Morro Solar

March 17th, 2008

The Morro Solar of Chorrillos was the scene of a battle, was once an exclusive beach resort in the 1800s and nowadays is home to an observatory, some monuments and the exclusive Regatta’s club.
Photo: Peru Pepo
The Morro Solar as seen from Miraflores

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, the Morro Solar can be seen all along the city’s coast. It’s history began as home to Peru’s indigenous – as the settlement of Armatambo, long since destroyed and forgotten. After the conquest the area around the hill became known as Chorrillos and country retreats were built by Viceroyals. Later during Peru’s struggle for independence Chorrillos was used as a port – an alternative to the Spanish controlled Callao. Chorrillos eventually became more developed, the sea-front malecon was built and connections to elsewhere by road and train were constructed. Still, Chorrillos was little more than a fashionable seaside resort with large residences owned by the wealthy – the area around the Morro Solar had some of the nicest beaches.

When Chile invaded Peru for it’s mineral wealth in the War of the Pacific, they were determined to reach Lima to ensure complete capitulation. Peru had amassed a huge army that was positioned across the desert from Chorrillos to San Juan. A series of battles took place in which the superior tactics of the Chileans saw a Peruvian defeat and the end of the war. One of these battles took place on the Morro Solar, now home to monuments to the dead. Defeat on the Morro Solar lead to the destruction of Chorrillos as Chilean troops burned and pillaged their way unopposed towards Lima (see also Surco, Barranco).

Today, as well as monuments of the battle you will find hundreds of radio towers serving the whole southern half of Lima, the height of the Morro, of course, being an ideal place to transmit from. The radio towers are accompanied by the Planetary Observatory, the first in Peru, made by engineer Víctor Estremadoyro.
More high-tension steal towers form the shape of a huge cross where the morro meets the sea. The cross, lit up during the night and shining across the ocean, was built to welcome Pope John Paul II on his visit to the country. Next to the cross there is also a statue of the Virgin Mary that is regularly visited by devoted Catholics.
At the base of the Morro Solar is the exclusive Regattas Club, where if you have the money to pay the yearly fee, you have access to various club facilities. Away from the ocean but also at the base you will find the other extreme, invasions – homes built with no permission out of cheap available materials. Near here you will find the cevicheria Sonia and below, on the beach, a pier, fishing boats and more restaurants – continuing the area’s fishing and sea-ferring history.

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