From Spain’s gold riches to the history of the pisco sour, there are numerous must-see museums in Lima. Housed in 16th and 17th century buildings, stepping into one of these fascinating places is like going back in time. If you’re keen to learn about Peru’s rich and complex history, here are our pick of its best museums.
Peruse an 18th century vice-royal building looking at pre-Columbian art and artifacts. The museum holds galleries that give a chronological overview of thousands of years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history. The museum is famous for its collection of erotic pre-Columbian pottery and pre-Columbian jewelry. It also has a gift shop where you can buy quality reproductions of the art seen here.
During the Spanish Inquisition, heretics and heathens were tortured and burnt at the stake for their religious beliefs. This museum takes you on a tour through this dark moment of Peruvian history, displaying the torture devices used by the Spanish on those who did not accept Christianity. Walk through the eerie hallways to find mannequins placed in these Spanish torture devices. The museum offers tours that further explain the effects the Inquisition had on Peruvian history.
There’s nothing typical about this museum, except that it has the word in its name. It’s not quiet, there are no glass cases displaying ancient artifacts, and it’s not officially recognized by the city as a museum. Nonetheless, it is a fun place to go and learn something new. One part how-to tutorials and one part bar. Museo Pisco offers everything from bartending classes on how to make Peru’s favorite pisco cocktails to the history of this popular spirit. Enjoy everything Museo Pisco has to offer while drinking a pisco sour.
This museum has Lima’s largest collection of photography, paintings, pottery, decorations and artifacts. In addition to pre-Columbian and Colonial art, MALI also has a large collection of contemporary Peruvian art. With multiple areas to experience, plan to spend more than a couple of hours exploring the entirety of this museum.
The museum is Miguel Mujica Gallo’s private collection of gold, silver, textiles and precious metals made throughout his lifetime. Despite the accusations that the majority of gold pieces in the museum are fakes, the museum is a must-visit if only to see some of the gold riches that drove the Spanish mad with greed. There is also a weapons museum on its grounds, with over 20,000 colonial weapons.