Monastery of San Francisco
Whether you are visiting Peru with kids or alone for a few hours or days this should be a must stop. Kids and adult will be fascinated to take a trip to the past visiting the Monastery of San Francisco in Lima.
Location – Plaza mayor
The Monastery of San Francisco is located a block from Plaza Mayor de Lima in Jiron Lampa and Ancash, at the Northeast side of Plaza Mayor. Yes, this an amazing church located just a block from the Cathedral! You need to understand the power of the church and its influence during the Colonial time in Peru, there is literally one Church every other block. So, it is a Catholic Peruvian tradition to walk the “seven churches” on Holly Thursday. For this reason, Peruvian people go to the Plaza Mayor to get this done fast!
St. Francis Monastery – Francis of Assisi
It is known also as St. Francis Monastery or Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi. It is a must stop for visitors. Franciscan Monasteries are run by Franciscan Friars who believe in protecting the Holy land and doing it for more than 800 years. So you can be transported to the places and the way they used to live. Franciscans still running the masses every day from 8 am to 12 pm and 4-8 pm.
Guide Tours and Entrance Fee
The church and convent are open to the public every day from Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to1:00 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm. It cost $5 per adult and kids $1 for you to be transported to the past. There are running tours in Spanish and English every other hour to the catacombs you can find details here.
World Heritage and Spanish Baroque Style
This construction is great examples of Spanish Baroque style. It has been nominated as World Heritage and now is part of the Historic Center of Lima. After the foundation of Lima, Its construction begins in 1546. After it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1655 its rebuild started from 1657 to 1729 and become a Monastery with a distinguish Baroque architecture. Later it was and declared a minor Basilic in 1963.
The Lima Catacombs were built under the St. Francis Convent and the church with bricks and mortar and was used as underground Cemetery. This type of Cemeteries was used from 1600 until 1808 by wealthy people that wanted to be buried under churches on the belief they will be close to God. However, the bodies were stack on top of each other to help decomposed. Finally, when the public cemetery was open this type of buried was a mandatory stop.
When you visit you can see the body parts, especially the bones and skull laying down in geometrical shapes circles. The reason for this is to resist earthquakes. When visiting is almost impossible not to feel the chills. The Catacombs were rediscovered in 1947 and open to the public from 1950. So, you can get an amazing tour of this impressive rests. To be honest one of my kids wasn’t willing to go down there but the other was excited. So, is not a show for every kid. Prepare them!
Monastery of San Francisco Library
Another amazing thing you can find on the Monastery of San Francisco is its beautiful colonial LIbrary. Which reflect the times were the monastery was built and with a glimpse can transport you to the past. Its beautiful wood shelves are well preserved and you can see part of it but walking around is not allowed.
This library is well renowned and carries more than 25000 of the antique text among others the first Spanish Dictionary published by the Royal Spanish Academic.
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