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The South American nation of Peru is renowned for its natural beauty and is home to many natural wonders housing a portion of the Amazon rain forest, Machu Picchu as well as a range of other historical sites located in the Andes Mountain Range such as the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman, Colca Canyon, the Inca trail and also the colonial city of Cusco. However, Peru is also home to many modern man made sites, notably its football stadiums scattered all across the nation, many of which have a rich and interesting history unknown to many alien to the history of the country, it’s sporting events and tragedies such as the Lima stadium disaster. This following article provides a guide and an insight in the history of the main and most important stadiums across the Peruvian heartland.
Estadio Nacional Peru, Lima
The Estadio Nacional Peru, also known as the Estadio Nacional de Lima Capacidad is Peru’s national and principal stadium home to the Peruvian football team and many other Peruvian sporting federations. The stadium itself was commissioned in 1951 to replace the dated but historically rich Stadium Nacional (Estadio Guadalupe) which has previously been the country’s principal stadium following its opening in 1897. Following numerous renovations in attempts to modernise the Estadio Guadalupe, the stadium who demolished it to make way for the new modernised Estadio Nacional, for the upcoming 1953 South American championships. The 53,000 seater stadium was created fully from concrete, housing 3 tier stands, luxury boxes and elevators making it suitable for the ever-growing crowds for football matches. The stadium was opened on the 27th October 1957, and a year later the stadium ended up hosted 3 of the 6 South American Championship games, a tournament that was won by Paraguay after they stole victory over Brazil in the final.
In 1964 disaster struck in Lima Peru where the nation’s most infamous sporting event occurred.
The ‘Lima stadium disaster’ unraveled during a qualifying match for the Tokyo Olympic games between the Rojiblancos and Argentina, when a late Incan equaliser was ruled out by the referee lead to riots and a mass pitch invasion. As an attempt to quash the protests the local police closed the exists and used tear gas along with brutal force to quell the chaos. Ultimately the incident resulted in 300 people losing their lives, with a further 4000 subject to serious injuries. The Lima stadium disaster resulted in protest riots forcing the president to put Peru in a state of emergency for a month. As a result of the chaos the capacity of the stadium was also reduced to 40,000.
Estadio Nacional de Lima events have been commonplace with many tournaments being hosted at the stadium.
The first of which were the consecutive South American championships in 1953 where Peru failed to qualify to the knockout rounds, and in 1957 where the Incas finished in 4th Place. Many Copa Libertadores finals have also been hosted in the stadium, with Uruguayan team Nacional beat Argentinians Estudiantes 2-0 in Lima Peru. The following year native club Universitario de Deportes drew 0-0 with Argentina’s Independiente in the same tournaments in the first leg of the final. Two decades later, another native team Sporting Cristal reached the 1997 Copa Libertadores Final to play Brazilians Cruzeiro in a clash which allowed the Nacional to host one of the legs of the final for a third time.
In 2004 Peru were chosen to host the upcoming Copa America. In order to comply with the CONMEBOL stadium standards, the Estadio Nacional required renovations which were funded by a 5-million-dollar government loan. Again in 2010 the stadium was subject to further improvements in a hope to win a bid for the 2015 Pan American games. These renovations added 703 new car park spaces, A new tower that contained a panoramic gourmet restaurant and structural work. Unfortunately, the bid failed after being awarded to Toronto.
Monumental Stadium Lima, Peru
The Monumental Stadium, also known as ‘U’ Stadium, is home to Peruvian club Universitario De Deportes and was opened in the year 2000 to replace the old stadium Estadio Teodoro Lolo Fernandez.
While the Estadio Nacional is the principal stadium of Peru, it is the estadio Monumental which is the largest multipurpose stadium in the country, and the largest in the whole of South America holding an incredible 80,093 capacity with 59,177 seated across the four stands and the remainder of the crowd situated in Luxury boxes. The stadium was built in accordance with FIFA’s manual of technical specification for world cup finals, designed by companies Progreso International and Gremco the stadium has a unique design whereby the lower tiers of the stands are housed under 6 floors of luxury boxes known as Palcos.
There are 1,251 Palco suites situated across these six floors that house a capacity 20,916, with each of the suite owners having a private parking lot. The north and south stand tiers of the stadium are standing terraces, with the east and west stand tiers are all seating so the stadium offers a wider range of viewing experience, providing varying options to suit the needs and wants of particular match going fans.
The Monumental stadium has previously hosted some of Peru’s international football matches with some friendlies and notably FIFA World cup qualifiers being played here in 2001 vs Ecuador with the Ecuadorians grabbing a 2-1 win over the Inca, and again later that year against Bolivia in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw. The stadium has also hosted the final stages of the 2008 Copa Peru. The Estadio Monumental however was absent from the organisation 2004, due to conflicts of agreements between the club and the tournament organisers. Additionally, between its opening in 2000 and 2007, only 1 Peruvian classico match was played here due to safety concerns but since the derby has returned to the venue as a regular fixture.
The stadium has also played host to several acclaimed musical artists such as Kylie Minogue (2008), The Killers (2009), Beyoncé (2010), Black eyed peas (2010) and Maroon 5 in 2012. Other notable events have occurred in an open area south of the stadium premises, known as the Explanada del estadio Monumental, Where Depeche Mode performed at the open arena in 2009 to a record crowd of 30,000 people.
Estadio Alejandro Villanueva Peru, Lima
The Estadio Alejandro Villanueva is a Lima based soccer stadium located in the La Victoria District.
The stadium was designed by architect Walter Lavalleja, built in 1968 then opened in 1969 where it was formerly known as the Estadio Alianza Lima. The Aljeandro Villanueva has a capacity of 33,938 as is the home stadium to local team Alianza Lima who are the oldest team in the Peruvian first Division, established 118 years ago in 1901. The stadium consists of four uncovered stands, partly sunken into the ground, allowing fans to enter their sections from street level.
The stadium was inaugurated on the 27th December 1974 in a game between Allianza Lima and Uruguay’s Nacional that resulted in a 2 – 2 draw in front of a crowd of 55,000 in the ‘Senior de los Milagos’ tournament also featuring Universitario de Deportes of Uruguay as well as Independiente of Argentina. The stadium had carried the club name since its opening in 1968 but in 2000 the name of the stadium was changed to honor one of their legendary players Alejandro Villanueva with Alianza Lima’s centennial anniversary upcoming. The venue notably hosted an Elton John concert as part of his made in England tour on the 9th November 1995.
The Estadio Alejandro Villanueva received new skyboxes, administrative facilities, sporting areas and much more in 2008 after renovation plans were drawn up to connect Matute with the nearby stadium and transform the area into one major sports hub known as the La Victoria area.
Estadio Garcilaso Cusco, Peru
The Estadio Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, commonly known as Estadio Garcilaso, is Cusco’s principal stadium and the home venue of the local football team Cienciano.
The stadium named after the Peruvian Inca Garcilaso de la Vega was inaugurated with an initial capacity of 30,000 in 1960. Following further amendments in 2004 to comply with CONMEBOL regulations for the Copa America the 1,720,000 renovation boosted the capacity up to 40,056 spectators.
The Estadio Garcilaso de la Vega is famously recognized as one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of South America. The stadiums awe is due to its well-maintained grass and its resistance to the aggressive and highly variable climates of the city of Cusco. It is this beauty that inspires and attracts spectators and visitors alike in the stadiums awe.
The Estadio Garcilaso us presently home-based to three local soccer teams which include second division club Cienciano and third tier team Deportivo Garcilaso whom have been housed here since the opening of the stadium, with first division side Real Garcilaso gaining residence at the stadium following their promotion in 2011.
Estadio Mansiche Trujillo, Peru
The Estadio Manische was constructed between the years of 1944 and 1946 where it was first named as the Estadio Modelo de Trujillo and housed a capacity of 5,000.
The stadium was inaugurated on the 12th October 1946 where the first match was played between Deportivo Trujillo and Sport Tigre, and it is currently home to two local football clubs in Trujillo, Carlos A. Mannucci and Universidad César Vallejo.
Estadio Manishe is currently the biggest stadium in Trujillo, following expansions in 1984 following the construction of the north stand, allowing Sporting Cristal to use the stadium during the 1984 Copa Libertadores, and a further second rebuild in 2004 for the Copa America increasing the capacity to 23,214.
The improvements in 2004 also came with modernisations to the changing rooms and the addition of luxury sitting areas, broadcasting boxes and an electronic scoreboard installation. The stadium also has a running track for track and field sports, swimming pool and other facilities as part of the greater Mansiche Sports Complex.
Peru’s stadiums all have their own rich iconic features and histories which make each individual stadium both different as well as special.
In many cases a number of Peruvian stadiums have faced renovations in the last decades as a result of being old outdated, leaving their modernised versions of the stadiums in alignment with the changing modern era while also keeping their iconic and classic feel, housing some fantastic atmospheres which South American fans are famously known for generating. Along with the stadiums mentioned in this article there are many more fantastic stadiums across the nation of Peru such as the Estadio Universidad San Marcos, Estadio Miguel Grau and the Estadio Manuel Rivera Sanchez and countless more, all of which are worth visiting for the match day experienced and to soak in the history and feel of these iconic and timeless stadiums.
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