Probably the most spectacular of Lima's colonial-era churches, the Convent of Saint Francis is a strikingly restored, yellow-and-white 17th-century complex that survived the massive earthquake in 1746. The facade is a favorite of thousands of pigeons, who rest on rows of ridges that rise up the towers -- so much so that, from a distance, it looks like black spots add an unexpectedly funky flavor to the baroque church. Cloisters and interiors are lined with beautiful azulejos (glazed ceramic tiles) from Seville; carved mudéjar (Moorish-style) ceilings are overhead. The mandatory guided tour takes visitors past the cloisters to a fine museum of religious art, with beautifully carved saints and a series of portraits of the apostles by the studio of Francisco Zurbarán, the famed Spanish painter. For many, though, the most fascinating component of the visit is the descent into the catacombs, which were dug beginning in 1546 as a burial ground for priests and others. (As many as 75,000 bodies were interred here before the main cemetery was built.) File past loads of bones -- it's unknown how many levels down they go -- and see a round well lined with perfectly laid skulls and femurs. Also of great interest are the church, outfitted with an impressive neoclassical altar, and a fantastic 17th-century library with 20,000 books, many of which date to the first years after Lima's foundation. A breathtaking carved Moorish ceiling over a staircase is a reconstruction of the original from 1625. Allow 1 1/2 hours to see it all, including waiting time for an English-language tour.
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about Convento y Museo de San FranciscoLocals have answered 127 questions about Lima.
Ask Lima Locals about Convento y Museo de San Francisco
- Highly Recommended 2010
- tel: 01/426-7377
- Centro Histórico, Lampa
- Ancash s/n (Plaza de San Francisco)
- Lima, Lima
- Daily 9am-6pm
- No Sweat
- User Rating