The district of Barranco is considered one of Lima’s most romantic and relaxed neighbourhoods. Visitors of the Peruvian capital city can find in this area several old churches and museums and also many casual bars, nightclubs and restaurants to sample the varied and exiting Peruvian cuisine
. This is also the district that claims having invented the renowned “Pisco-Sour”
, which is considered Peru’s national drink. Many of Lima´s music venues are located here which include folk singing and dance shows.
Barranco is deemed a middle class district where many of Peru's leading artists, musicians, designers and photographers live and work. In the 19th-century, with many old houses and beautiful summer gardens, it used to be a beach resort for Lima´s aristocracy. Currently, Barranco's beach still attracts visitors from many areas of Lima and is a favourite among international surfing enthusiasts.
The name Barranco (Spanish for ravine) describes the topography of the district’s most characteristic place. It’s a deep ravine that connects the hills with the beaches that features houses of interesting architecture and many restaurants on and near a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Connecting both sides of the ravine there is a bridge called Puente de los Suspiros
(Bridge of Sighs). The bridge is source of a romantic legend about the daughter of a wealthy man who lived in one of the grand houses overlooking the ravine. She fell desperately in love with a lowly street sweeper. Her father definitely forbade the relationship and she spent the rest of her life in solitude waiting at her window for a glance of her beloved. Supposedly those who walk across the bridge can still hear her yearning sighs.
On one side of the ravine, across the bridge, there is a park with a statue honouring internationally famous Chabuca Granda
(1920-1983), Peru’s most beloved poet, composer and folk singer, a former Barranco resident. Among Chabuca’s most popular songs is “La Flor de la Canela”
(Cinnamon Flower), the melody of which is interpreted here
by the Toronto based Canadian group Quartetto Gelato
Next to the park and Chabuca Granda’s statue is an old church-like building called La Ermita
(the Hermitage) which origin is also attributed to an ancient legend dating from the mid eighteenth century (1750). The legend tells of a group of fishermen getting lost in the fog at sea. They were able to get their bearings from an illuminated cross that appeared on the coast, right at the place where later on the religious building or chapel was built by the fishermen to celebrate the miracle.
There is also a dark side to the history of Barranco, its old romantic bridge and the legendary La Ermita
chapel. The village was looted, burnt and virtually destroyed in the invasion and occupation of Lima
by the Chilean Army during the War of the Pacific
which took place between 1879 and 1883.