Gran Corso, Great Independence Parade

Gran Corso, Great Independence Parade


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August 21st: Every year the (Gran Corso de Wong) Great Independence Parade dazzles and delights about 50,000 spectators with floats, marching bands, and Peruvian costume clad dancers from the coast, highlands and jungle. Plus you will see plenty of beauty queens, models and promos thrown in, in glorious consumer fashion. The fireworks are spectacular glimmering over the Wong Supermarket–Move over Macy’s–but seriously it is the least serious event (and parade) of the patriotic season. A little fun can be diverting especially when the Military Parade and the Inagural Event is so serious. Most kids are certainly going to prefer this to the Army Brass. There isn’t any greater degree of marketing at this parade than most others in the United States. Maybe a bit more overt and a bit less sophisticated and so I balk a bit. After all, I need well-developed Madison Avenue influences in my parades. Ha Ha. I do bring this up mainly because I read a great deal of similar sentiments in the local Peruvian newspapers. And, despite my bit of cynicism, there are plenty of patriotic elements, no shortage of rich cultural ties and certainly laughs and smiles all around. So usher in the Fiestas Patrias spirit and see the (Gran Corso de Wong) Great Independence Parade.

The parade begins around 2:30 PM or 3:00 PM and the parade route, as listed on the map below, starts at Avenida 28 de Julio and Reducto (just West of Avenida Paseo de la Republica) and at this place you can go early and see all the floats and bands lining up. The parade then turns right four blocks west onto Avenida José Larco and proceeds about six blocks until it gets to Central Park of Miraflores (Parque Central) and then turns the corner at the oval (Óvalo Miraflores) onto Diagonal and goes on the other side of the park and continues on alongside Kennedy Park (Parque Kennedy). Note: Many consider both to be Parque Kennedy. Both of these parks are good places to go early to stake out a spot to view the Parade. And, there are nice exhibits and vendors in the park as well. The parade ends after the park on the block preceding Wong Supermarket (paid namesake of the parade). At about 7:30 PM fireworks can be nicely viewed from the area of the park (after the parade ends).

Plenty of street food can be had in and around the parade and park.

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Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) SLIDESHOW: 1. Peruvian Dancers, El Comercio/Giovanna Fernández 2. Modern Costumes for a Modern Parade, El Comercio/Giovanna Fernández 3. Plenty of Good Marching Bands, El Comercio/Giovanna Fernández 4. Fireworks over Wong Supermarket, El Comercio/Giovanna Fernández 5. Beauty Queens on Floats, El Comercio/Giovanna Fernández

Guide: Basilica Cathedral of Lima and Museum of Religious Art

Guide: Basilica Cathedral of Lima and Museum of Religious Art

Inside the Lima CathedralOn the east side of Plaza Mayor lies the Roman Catholic, neoclassical twin tower, colonial structured Basilica Cathedral of Lima (la Basílica Catedral de Lima) with its grand nave and 14 side chapels. An interesting conglomeration of late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles, the cathedral was at one time designed to emulate the Cathedral of Seville. Additionally, there is the very good Museum of Religious Art of the Basilica Cathedral of Lima (Museo de Arte Religioso de la Basílica Catedral de Lima) located, inside in the rear of the cathedral. Both places are filled to the brim, so don’t think that there are just a few points of interest here. This is a must see stop in Lima.

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala at Mass

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala at a State Sanctioned Mass

Inside you will find many sculptures, paintings, ornaments and tombs within the main nave and side chapels, 12 of which were recently fully restored. FYI, the nave of a church is the main body, the portion extending from entry to the high alter. Sometimes the two large side-aisles are referred to as “additional naves” and you might hear people talking about them in Spanish as “dos naves adicionales”. One chapel side door opens up onto the Street of the Jews (Calle de Judíos) and another onto the connected Square of the Orange Trees (Patio de los Naranjos). Next door is the Archbishop’s Palace and Museum (Museo Palacio Arzobispal de Lima) which is the official Peruvian seat of government for the Catholic Church (the Peruvian Government officially includes the Catholic Church as part of its governing body). The Sagrario Parish (Parroquia del Sagrario) is nestled in between (which is quite old).

Getting In! You can visit the cathedral and its museum Monday through Friday from 9 AM-5 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM-1 PM. Admission for adults is S/. 10 (about $2) and children is S/. 2 (about $0.80). Sunday Masses are in Spanish. Flash photography is not permitted, and never take photos of perishers–this is in bad taste everywhere and especially frowned upon in South America. As always when visiting a church, dress appropriately, be mindful of others there to worship (assume all are there for that purpose) and generally don’t march around. You would be hard pressed to see this place in an hour, but two hours are good for most. Half hour, tours are available, in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese or Italian for a small tip. Contact them: Cathedral Tel. (in Spanish): 4279647, Museum Tel. (in Spanish): 4267056, Email (in Spanish): catedraldelima@yahoo.es

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Noticeable from all over the Plaza Mayor, like most other cathedrals, there are three main doorways and from these give rise to two large twin towers. On the main facade you will see statues of the Apostles, and in the central area, the Sacred Heart of Jesus (el Sagrado Corazón de Jesús). At the top you can see the Peruvian coat of Arms, where there originally was the shield of the city of Lima along with the phrase “Plus Ultra”. As you enter, the center and principle doorway is called the Door of Forgiveness (Puerta del Perdón), to the left the Door of the Gospel (Puerta del Evangelio) and to the right the Door of the Epistle (Puerta de la Epístola). The ceiling is supported by wood and stucco, Gothic ribbed vaulting with a star pattern. This kind of vaulted ceiling was considered the utmost in technology at the time and to this day, it would be a feat to accomplish. The alters were all originally Baroque, but some were later replaced and added with neoclassical features. Colonial structures often borrow from many differing styles and influences and the choir stalls typify that with their eclectic Renaissance style. In the church you will see a melding of most of the architectural styles throughout Lima.  Pope John Paul II visited twice, first in 1985 returning three years later in 1988, and you will see his visits commemorated on two plaques at the entrance.

Lima Cathedral Guide

Basilica Cathedral of Lima Floor Plan
When visiting most churches, there are probably one or two important or striking features and wrapping your head around a few details isn’t that difficult. Chances are anyone around will know what is what. So asking a passerby is not too difficult. But with a cathedral the size of Lima, there are so many amazing, intricate, important, unusual and hard to place features and details visiting can be a confusing maze of “I wonder what that is.” So we have created this guide to the Cathedral of Lima showing all of those details: the artwork, nave, additional naves, entrances, alters, pews, ceilings, floors, and interior chapels; summarizing the entire layout by letter and number. This is a work in progress and we are continually updating it.

Recently they are completing a series of restorations to 12 of the 14 side chapels. Two of the chapels didn’t need restoration, so all 14 are pretty spectacular. Over the years and traditionally throughout history, chapels get renamed, re-purposed and the contents (altars, art, tombs, etc.) get shuffled around inside and also to other churches. We mention a lot of the reordering of the church in our explanations. Of course we can’t keep track of what happens on a daily basis and between our visits. There is a lot to the cathedral so if you don’t see something where you expect it, ask (if you have the Spanish skills, or are on a tour).

About the Entrances

Door of Forgiveness

Door of Forgiveness, letter “A” on the floorpan

Front Entrances, on the Plaza Mayor side:

  1. Door of Forgiveness (Puerta del Perdón)
  2. Door of the Gospel (Puerta del Evangelio)
  3. Door of the Epistle (Puerta de la Epístola), similar in design to that of the Gospel.

Side Entrances:

  1. Door of the Oranges. Entryway to the Patio of the Orange Trees (Patio de los Naranjos).
  2. Door of Jews. This chapel side door opens up onto the Street of the Jews (Calle de Judíos) and there are two stories about the naming of the street one saying that a painting called “Torment of Jews” was placed there or possibly effigies of Jews accused by the Tribunal of the Holy Office. Either way, the door was destroyed in the 1896 remodeling and replaced by another, and again replaced after the earthquake of 1940 by the architect Emilio Harth-Terré.

Exits In the Rear:

  1. Door of Santa Apolonia. Named for the side chapel Saint Apolonia Chapel (La Capilla de Santa Apolonia) inside the Cathedral, which gave name to the street outside (Calle de Santa Apolonia).
  2. Door of San Cristobal. Similar in design to the Door of Santa Apolonia.

 

Tomb of Francisco Pizarro

  1. Tomb of Francisco Pizarro

    Tomb of Francisco Pizarro, red rectangle marks prior location of body.

    The Tomb of the Spanish Conquistador attributed to the fall of the Inca Enpire, Francisco Pizarro is located in the right aisle, near the entrance. The whole room is an elaborate, golden encrusted mosaic bearing the Coat of Lima, many other embellishments, and in front is a sarcophagus, which was discovered in the early twentieth century. Pizarro’s body was actually not in the grand lion topped encasement, but secretly hidden in an area to the left (marked in the image by a red and black rectangle) and in 1977 was found and placed in the windowed sarcophagus for public viewing. A small chest sits in front of the sarcophagus containing earth from his native city, Trujillo, Spain.

    For over 400 years his mistaken remains were moved around and displayed in various locations of the cathedral, until in 1977 workers discovered a lead box with his true remains and an inscription translated: “Here is the head of Mr. Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered and won Peru making it the realm of Spain’s Royal Crown.” In addition, the remains of a woman, and two children where found. After many tests and a big international circus of events they undoubtedly proved Pizarro’s newly found true remains and replaced the unknown official’s remains that had been on display for hundreds of years. The tomb was formerly located in the Christ Auxilio Chapel (Capilla del Cristo del Auxilio) and its altar was moved to the chapel of Santa Ana, now the St. John the Evangelist Chapel.

  2. St John the Baptist Chapel Lima

    St John the Baptist Chapel

    St. John the Baptist Chapel (Capilla de San Juan Bautista)
    Continuing on the right moving further in the cathedral, is the newly reopened, restored chapel for St. John the Baptist, with its colorful polychrome relief altarpiece depicting the saint’s life and further dominated by one of the oldest and largest crucifixes in the cathedral. Considered among the best cathedral church altarpieces in the world, it was carved by the renowned artist Juan Martinez Montanes, and was originally in the ancient Monastery of the Conception (Monasterio de la Concepción), in Spain, then brought to the New World and placed in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Lima. Of course now the chapel is here, fully restored and reopened in 2012 for easy viewing. The image to the left is just a peek, there is a lot more to see.

  3. Our Lady of Candelaria Chapel (Capilla de la Candelaria)
    Next is the chapel of the Virgin of Candelaria, whose altarpiece is a masterful work of a master priest and artist Matías Maestro Alegría around 1796, done in baroque-neoclassical transitional styles.
  4. Saint Toribio Chapel

    Saint Toribio Chapel (Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo )

    Saint Toribio Chapel (Capilla de Santo Toribio)
    Following that is the chapel of Saint Toribio of Mogrovejo named after the second Archbishop of Lima and Patron of Latin American Bishops. A locket with his remains is on the altar. The chapel walls hold episcopal ornaments and reliquaries of the saint. On the left is the tomb of Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts, Archbishop of Lima XXX. The altarpiece of Santa Rosa de Lima, originally belonged to the former church of Bethlehem. Above the side door is a gallery for the choir, and the organ currently in use. These additional levels were the result of the renovations that took place in the late nineteenth century and do not belong to the original architecture of the church.

  5. Door of Jews. The space leads to the street exit Street of the Jews (Calle de Judíos) and was decommissioned when a gallery was added.
  6. Catedral de Lima

    All Souls Chapel

    St. John the Evangelist Chapel (Capilla de San Juan Evangelista) Formerly named the Santa Ana Chapel and still home to the tomb of Nicolás de Ribera, first mayor of Lima (on the left wall) and the baroque-neoclassical style altarpiece of Christ Auxilio (Cristo del Auxilio) considered one of the most beautiful in this church.

  7. Visitation Chapel (Capilla de la Visitación)
    Recently finishing a difficult, full restoration, and only now available for full public viewing, the Chapel of the Visitation dates from the late eighteenth century, with the neoclassical, aesthetic style prevailing in those years. Carved by the renowned artist Matías Maestro Alegría. Unlike most other shrines made according to the criteria of the Baroque period, the main altarpiece of the Visitation, is austere with neat lines and a somber colored marbling. On the left is a Risen Christ coming out in triumphal procession on Easter Sunday.
  8. St Joseph Chapel Lima

    St Joseph Chapel Lima

    All Souls Chapel (Capilla de las Almas del Purgatorio o Ánimas)
    Currently contains the altar and tomb of the viceroy and archbishop Auñón Diego Morcillo Rubio, which was originally in the Conception Chapel.

  9. St. Joseph Chapel (Capilla de San José)
    Finally, the last chapel on the right side is dedicated to San José, with an altarpiece of polychrome reliefs depicting his life. The altarpiece was originally in the Monastery of the Conception. Also, exhibited in this area of ??the nave are reliefs of the life of the Virgin.
  10. St. Bartholomew Chapel (Capilla de San Bartolomé)
    In this chapel is a main altarpiece of the Tuscan order, consisting of three panels depicting a major part of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew. In the same room once was the altar and tomb of the Archbishop of Lima, Bartolomé Lobo Guerrero along with a sculpture of the Archbishop, now housed elsewhere, in the museum.
  11. Hall separating the chapel of St. Bartholomew from the presbytery.
  12. Main Chapel (Capilla mayor)
    The Main Chapel consists of two parts. The Presbytery contains the shrine made by Matías Maestro Alegría around 1806. In this altarpiece originally were images of San Juan, on the left (now in the chapel of Santa Ana), Santa Rosa, on the right, and the Virgin Mary in the upper body. Going down the steps the Presbytery was separated by railings, which surrounded the chapel. This setting changed dramatically in the 1896 remodeling.
  13. High Altar at the Cathedral of Lima

    High Altar

    Hall separating the chapel, and connecting with the choir.

  14. Saint Apolonia Chapel (Capilla de la Santa Apolonia)
    Chapel Santa Apolonia is used for storage and currently contains a small altarpiece of Saint Apolonia.
  15. Our Lady of Peace Chapel (Capilla de la Virgen de la Paz)
    Contains an altarpiece from the hospital of St. John of God. On the left wall is a painting of St. John the Evangelist, patron of the Cathedral, giving Communion to the Blessed Virgin and on the right is the tomb of the Servant of God Father Francisco Camacho.
  16. Transit to the sacristy.
  17. Immaculate Conception Chapel (Capilla de la Concepción)
    Modernly dedicated to Our Lady of Evangelization, this chapel has the only preserved Baroque altarpiece since the remodeling of 1896. And, because it was so beautiful, Matías Maestro Alegría, who redesigned or replaced all of the other Baroque altarpieces with neoclassical altars left this altar alone. Featured on the altar is the image of Our Lady of Evangelization, a woodcarving from the sixteenth century sent by the Emperor Charles V, one of the first images of the Virgin to reach the New World. On the left wall of the chapel is a large painting of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, made in 2005 for the 30th anniversary of his death, In the altarpiece are Nativity figures which were the first of the city of Lima, commissioned by the daughter of Francisco Pizarro. The walls have beautiful tiles, recently restored. To the left is the entrance to the sacristy, where there is a sixteenth century, bas-relief of the Adoration of the Shepherds, one of the oldest in the Cathedral. To the right, a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Additionally included are  Ecce Homo Medallions of Sorrows, carvings of St. Ambrose and St. Augustine.
  18. Door of the Oranges (Patio de los Naranjos)
    A choir platform, now in disuse, can be seen here.
  19. Organ at the Basilica Cathedral of Lima

    Hippolyte Loret Organ brought back into use in 2007

    Peruvian Saints Chapel (Capilla de la los Santos Peruanos)
    The next chapel is dominated by the image of Santa Rosa de Lima, the first saint of the Americas, along with St. Martin de Porres, St. Juan Macias and San Francisco Solano, all Peruvian saints. Also, called the Chapel of Santa Rosa it holds the newly renovated grave of Bishop Emilio Lisson, XXVII Archbishop of Lima. Above the Door of the Oranges (Patio de los Naranjos) is a massive pipe organ, built in Belgium by Hippolyte Loret (1810-1879) and commissioned by the Archbishop of Lima XX Francisco Xavier de Luna Pizarro, which was finally restored and brought back into service in 2007.

  20. The Kings, Old Chapel (Capilla de la Antigua, Los Reyes) Formerly called the “Kings Chapel,” the “Old Chapel” as it is now called, has a neoclassical style altarpiece by the Spanish priest, architect, painter, musician, sculptor, and writer Matías Maestro Alegría (1766-1835) who also designed the two towers outside the Cathedral. The altarpiece has a seated Virgen de la Antigua (mid sixteenth century), two wooden statues, St. Mark and St. Thomas Aquinas, and colorful columns.
  21. Chapel of the Holy Family (Capilla de la Sagrada Familia)
    Continuing forward on your left, is the Chapel of the Holy Family, which contains ancient polychrome woodcarvings of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. On the walls you will see two large oval frames with images of St. Peter and St. Paul and four wooden panels that were once part of the choir stalls.

    Chapel of Our Lady of Hope

    Chapel of Our Lady of Hope

  22. Door to the Chapel. This area was once used as a baptistery after the destruction of the parish baptistery in the late nineteenth century.
  23. Chapel of Our Lady of Hope (Capilla de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza)
    The first Chapel on the left is an old baptistery with a beautiful sculpture of Our Lady of Hope (Our Lady of Sorrows) which is interestingly removed from the church and paraded along the streets of Lima during Holy Week. Most Peruvian towns have traditions resembling this! Recent restoration has revealed the ancient polychrome (antigua policromía) which is the art of painting and decorating walls, statues and bas-reliefs in a very ornamental and colorful fashion, so only now are visitors able experience the side chapels as they once were.
  24. Cathedral Choir
    The impressive choir stalls flanking the altar today, were made by Pedro de Noguera in the eighteenth century. Figures of numerous Saints, Apostles, Doctors, Popes, Bishops, virgins, etc. are seen in the stall backs. Formerly the choir was located in front of the main altar (similar position to that of the Cathedral of Mexico City). On the back of the chair (which is located on the left under the canopy) is the figure of the Redeemer. The altarpiece of the Immaculate is in the neoclassical style. Under the chancel are the crypts of the Archbishops, where the remains of almost all the pastors of Lima from Jerónimo de Loayza, the first to die, to the Cardinal Augusto Vargas Alzamora, the last to die. The neoclassical, pulpit is topped with a statue of St. John the Evangelist, and a crucifix to the left, from the Paschal Lamb. In the nave are four statues, two on each side, St. John the Evangelist, St. Peter, St. Paul and St. James all the work of the priest Matías Maestro Alegría.

 

History and Timeline

An impressive amount of design, labor and love have gone into building the church that stands here today. Always a work in progress, especially due to major damage by five earthquakes and minor damage by countless others.

Basilica Cathedral of Lima circa 1860

Basilica Cathedral of Lima circa 1860

  • 1935: On January 18th, 1535 the conqueror and founder of Lima, Francisco Pizarro (1478-1541) laid the first stone and carried on his shoulders the first log used in the construction of Lima’s first church, later to be named a Cathedral, located between the Central Plaza and what is now the Street of the Jews (Calle de Judíos).
  • 1938-1540: In 1538 the construction of the small, adobe walled and straw roofed first church was completed, and on March 11, 1540 it was officially inaugurated by Francisco Pizarro (~1471-1541).
  • 1541: Pope Paul III, Illius Fulciti Praesidio, designated the church a Cathedral on May 14th, 1541, and created the Diocese of Lima (City of Kings). The cathedral then became under the stewardship of the Saint John the Evangelist (“San Juan Evangelista”) ending its dependence on Cusco under the supervision of Seville.
  • 1542: In 1542, the cathedral underwent several improvements and minor expansion, paid for by García de Salcedo.

    St Matthew Statue at the Lima Cathedral

    Statue of St Matthew outside Lima Cathedral

  • 1543: Bishop Jerónimo de Loayza signed the “Lima Cathedral Construction Act” on September 17th, 1543, and elected its first council.
  • 1546: The church was named a Metropolitan Church and become an Archdiocese by Papal decree in 1546.
  • 1551: The second cathedral was inaugurated in 1551, by Archbishop Jerónimo de Loayza.
  • 1564: Archbishop Jerónimo de Loayza assigned the task of redesigning the Cathedral to Alonso Beltrán, with instructions to base his design on the Gothic style Cathedral of Seville in Spain.
  • 1572: Work on the third Cathedral began with the demolition of the adobe walls of the second cathedral, but the project quickly stalled because of the high cost.
  • 1598: The Renaissance architect Francisco Becerra reduced the plans to only three aisles, plus two chapels. Works on the third Cathedral were then recommenced.
  • 1604: Archbishop Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo inaugurated the first part of the third Cathedral on February 2nd, 1604.
  • 1609: An Earthquake destroyed the vaults of the recently built structure in 1609.
  • 1614-1615: The old Renaissance vaults were rebuilt in a Gothic style and at a deeper level to resist earthquakes.
  • 1622: First Mass was held in the mostly finished third Cathedral on August 15th, 1622.
  • 1625: Archbishop Gonzalo de Ocampo consecrated the third Lima Cathedral on October 19th, 1625.
  • 1626: Pedro de Noguera and Juan Martínez de Arona designed the main entryway door: the Door of Forgiveness (Puerta del Perdón).
  • Cathedral of Lima circa 1687

    Painting of the Cathedral of Lima showing 1687 Earthquake

    1687: Most of the vaults of the Cathedral were destroyed in an earthquake and as the third cathedral was being built, repairs began quickly.

  • 1697: Reconstruction of the Cathedral was finished and it was officially inaugurated on December 7th, 1697.
  • 1732: Two additional entries were designed: the Door of the Gospe (Puerta del Evangelio), and the Door of the Epistle (Puerta de la Epístola) and completed in 1732.
  • 1746: An Earthquake destroyed many vaults and pillars.
  • 1755: Damaged ten years earlier, the first part of the rebuilt Cathedral was inaugurated on May 29th, 1755.
  • 1758: All the damage from the 1746 finally repaired, the second part of the rebuilt Cathedral was inaugurated on December 8th, 1758.
  • Painting by Lieutenant William Lewis Herndon

    1854 Painting by Lieutenant William Lewis Herndon

    1778: The interior of the Cathedral was renovated and inaugurated by Archbishop Diego Antonio de Parada on December 8th, 1778.

  • 1794-1797: Construction of the outside towers of the Cathedral, designed by the architect Ignacio Martorell took four years to complete.
  • 1893: In disrepair and in serious need of renovation on January 17th, 1893, sadly this closed.
  • 1896: Internal renovation works were begun on January 7th, 1896.
  • 1898:  Six years after closing to the public, the renovated Cathedral was reopen and inaugurated on January 6th, 1898.
  • 1940: A devastating earthquake destroyed most of the entire cathedral and a complete restoration ensued led by Emilio Harth-Terré.
  • 1977: A large pipe organ, built in Belgium by Hippolyte Loret was restored in 2007
  • 2005: New lights were installed in the interior and exterior.

Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) 1. Inside the Lima Cathedral courtesy Bobak Ha’Eri/Wikimedia Commons, composite work JK Perú,  2. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala at Mass courtesy Prensa Presidencia/ANDINA NEWS, 3. Basilica Cathedral of Lima Floor Plan by JK Perú, 4. Door of Forgiveness at the Lima Cathedral courtesy Juan Manuel Parra/Wikimedia Commons, 5. Tomb of Francisco Pizarro courtesy Manuel González Olaechea and Franco/Wikimedia Commons, Enhancements: JK Perú, 6. St John the Baptist Chapel Lima courtesy JustoMedio News, 7. Saint Toribio Chapel by JK Perú, 8. Catedral de Lima courtesy ANDINA NEWS, 9. St Joseph Chapel Lima by JK Perú, 10. High Altar at the Cathedral of Lima by JK Perú, 11. Organ at the Basilica Cathedral of Lima by JK Perú, 12. Chapel of Our Lady of Hope by JK Perú, 13. Basilica Cathedral of Lima circa 1860 courtesy French photographer Eugene Maunoury – Dobleclick/Wikimedia Commons, 14. St Matthew Statue at the Lima Cathedral courtesy AgainErick/Wikimedia Commons, 15. Cathedral of Lima circa 1687 Painting: Anonymous/Cathedral of Lima by  JK Perú, 16. Basilica Cathedral of Lima Painting courtesy William Maury Morris II/Wikimedia Commons. Optionally, click on images for full credits.

Peru Independence Day Celebration Inauguration Event

Peru Independence Day Celebration Inauguration Event

painting about Peru's independence from Spain

Peru declares its independence from Spain in 1821

The Peruvian Independence Day Celebration officially consists of three days: June 24th which is Country Persons day, July 28th, is celebrates the day José de San Martín proclaimed Peru’s independence and July 29th is reserved to honor the Armed Forces and National Police of Peru. The celebration is typically considered a week-long and there are many related and unrelated festivities.

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During the last two weeks of July you will see most homes, businesses and all governmental offices displaying the Peruvian red and white colors using ribbons, bows and of course the flag.

 

July 28th, 2013 Presidential Address

President Ollanta Humala Addresses the Nation

On the Morning of July 28th Every Year:
8:00 AM Starting early in the morning there are several Catholic Masses and churches all over the republic that usher in the day’s festivities. As the Catholic Church is the official church of the state, the state run television (TV Peru, channel 7) and most other stations cover the masses especially a mass attended later by the president.

8:30 AM The president attends a ceremonial mass at Lima Cathedral (la Catedral de Lima) initiating the day’s events. The Lima Cathedral is located on the Plaza de Armas de Lima and you can differentiate it from all of the other churches and buildings because it is the most ornate and largest all white church with two twin towers striding its entrance. In the Plaza de Armas standing with your back to the palace, it is across the plaza on the left.

Peruvian President and Ministers on steps of Presidential Palace

President and his Ministers are saluted by the Presidential Guard

10:30 AM The Presidential Guard makes preparation for the president to walk from the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) to the congress (Congreso de la República) located five blocks away at Ancash 542. To locate the congressional building (Congreso de la República) stand on Junin Street (Jirón Junín) with your back to the palace and walk to your left (against traffic) four blocks to Ayacucho and turn left and go one block and you are there.

11:00 AM Congress makes Declarations until the president arrives.

Soldier on Horse Guarding Peru's Presidential Palace

Peruvian Presidential Guard

11:30 AM The president Addresses the Nation (Mensaje a la Nación) for about 45 minutes from the Congressional Chamber. This is arguably the most important and most watched address the president will make for the year, so bear with the politics and lack of brevity.

12:30 AM The president and the ministers make their way back in a procession from congress to the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) stopping to talk to reporters and greet the public.

12:50 AM The president is presented with honors and a brief display by the Presidential Guard on Horse (Reglamento Mariscal Domingo Nieto) which includes gallantry and a great deal of saluting in front of the Palace. The horses and the riders are really spectacular, however brief. The president then goes on to attend to the many events of the day, including a state reception reception and dinner with international foreign dignitaries and the country begins its two-day celebration (and pundits analyze the president’s speech on television).

All over the country there are parades and events so go out an experience the celebration with everyone. The celebration generally starts on July 27th with fireworks and extends until July 29th. Tonight’s festivities are the general star attraction. Many people celebrate the night of the 27th so expect some to be sleeping it off early on the 28th. They will come out around 5 PM in general, but this varies according to the town and its event schedule. Evening concerts, food and drink are most common. Fireworks are generally not part of the festivities on the 28th (but you might catch some informal flashes now and then).

Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) 1. JK Perú, Copyright National Museum of the Archaeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru by artist Juan Lepiani (1864-1933),  2. President Addressing Nation Peru, TV Perú (http://www.tvperu.gob.pe/) 3. President of Peru and Ministers Saluted by Guard, TV Perú (http://www.tvperu.gob.pe/) 4. RPP/GRUPORPP S.A.C. http://www.rpp.com.pe

Peruvian Great Military Parade

Peruvian Great Military Parade

Naval troops march by residents of Lima

Naval troops march by residents of Lima

Each year on July 29th Peru honors its military and police and continues to celebrate the anniversary of Peru’s independence from Spain. Parades are held in many municipalities throughout Peru, but no parade is bigger or displays more pomp than the Great Military Parade held in Lima. The Civic Military Parade proceeds along a 30 block stretch of Brasil Avenue through the districts of Breña, Jesus Maria, Pueblo Libre and Magdalena del Mar, beginning at 10:00 AM. The parade is commanded and viewed in a special section by the president along with his family, members of the Council of Ministers of Peru, members of Congress, other civil officials, religious leaders, the Diplomatic Corps of Peru, invited officers, personnel of the Armed Forces, the National Police along, other invited guests, and the general public.

Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Police delight attendees with their gallant march, spectacular uniforms, arms and vehicles including tanks, trucks, and artillery.

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8:00 AM Parade organizers prepare and assemble. Fans begin to gather.

9:00 AM Television coverage begins and the media interviews primarily those in uniform  who will be marching.

9:45 AM Parade officials arrive at the official review stands.

10:00 AM The President of Peru as the supreme commander of the Armed Forces and the National Police of Peru (PNP) stands in of honor and commands the troops to begin the traditional parade.

President Ollanta Humala at Military ParadeBands enter the parade and march past the president. Then, a proper marchpast of the Peruvian Navy (with overhead flight displays from Naval Aviation aircraft), Peruvian Air Force (with Flypast’s overhead), Peruvian Army (with flypast’s overhead of Army Aviation Craft) and the Peruvian National Police, Mounted Police and others. Every year there are differing displays, parade locations and participants such as Cadets, Alumni, Veterans, Civilian Groups and even Firefighters.

2:30 PM The Parade ends at the viewing stand at about 2:30 PM, but depending on where you are watching, the Parade may still be passing by for hours.

Sweet Corn Tamales

Peruvian Sweet Corn Humitas

Proud Peruvians take advantage of the opportunity to get out on a much needed day off from work and watch their military brethren pass by in spender. To fuel their hungers, droves of Street Vendors come out in force as well on this day and supply the masses with much needed nourishment. Early in the morning you can of course find hot beverages like: coffee, emollients, and el quaker or juices and Chicha with the typical Peruvian Morning Sandwiches and of course Humitas to feed people who rush out to get a good position (skipping breakfast at home). Later all kinds of lunch items like Causa Rellena, Anticuchos, Papas a la Huancaína, Peruvian Sweet Potato Doughnuts (Picarones) and many more dishes are served with food trucks moving in on nearby streets to join in the feeding frenzy. The trucks serve up major fair such as Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo) Ceviche and just about every other Peruvian favorite.

Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) 1. Great Military Parade Lima, ANDINA News Agency 2. President Ollanta Humala at Military Parade, Peruvian Presidential Press Office/ANDINA News Agency 3. Street Food Peru Humitas, ANDINA News Agency

Fast Food and Peru

Statement by the Economist is off by up to 1000%

Statement by the Economist is off by up to 1000%

In a slowly progressing series of global media blunders news agencies like the Economist, Bloomberg* and our own beloved Peru this Week†† made outlandish claims about Peru having the highest density of fast-food restaurants in the world. Thankfully for Peru, all such claims were and still are untrue. However, the real story that the Fast-Food Industry has their sights set on Peru and has targeted large subsets of its wealthier population in ways never seen before never made it to light.

Bloomberg news organizations sensationalizes its own data causing a worldwide misinformation creep.

Bloomberg news organizations sensationalizes its own data causing a worldwide misinformation creep.

Last year Bloomberg, a news organization, put out what it calls a “Ranking” of “Fast-Food Density” which is a table entitled: “FAST-FOOD FIXES PER SQUARE MILE”  showing the following columns:

  • Rank
  • Country
  • Total fast-food establishments
  • Stores per urban agglomeration square mile
  • Distance to travel for fast food (miles)
  • Stores per 100,000 urban agglomeration population, adjusted for urban poverty

In this Ranking it names Peru as #1. So what is Peru #1 at? What does this table mean? In truth, unless you are an industry insider not much! It is all about marketing, not consumer demand, consumption or popularity! The so-called ranking is neither a scientific study nor a non-scientific grouping of useful outside the industry data. Frankly it is a poorly constructed list that is faulty in nearly every way and can’t even be considered useful or raw data for the industry. Peru is in no way first in anything related to do with fast-food, except that in certain pools, of certain customers living close to certain stores the industry has targeted those specific Peruvians in a greater way than in other similar places. Very conditional data, extremely, complex (and inaccurate at that) only intended to be used to say a specific thing about industry marketing and store proximity. Unfortunately, news agencies (including Bloomberg) either did not read the table carefully, misunderstood what is fundamentally faulty and misleading or just wanted to sensationalize assuming because it comes from Bloomberg that it must be OK.

bad data and sensationalism

Quoting bad info, “Peru this Week” furthers unfounded claims about Peru’s love for fast-food.

I’m all for stopping the spread of fast-food everywhere, especially in my backyard. I doubt that Bloomberg, a news agency for Wall Street is interested in curbing fast-food consumption. If the data were true I’d be all over it. Bloomberg has put out some industry related data and then sensationalized it to mean something it is not. Too bad they did because many other news agencies have picked up the so-called story and added their own inaccuracies to it. To further exacerbate, even more news agencies pickup the stories by the secondary news agencies and repeated the now twisted false conclusions and yet twisted them again!

Just because fast-food is bad for you, the environment, the economy, culture, and the planet doesn’t mean that shoddy reporting is acceptable. So shame on Bloomberg for putting out sensationalized data, then further sensationalizing it in their own media, and shame on the other news agencies like the Economist and anyone else that didn’t check their facts. The Economist falsely claimed that “Peru has the highest density of fast-food joints in the world.” (sic) which is a complete and utter fabrication of facts. One could say that Peru has the highest density of fast-food joints, in certain areas, targeted to very specific markets compared to only 34 other specifically targeted countries.

Sloppy reporting misleads readers and many other news agencies.

Sloppy reporting misleads readers and many other news agencies.

A Look at the So-Called Ranking

Though if carefully read, and if not taken very seriously, the original report, which is largely a table and some dense disclaimer text, is not incredibly inaccurate. The problem is that report headlines and table headings do not clearly state that the data only reflects rich people living in poor countries. Further when told by an arm of the agency that authored the report very sensationalized and misleading statements were included opening a window of opportunity for others to pick up and propagate the misunderstood data.

  1. Neither a study nor scientific, the ranking only includes what it calls emerging consumer market countries and it fails, miserably, to readily give a full basis and clear description for what that criteria is. The criteria is paramount to understanding the data set. Rather, Bloomberg relies on a complex subset of what the industry seems to have named as emerging markets. This alone would make any claim that any of the countries listed rank anywhere specifically when compared to the rest of the world, untrue. Nonetheless, news report after news report all across the globe have included headlines and statements to the effect that Peru leads the world in some way related to fast-food and they directly or indirectly rely on this ranking. Assuming the information published in the ranking is correct, which you will see it is not, one could only (falsely) draw the conclusion that of the countries in the data sample Peru was the leader (of what exactly?). Why aren’t the massive fast-food consuming countries even listed? Because this list includes only a subset of nations that are NOT developed, and with further limitations only 34 countries qualify for this sample. So claims about the world can hardly be drawn from this small target!
  2. The Ranking does measure how close stores are to consumers and specifically only those customers that they think have enough money to buy their fast-food. They say: “To best measure the impact of fast foods on these markets, the population data were adjusted to exclude urban poverty.” which means if you included the poorer people, the ranking stores would be much further from everyone. Peru is still a third world country, though they are considered by fast-food to be an emerging market. So again, a higher density of certain people (with money) are closer to fast-food in Peru compared to 34 other countries. But if you compared all Peruvians or all countries in the world, such as the United States, Peru would be nowhere near the top, they would be near the bottom. Probably, less than 31% of Peru’s population qualifies to be listed in their urban agglomeration (I can’t even say that) and then the target population would be further reduced by poverty. As one can quickly see, the targeted population is a small percentage of the total population. Claims than most Peruvians live within a kilometer of a KFC doesn’t hold water. I don’t, I live five times that distance and it is the only KFC for hundreds of kilometers (in Huancayo, Peru). Yet, for my income I’m pretty close to one and I am well targeted. But Huancayo has five of their target Fast-Food restaurants which are roughly one per 100,000 people. This is very low. In the USA there are places where there are more than five McDonald’s per 100,000 people. Huancayo Peru could never support 25 McDonald’s restaurants (it doesn’t even have one), let alone all the other chains combined, so claims made by reporters are so obviously off the mark I wonder how anyone would believe them?
  3. The Ranking uses multiple sources for differing countries to pool stores into urban agglomeration population clusters. This is a big NO, NO** as the differing sources use differing criteria. This alone sets this data apart from science. It is by this standard that the data must be flawed. They say: “SOURCES: “The 2011 Urban Blue Book” published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; 2010 Census of China; Demographia World Urban Areas, 8th Annual Edition, 2012; PBS Frontline report on Iran (2011); The World Bank; “World Urbanization Prospects, The 2011 Revision” published by the U.N. Department of Economic & Social Affairs”. Sure for marketing purposes it might fly, but to make definitive claims–absolutely not. No reporter should touch this except in the context of a marketing report.
bloomberg methodology misinterpreted

Report includes only rich citizens in poor countries and excludes nearly all the worlds population.

So What is this Ranking About and What Does is Really Say?

The Ranking was intended for the fast-food industry only, and has been unfortunately sensationalized in the media, a trend started by Bloomberg itself. The data points to the degree of ‘agglomeration’ that has been used (to likely achieve efficiencies in target marketing and distribution) by fast-food firms in locating near each other within pools of highly dense areas of targeted customers only. When you strip away all of that target marketing speak, the data says ZERO about the amount of fast-food Peruvians consume, ZERO about how close all Peruvians are to fast-food (even in cities), ZERO about how much Peruvians spend on fast food, ZERO about how often they consume it, ZERO about the degree to which fast-food restaurants are located in Peru compared to other places, cities or markets, ZERO about the health impacts of fast-food consumption in Peru, or anything else that many of the various news reports claim.

To sum it up, the ranking should not be used to show that Peru, or its cities are any more or less affected or centered around fast-food except to say they have certain people in certain places that are being marketed too more densely (on a location basis) than a group of other countries of high growth interest.

So yes Peru, be afraid, be very, very afraid because you are the leader in target marketing. Big horrible businesses that want to infect your culture and your citizen’s bodies have set you squarely in their sights and you are willingly welcoming them!

I don’t ever eat at fast food chains. Ever! I can’t stand the horrible food and the health scourge that they represent to the whole world. Sure, I do not always eat healthily, but I do my best to minimize the consumption of junk food, fast food, prepared food, and restaurant food. I want to control what goes into my body as closely as possible and as often as practical. So if I’m going to eat fried food, fat laden food, sugary sensations, I’m going to do so infrequently and in personally meaningful ways. Sitting in a KFC is never meaningful to me.

 *     Quigley, John & Altstedter, Ari Altstedter, et al. (2012, October 14). Re: BLOOMBERG RANKINGS, FAST-FOOD DENSITY [Marketing report Ranking prepred by Bloomberg/BLOOMBERG L.P.]. Retrieved from http://media.bloomberg.com/bb/avfile/rIzf1tdABcAE
†     The Economist, et al. (2013, July 27). Re: The Economist: economist.com and Mexico City print edition [Print and online story about obesity and fast food]. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21582273-waistlines-grow-so-does-fight-against-junk-food-battle-bulge
**     Wikipedia, et al. (2013, July 28). Re: Wikipedia: Urban agglomeration […it can be problematic to compare different agglomerations around the world.]. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_agglomeration
††     Ortiz, Diego M., et al. (2013, July 25). Re: Peru: malnutrition and obesity side by side: Peru this Week [Online story about obesity and fast food]. Retrieved from http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-peru-malnutrition-and-obesity-side-by-side-100472

Peru Maintains Lead: World Top Culinary Destination and More!

Dancers at Huaca Pucllana Temple in Lima

Peruvian Dancers Entertain at Huaca Pucllana Temple in Lima

For the second year in a row, Peru was named South America’s Leading Culinary Destination by the World Travel Awards, which is considered by some to be ‘the Oscars of the travel industry’.

Machu Picchu always a poster child

2013 South & Central America Gala Ceremony Poster

Last December the same organization named Peru the ‘World’s Leading Culinary Destination’. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the organization accepts votes from the general public and travel industry members. This is good news for Peru and there can be no doubt now, after a ground swelling of international awards and accolades that Peru has emerged as the greatest place for foodies to travel to. Earlier this year, the leading British magazine Stylist named Lima one of “the ten locations where the culinary-minded should be heading this year.”

 

Food and Travel awards for Peru

Accepting Two Awards, Maria del Carmen de Reparaz of PromPeru

PromPeru, the Peruvian Commission of Export and Tourism, was named the continent’s leading tourist board. Peru’s Deputy Tourism Minister, Claudia Cornejo told the Andina news agency: “There is greater confidence to consolidate tourism as the country’s second largest source of foreign currency, in view of the efforts deployed to further increase visitor arrivals in the country,”.

For the fifth year in a row, Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport was acclaimed South America’s Leading Airport along with the Ramada Costa Del Sol Lima Airport Hotel which was named South America’s Leading Airport Hotel. In addition to this top honor, some of Peru’s other hotels got top honors too. The Swissôtel Lima was named South America’s Leading Business Hotel, the Miraflores Park Hotel was named South America’s Leading City Hotel and the JW Marriott Hotel Lima was named South America’s Leading Hotel. The up and coming has arrived as the Hilton Lima Miraflores was named South America’s Leading New Hotel. Additionally given awards, as leading hotels in Peru, the Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado was named Peru’s Leading Resort and Sonesta Posadas del Inca Sacred Valley was named Peru’s Leading Boutique Hotel.

Andean Explorer Train

PeruRail’s Andean Explorer wins the 2013 “South America’s Leading Luxury Train” award

To round things out nicely, PeruRail’s Andean Explorer was named South America’s Leading Luxury Train for the second year in a row. PeruRail is the Peruvian-British company of the Orient-Express Corporation, which operates luxury train destinations to Cusco, Urubamba Valley, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Puno & Lake Titicaca. This was a doubly sweet award for Orient-Express as they also won an award for their Miraflores Park Hotel.

Huaca Pucllana adobe and clay pyramid

A wonderful backdrop for Peru winning yet another award for travel and food!

The awards were held at the pre-Inca Huaca Pucllana Temple ruins located in the Miraflores district of central Lima, on July 20th, 2013. The ruins were an impressive backdrop for the awards given, which in addition to Peru, the city of Quito, Ecuador captured the title of South America’s Leading Destination. Graham Cooke, president and founder of World Travel Awards, said: “The Central & South American region continues to serve as an example of innovative and passionate tourism promotion as well as offering the most unique hospitality products and services. Peru strives to set the highest possible bar to raise the standards of excellence in travel and tourism and it has been an honour to hold the Central & South America World Travel Awards here for the first time.”

Who decides who will win the World Travel Awards? You do. To vote in the future go to their website and cast your ballot for best in the world. I hope you visit Peru and cast your ballot favorably!

Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) 1. Peruvian Dancers courtesy World Travel Awards,  2. Poster courtesy World Travel Awards copyright PromPeru, 3. Maria del Carmen de Reparaz courtesy World Travel Awards, 4. Andean Explorer courtesy PeruRail/Orient-Express Corporation, 5. Huaca Pucllana temple ruins courtesy World Travel Awards.