Lima was founded on the only fertile plain of Peru, accessible to Spanish ships and large enough to house a city. Cerro San Cristóbal is located in the city north of the old town, on the other side of the river. The mountain has a historical and religious significance. It is said that the Incas attacked the Spaniards a year after the founding of Lima in 1535 and conquered the mountain, while the Spaniards defended the center of the city. The hill is also a place of pilgrimage: every year at Easter and the first Sunday in May, there is a great procession to the summit.
Lima from above
There are not many places to see Lima from above. Cerro San Cristóbal is one of them. Another viewpoint is the Morro Solar in Chorrillios. On clear days, the view extends to the different neighborhoods. Particularly striking are the Plaza de Mayor, the bullring, the stadium and the coastal district of Miraflores. Cerro San Cristóbal is still considered a privileged council among visitors to Lima.
The Cerro San Cristobal from below
Cerro San Cristóbal is 409 meters high and stands out from the other flat city. At the top there is a cross built in 1928 and illuminated at night. As early as 1535, the Spaniards established a cross, in a place that was clearly visible from the city of that time. On the one hand, this cross was religious, on the other hand, it was supposed to indicate the Spanish victory over the Incas. It is said that the founder of the city, Francisco Pizarro, prayed for the salvation of the enemy, so the river swelled and made it impossible for the Incas stationed on the mountain to reach the city. That is why Pizarro named the mountain after San Cristóbal, who, according to tradition, took Jesus across the river and is also the patron saint of travelers. From several points of the city, a mosaic of colorful houses attracts attention – informal settlements, which were built on the flanks of Cerro San Cristóbal.
On the slopes of Cerro San Cristóbal are the informal settlements already mentioned, which should be avoided on foot. A taxi to the top of the mountain costs around 15 soles (just under 5 euros). From Plaza de Armas it is also possible to take a bus to Cerro for 10 Soles. Even a very narrow road leads through the poorest settlements in Lima. A visit is also worth it at dusk, when the lights of the city stand out against the orange light on the horizon.