WASHINGTON - We continue our Embassy Row series with a look inside the Embassy of Peru. The embassy is located in a mansion once owned by a 19th century congressman who also once owned the Washington Post. But while the embassy sits right in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue’s Embassy Row, the real tribute to Peru is a few miles away in Northwest Washington’s Forest Hills neighborhood. That’s where 24 Peruvian Ambassadors have lived since the 1940s.
It’s a massive home that sits on DC’s largest private property, 25 acres of woods and land which includes a Civil War Battery right out front that once helped defend DC from Confederate troops. Ambassador Hugo de Zela and his wife Maria now live here and invited us inside where we found room after room of Peruvian treasures. From ancient art to sculptures dating back 1500 years, it’s a miniature museum dedicated to Peru’s five thousand years of civilization.
The house was built in 1928 for $70,000. Peru bought it a decade and a half later and in the last seventy years it’s hosted diplomats from many nations including US President John F. Kennedy who dined here with his wife.