guardia que se efectúa diariamente al mediodía.
Fue edificado en el lugar de residencia del curaca Taulichusco; el edificio actual fue inaugurado en 1938. Destacan en su interior el Salón Dorado, Salón Túpac Amaru, el Gran Comedor y el Patio de Honor.
The place for the palace was choosen by Francisco Pizarro. It is unknown in what year Pizarro started to build his residens. During the first years after the conquering it was a turbulent period and Pizarro had to for some time leave his newborn city. However, when he returned in September, 1535, it is known to have been ready.
After the death of Pizarro and the following centuries, the exterior of the palace was not well mantained. Outside there was big commerce on the streets, "vendedores ambulantes". In 1884 the government of the republic decided to give the palace a more dignified and prestigious view, and the commerce outside was prohibited. A new facad was constructed.
The palace have injured from three fires, the biggest one in 1921. The palace of today shows the result of a big restoration of the Pizarro palace, and it was inaugerated in 1938.
The palace is about 20.000 m2. The polish architect Ricardo de Jaxa Malachowski was responsible for the restoration work. He has also projected other important buildings in Lima.
The changing of the guards is daily at 12.00.
The Presidential Palace in Lima is located on the Zocalo for Lima. The Zocalo is quite large, with the palace occupying one side. As my travels in Lima were quite limited, I could not tell you how to find this palace, but most people in Lima would be happy to point out the directions to you.
Most of Lima's important historical and architectural landmarks are concentrated in the city's colonial core, just south of the Rímac River. This area of streets measures about 1.5 km (.9 mi) on each side and is centered around the Plaza de Armas, site of the city's most significant religious and political institutions. Lima was founded on this site in 1535 by Spanish soldier Francisco Pizarro, and the fountain in the central square dates from 1651. An earthquake in 1746 destroyed all of the colonial structures on the plaza, which were rebuilt in subsequent decades.
Cambio de Guardia a mediodía. Chequear con la guardia e inscribirse el día anterior en el edificio al lado de la estatua de Pizarro con pasaporte en mano.
Los uniformes de esta guardia son réplicas de las que llevaba el regimiento que resultó victorioso en la batalla de Junín (1824). El cambio de guardia vale la pena de ver.
This impressive government building from the early 1900's draws its fair share of attention with noon ceremonial changing of the guards.
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