Cercado is how Peruvians refer to the downtown area or city center. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lima’s downtown district features plazas, government buildings and churches bigger and more grandiose than any other Latin American city we have visited. While there are areas with prostitution and drugs, and walking late at night can be dangerous, Lima’s city center is safer than most of its South American counterparts.
The Viceroyalty of Peru was the capital of Spanish South America for over 200 years. While Mexico City governed Central America and the Caribbean, Spain ruled over its South American territories from Lima. Hence the nickname, Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings).
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