Tuesday, 21 April 2009

In Carabayllo ever expanding Lima is devouring the countryside

Lima – 18 april 2009 – In the north of Lima, the district of Carabayllo, the city is expanding quickly. The agricultural land is divided into parcels and sold. A large part of the district is still agricultural land surrounding the river Chillón, but the city is rapidly advancing to house its ever growing number of inhabitants. In 1961 the country had 10 million inhabitants of which 1.8 lived in Lima (18%). According to the last census of 2007 Lima Metropolitana has a population of 8.5 million on a total of 27.4 million (31%). There are two main developments regarding construction: the city is spreading in the outlying districts and the city is exchanging single houses for apartment buildings in the central districts.

During these last 40 years millions of people have come from the countryside to Lima looking for a better life, safety from earthquakes and the terrorism of Shining Path in the 80-ies and 90-ies. In this period the migrants invaded the land and built their dwellings. Those urbanizations have been more or less legalized. Individuals, private companies and the government are now constructing houses in Carabayllo. You see streets lined with kiosks selling parcels of land for as much as 60 US dollars. But established real estate agents as Alfredo Graf are selling terrains as well, 120 square meters in the urbanización Santo Domingo in Carabayllo costs now 25,000 dollars.

Historical heritage in grave danger

With the advance of city the cultural heritage is severely under pressure. The area with the huaca Huacoy in Carabayllo, a unique U shaped temple dating from 1,500 years before Christ, is already divided into parcels and up for sale. A sign even says: lotes en oferta! Carabayllo is one of the poorest areas of Lima and the local government does not have money for the historical sites. Of which there are a lot: several huacas, a big defensive wall from the Colli lordship of around 1,100 AD and haciendas. Haciendas with a history. In the hacienda Santiago de Punchauca viceroy de La Serna met on June 2nd 1821 the leader of the Independence armies general San Martín to talk about a peaceful transition. San Martín proposed a constitutional monarchy under a Borbon prince from Spain. De La Serna was appointed by his generals and consulted them. They did not see anything in the plan, as they still hoped to win the war. Now Punchauca is falling apart and is being used as a public toilet.

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