Brussels Courthouse has a twin in Lima


We owe this remarkable feat to the Peruvian businessman and politician Augusto Bernardino Leguía y Salcedo (1863-1932). He saw the start of the construction of the Palacio de Justicia in Lima in 1919 during his second term in office as president; the works were completed in 1939.

The president commissioned Bruno Paprowsky, Peruvian architect of Polish descent, to adorn the capital with a new and prestigious courthouse. The latter drew his inspiration from the original by Joseph Poelaert, which has dominated the famous Brussels folk district of the Marolles since 1883. Imagine the building without the huge dome, scale it down a little and the result is strikingly similar. The chairman of the Peruvian Supreme Court must not have been happy with the missing crown, because it is said that he subsequently asked the Belgian authorities to provide him with the plans for the dome's construction, with a view to bringing the matter to a proper conclusion. So far, the request has not been granted ... You can study the faithful copy with your own eyes at the Avenida Paseo de la República in Lima.

By way of conclusion, here some interesting facts about our own courthouse. The renowned art nouveau architect Victor Horta called it cyclopean, born from the brain of a dwarf and crowned with a bell jar. French writer Paul Verlaine claimed that he would rather commit suicide than be tried at that location. Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, admired it and instructed his architect, Albert Speer, to come and study it because it was to serve as a model for his new capital of the Third Reich. And in 1970, recordings were made for the American musical spy thriller Darling Lili, starring Julie Andrews. It did function as a train station, however.

And if the Courthouse has already been much debated, few people are aware of the existence of its twin in Peru.