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Lima is the capital and the largest city in Peru. It is situated in a valley fed by the Rimac river, in the desert coast of the country near its Pacific port of Callao. Total population (1995 estimate): 6,117,489, approximately one-third of which lives in the shanty town settlements around the city.
It has a very humid climate, with a mild summer (temperature rarely goes above 31° celsius), a humid but mild winter (temperature never below 13°, but with 100% humidity) and no rain worth mentioning. As a result, the sky is almost always overcast, and it is only in summer that the sky clears.
Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, becoming one of the main bases of Spanish power in Peru. Notable buildings include the 16th century Cathedral at the main square, other many churches downtown, and the original building of National University of San Marcos which was built in 1551 and currently is used mostly for official occasions, conferences and the odd public gathering.
During the Spanish colonial era, Lima's cultural supremacy on all of South America was contested perhaps only by Bogota, and its architecture and political importance were equaled only by Mexico City.
In 1746, the greater part of Lima was destroyed in an earthquake.
In the last decade air pollution has risen to quite alarming levels, as no restrictions are allowed on the age or cleanliness of motor vehicles. Leaded petrol is still widely used.
Lima also has considerable industry: the main manufactures include textiles, paper, paint, and food products.
Lima's main passenger gateway for air travellers is Jorge Chavez International Airport.
Popular visitor sights include the upscale neighborhood of Miraflores, which is noted for glassy apartment buildings, restaurants and cafés, upmarket shops and traffic ovalos filled with lush vegetation, and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, fog permitting; this provides a dramatic contrast to the shanty towns which cling to hillsides at the north and south end of Lima. The colorfully monumental Plaza de Armas and the spectacular catacombs of Convento de San Francisco are also highly regarded. Many small beaches are situated by the southern highway, but beware the cold sea. In recent years the islands near the port of Callao has gained visitors' attention due to an important population of sea lions at Islas Palomino (Palomino Islands). Also, nice, sunny suburbs of Chosica and Cieneguilla provide a lot of greenery at a short distance.
On April 22, 1997 a 126-day hostage crisis at the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima ended after government commandos stormed and captured the building rescuing 71 hostages. One hostage died of a heart attack after he was shot in the femoral vein; two soldiers were killed from rebel fire, and all 14 rebels were slain.
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This city is also known as: Lima.