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Saint Francis Monastery was my favorite thing to see in Lima, Peru

By January 30, 2020 No Comments

Basílica y Convento de San Francisco is the Spanish name for Saint Francis Monastery found in the World Heritage Site listed city center of Lima, Peru. The church and monastery were completed in 1674 and the church is noted for its architecture, a high example of Spanish Baroque.

The convent originally included seven cloisters and the halls of the head cloister are inlaid with Sevillian glazed tiles dating from the 1620s. Sadly it is down to three now, but the second best part about the San Francis Monastery is the convents library, which has a wonderful dark wood charm to it. This library is world renowned, because among the 25,000 antique texts are the first Spanish dictionary, a 1571 Holy Bible, 13 paintings of Jacob and his 12 sons, and a last supper painting depicting typical Peruvian dishes including guinea pig, potatoes, and chili (plus there is a Devil hovering besides Judas).

As amazing as all the above is, it is the catacombs with the bones of an estimated 25,000 bodies that seal the deal. Burials took place regularly here until 1808 and then at some point the catacombs were sealed up and not rediscovered until 1943. Now the bones are laid out in artistic patterns as you walk from room to room of this underground vault. Supposedly there is a secret passageways that connects the catacombs to the Cathedral a few blocks away, but it has not been found yet.

Like I said in an old city center founded in 1535 and inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1991, the Saint Francis Monastery is my favorite…..and that is saying a lot.

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