October 23rd, 2007

The building of the central andean railway heralded the birth of the town of Chosica – Lima’s residents favourite place to avoid winter days and breathe some fresh air.

Emilio Agustín del Solar y Mendiburu was a public prosecutor for the Supreme Court, a council member for the Province of Lima and a top lawyer for the company that ran the new railway. It was when he was inflicted with a debilitating illness that he decided to leave Lima’s damp humid environment and move to an area along the Rimac river known as Chosica Vieja. This place, in the middle of no-where, kilometres along the railway outside of the city was blessed with sunshine year round and a dry desert climate. No longer able to live in Lima, he decided to found his own small city, Nueva Chosica, and bring Lima to him. To form what he called his new society, he invited his friends from Lima’s elite to build their houses next to his, and they did. The excellent year round climate made the town a successes, and Nueva Chosica became known as just Chosica, or more often as Villa del Sol, Town of the Sun. This was in 1864.

It wasn’t long before everyone who was able to decided to come to spend the winter in Chosica, from the middle-classes to Presidents such as Prado, who lived in nearby Chaclacayo. Urbanisation spread and the town grew. It was soon declared as the capital of the district of Lurigancho, and in the early 1920s the the town’s cathedral was built.

With the building of the Carretera Central, a highway that leads off towards Huancayo or into Chachamayo in the jungle, the area along the river Rimac became more industrialised, and thousands more people began building homes on the surrounding hills.

Nowadays, Chosica is widely visited during the winter months, only an hour and a half away by bus from Lima. The wealthy have their private clubs and the not so wealthy have a large plaza and various fountain-lined promenades. The plaza and surrounding area is packed full of places to eat. At night street-carts sell anticuchos and chicha music is heard playing from passing mototaxis. The towns latest attraction is its large Cristo Blanco, an image of Jesus Christ with a massive desert hill looming behind. The murals on the other side of the river Rimac, crossing the bridge, are also a recent addition.
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