Friday, Apr. 02, 2010

1. Aliaga House

The Aliaga House is as old as Lima itself. When conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the capital city on Jan. 18, 1535, he gave the plot adjacent to that of the Government Palace to his trusted ally Jerónimo de Aliaga, so they could be neighbors. Eighteen generations of the Aliaga family have resided in the same mansion ever since — it's been renovated continuously, but it's the oldest house in the Americas. Jerónimo's descendants currently live in a modern annex, but much of the original main house is on display.

The Aliaga House has a wide-ranging collection of Peruvian art and artifacts, including the sword Jerónimo de Aliaga used in the conquest of Peru, and reflects various eras of decor, going back centuries. Walking through the house's heavy wooden doors means stepping into layers of history.

Tours of the house can be organized by calling +51-(0)1-619-6900 with 24-hour notice; tours aren't cheap at $40 per person, and last about an hour. Casa Aliaga is located 40 minutes by taxi from the San Isidro/Miraflores districts, where most visitors prefer to stay.