The Great Military Parade of Peru, held every July 29 on Brasil Avenue in Lima, is the largest festivity in the weeklong Fiestas Patrias celebrating Peruvian independence.

Peru’s independence day is July 28, but on that day the Plaza de Armas is the center of action when the president attends an annual mass at the Cathedral of Lima led by the Lima archbishop which concludes in singing the Te Deum hymn. The president then delivers a legally mandated Message to the Nation speech before Congress.

The Great Military Parade, the largest event of the weeklong independence celebrations, is held on July 29. Peru’s military shows off all its guns, bazookas, tanks, uniforms ranging from jungle warfare to urban riots, cavalry and all other rank of soldier in a daylong march down Brasil Avenue.

The parade starts at 10 a.m., but you have to get there early if you want a seat or view. We arrived after 11 a.m. with my two-year-old in tow, so no chance of a seat. Fortunately I was tall enough to reach over this crowd with the camera to get the pictures in this article, but the boy’s patience didn’t allow me to stay for more than an hour.

Helicopters flying overhead in formation.

An all-female combat unit.

I imagine this is a special-operations unit battling drug trafficking and the Shining Path in the jungle.

Another hardcore unit, I imagine for night operations.

Marching band.

Dress uniforms from the 19th century, probably what Peru’s soldiers wore during the War of the Pacific.

Color guard.

Fusiliers.

A World War II tank bought from the United States which probably saw action during the Peru-Ecuador War. The elderly gentleman perched in the cockpit looks like he could be a veteran.

Cavalry. Many more uniforms and presentations of horseback soldiers in the pictures below.

I was only there for a short time, so these pics cover only a few of the total number of units across military branches and law enforcement that march. See this photo essay from La Republica for more pictures.

Far from my spot, President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki caused a little controversy when he stood up to dance “valicha” during the military performance.

Location and info

The Great Military Parade of Peru is held every July 29 starting at 10 a.m. The route starts at the southern end of Brasil Avenue in Magdalena del Mar and proceeds north into Breña and downtown.

Approaching the parade route is restricted to specific access points, which may vary year to year. Below is an example. They’re never more than a couple blocks apart, so you can either search online or just show up and follow the crowds. If you don’t like crowds, the parade is broadcast on all of Peru’s network channels.

Pictures

For high-res slideshow viewing, see the Great Military Parade of Peru album on the Lima City of Kings Facebook page.

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