After its founding by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima (originally named 'La Ciudad de los Reyes') soon became the commercial and administrative centre of the Spanish empire in South America, bringing a period of prosperity to the city until an earthquake in 1746 destroyed all but 20 houses. Following this devastation the opportunity was taken to elaborately rebuild the city. Today's wide streets, huge plazas and old houses with ornately carved balconies are a legacy of this period.
Lima's international airport is well served by the regoinal airlines, making it easy to get to from most countries in South America. While there are no direct flights from the UK, airlines such as Iberia, KLM and Air France connect Lima easily with London through their European hubs, usually taking about 15 hours. British Airways and American Airlines can be used to reach Lima via Miami.