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The Osambela family house

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A colonial house

Translated by Chloe Mckeown — 5 months ago

Original text by Jesus en su tinta

Hello everyone! I hope that you are all well. As we all know, the centre of Lima is a jewel and considered a World Heritage site by the UNESCO for the different houses, museums and the historical value that it has acquired throughout its colonial past. I want to take this opportunity to tell you about a house which is located on one of those streets in the centre of Lima. This house is known as Osambela or Oquendo house, and like most houses, it was built during the colonial era.

Here I will show you part of the facade of the unique monument that we are talking about today, Oquendo or Osambela house, because only it has been able to survive through time. Lets take a look!


Changes due to the earthquakes in the city of kings

Due to the constant earthquakes that devastate the city, this house has also suffered some changes. As we know the house was built after the terrifying earthquake in 1746, on the site which later belonged to the Dominican Order. Today we have the Santo Domingo church which is located very close to the house. The house belongs to a seafarer and it's special feature is a kind of third floor which is used as a view point. It was even said that the owner of the house could see his ships coming into the Callao port from the viewpoint. Of course this would be difficult to see today due to all of the buildings in the centre of Lima.

As you will see in the next picture, you can appreciate how well the lively colours look. Do you know why? Well it's nothing more or less to do with Lima's grey sky, however if you look at the photograph the sky doesn't look grey but a sky blue colour, which is how it is for most of the year in Lima. The roof is grey because it contrasts with the sky. The houses of the historical centre of Lima during the colonial era were colourful because they gave life to their surroundings.


The National Cultural Heritage

There is no doubt that this house is one of the most beautiful houses in the centre of Lima. What grasps your attention is the sky blue colour and also the different balconies on the front of the building as well as the fact that it is considered one of the oldest buildings in the historic centre of Lima. The facade of Osambela house stands out because it has a neoclassic style which rococo influences. There are five balconies in total and thanks to it's artistic value, it has been considered a National Cultural Heritage from 1972.

The house was securely built and the wood that they used was ceder which was bought from Nicaragua, since in colonial times it was easier to bring the materials from the Peruvian jungle. This building or monument currently belongs to the Ministry of Education.

Osambela house is also part of the Inca Garcilaso Cultural Centre. It has almost 40 rooms and you can also notice that in accordance with the layout of house, the Osambela family did not have a noble position.

The balconies are without a doubt a typical symbol of the city of Lima


One of the things in history is that before Don José de San Martín came to stay here, the fifth liberator, the liberator of Argentina stayed here.

In this house you can take in the art since a lot of elements are open at night.

I hope that you are encouraged to get to know this house soon or even walk by to appreciate the front of it because it is truly worth it. If you are lucky enough to find it open then you should definitely go in and take the opportunity to take a little more of the colonial era.

Opening hours

It is open from 08:00 to 17:00

Thanks for reading this short review and i will see you in the next post! See you in the next review of Lima. Unlike other houses in Lima, this one is not a museum but it does have a lot of history due to the importance that it has been given in historical events that happened in the city of kings. See you next time, with more stories about Lima to tell you and make you fall in love with it.

Until next time Lima-lovers!

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