Lima is the capital city of Peru which is located on the coast, approximately mid-way between the border of Ecuador and Chile. This lively metropolis has a population of over 7 million people and is often referred to as the "City of the Kings" or "Garden City". Lima was founded in 1535, by the Spanish "conquistadores".
Lima is one of the leading cities of Peru which offers some of the most contrasting experiences between the ancient and the modern. The old city center has some of the beautiful historical buildings, convents, churches and plazas from the days of the Spanish rule. On the other hand many modern restaurants, hotels and shopping centers are found in the residential areas of Miraflores, San Isidro, Monterrico, and La Molina. There are also some wonderful museums, galleries and monuments in Lima.
The ideal time for swimming and surfing is the summer beach season from December to April.
Situated in the southern highlands, 7,740 feet above sea level on the slopes of the Misti Volcano, Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru with a population of around 1 million. Also known as the "White City", Arequipa has an abundance of Spanish Colonial and Andalusian influences and architecture. Some of the most interesting sites in the city are, Goyeneche Palace, the Santa Catalina Convent, and the Casa del Moral. A popular tour from Arequipa is to the Colca Canyon, which is perhaps the deepest canyon in the world.
The shopping malls in the city and the magnificent Cathedral are built in colonial style. Arequipa is said to be a city of eternal spring and is one of the best cities of Peru.
The city of Puno is located on the Lake Titicaca, at an altitude of 12,421 feet and has a population over 80,000 people. Owing to its altitude, climatic conditions in Puno is quite extreme. Puno and its surrounding areas are the cradle of the Aymara civilization and the birthplace of the renowned founders of the Inca Empire. The city's surroundings are quite splendid and makes for great tourist attraction.
The city of Cusco was the former capital of the Inca Empire and is located on 3360 m (11,024 feet) above sea level, in the valley of the Huataney River in the southeast of the Andes. It is also known as the "city of the sun". Cusco today offers an extraordinary fusion of Inca architecture and Spanish-Moorish colonial style buildings and is one of the top cities of Peru. This Inca city is also the main entrance to the world-famous Machu Picchu, which is the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
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