Monasterio de San Francisco
Monasterio de San Francisco Lima Reviews
Colour, catacombs, a church and LOTS more! Dec 06, 2013
Oh what surprises we run into when we tourists explore a new city!
The monasterio de San Francisco is something you can't ignore. Make no mistake. It's huge, it's got this really gaudy yellow tinge and boasts of some amazing artwork. And yes, you see it from afar and you're thinking "alright, here we go, ANOTHER Lima Cathedral". Make no mistake, it's MORE than just a Cathedral.
The side entrance for tourists leads you straight to a very austere tourist desk where the clerk announces, in almost voicemail recording style the timings of the tours. You have them in Quecha, English and Spanish. Obviously I opted for the English one. And waited in a dark room with clear instructions not to go anywhere else, or TAKE PHOTOS.
The tour started about 20 minutes after I got there, we were around a dozen in the group including some really talkative and squirm'ish ones. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide.
As I was saying, there's more to this place than just a Cathedral. It's a museum, crypt and holy place all rolled into one. And yes, lots of skulls!
The guide walked us to the top floor, walked us through the room where the choir would play (yes, that includes all of them staring at a central notebook, which is they they said Peruvian choirmen had the best eyesight!) and then through the library that contains gazillion books already, and both books and the room are going through somewhat of a restoration programme.
We then walked back to main level for a tour of the various rooms of the Monastery including lots of St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of Peru as well (he was from Spain, but Peru "adopted" him!). The rooms were all good to see, including one with rich people buried underneath. And our guide made it all the more fascinating by explaining the significance of each room, including the big dining room.
And then we walked downstairs for my favourite part - the catacombs! I don't think this was as good as the one in Paris simply because it was arranged too well and looked very "proper" as opposed to the Paris one with it just lying around. Apparently there still is lots of excavation going on.
And finally, after the tour was over, we were let into the Cathedral part of this experience (which anyway is free for all). That was a typical colourful vibrant Peruvian experience.
Overall, I'd highly recommend! This was my favourite of the entire day's sightseeing.
Part of the Peru travel blog
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