Antiques, Second-Hand Shops, and Saving Historical Buildings in Lima


For those with a taste for style and an interest in history, Lima is a great place to be. The city is currently in the midst of a broad movement towards recuperating and making use of forgotten relics of the past.

Using creativity to make forgotten antiques into high-value items

(Photo: Max Pixel)

There are many businesses in the city that are giving forgotten antiques a new chance at life. For example, you can now buy lamp standards which have been converted from theodolite tripods that were once used by surveyors. You can also find glass bottles once used by pharmacies to store medicines, which home decor shops sell for use in the kitchen. In houses and hotels across the city, you’ll see wooden chests, old doors or fallen tree trunks that people have repurposed into coffee tables.

In looking at peoples’ creativity, we can see that there’s no limit to what we can do with forgotten things. You can bring anything back to life in order to use again as decoration in your home or office. Popular objects for doing this include jewelry, first edition books, clothes, furniture, musical instruments, toys, household items, tools, watches, and cameras. The list is long because everything can be brought back to life as decoration in the home or office.

Great places within Lima to check-out antiques

Great finds in Lima’s second-hand stores

(Photo: Flickr)

In Lima’s second-hand or antique stores, you can find republican-era or colonial art, popular art that has gone out of fashion, or ancient relics from the highlands. Sometimes, a specific historical figure can spur cult interest in the objects they used. For example, there’s Jorge Bustamante and his collection from the middle of the 20th Century, which is on show at Vernissage Arte y Antigüedades. There’s also Orlando Espinosa and his Art Deco collection, which you can find in El Desvan, both in the district of San Isidro. Within Lima you’ll find entire streets devoted to antique shops, such as La Paz Avenue in Miraflores, Junin next to Mercado Nº 2 de Surquillo or the road down from La Molina. Normally these stores offer more of a carefully chosen selection than what can be found in the more popular second-hand markets.

Find second-hand items

Large investment and building restoration

(Photo: Flickr)

There’s also many businesses and organizations that are making big investments in order to recover important buildings. This work helps to give these structures a deeper sense of purpose, thus ensuring the conservation of a rich historical heritage. If people didn’t do this, it’s likely that these landmarks would succumb to the modern appetite to put up new buildings.

You’ll also find large houses in transformation. This is true of the Hotel B in Barranco, which offers sophisticated and exclusive rooms; the Goyeneche mansion, which belongs to the Banco de Credito, or the Riva Agüero mansion, which houses the Museum of Popular Art and Traditions.

It’s also worth noting that Arte Express has contributed much to the restoration of old buildings in the historic center of Lima. This company has restored some of the capital’s emblematic buildings, many of them dating from the beginning of the 20th Century. They’ve converted them into banks, offices, stores, and technology businesses.

A particularly noteworthy example can be found in the Constitutional Province of Callao. A group of investors has restored the traditional Casa Ronald and several buildings around the Main Square, which are used for different cultural and gastronomic initiatives, including art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.

World Monuments Fund is also an important institution that in Peru is restoring and safeguarding a rich heritage. At present, it is undertaking new projects under the guidance of photographer Mario Testino. Four of these are in Cusco, one in Arequipa, and four in the Department of Lima. These projects include the church of San Cristobal de Rapaz in the northern highlands, the terraces of Laraos in the south, the Quinta de Presa in the district of Rimac, and the Ermita in Barranco. The Quinta de Presa is a particularly interesting building which dates from the middle of the 18th Century, although the existing building, in the neo-gothic style, was erected at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Find out more about restoration and historic buildings






Credit: Ultimate Journeys Peru

Photo Credit: Ultimate Journeys Peru



Diego Oliver is a Peruvian writer and author whose work can be found in the travel magazine Ultimate Journeys. He loves to focus on Peruvian culture both modern and classic, traveling the country, as well as social responsibility.