Arches and Old Bones, Central Lima

Lima Travel Blog

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San Francisco Monastary

In the morning we headed to downtown Lima, to Plaza mayor, the historical area of town. The square is surrounded by stately 16th century buildings, including La Cathedral and the Palacio de Gobierno.

There is a lot of police and military presence in the area -- guards, policemen, trucks, army dudes...  I saw a big weird looking truck with a thing that looked like a nozzle on it.

Me to armed guard standing by truck: "Para Fuego?"

Armed Guard: "No, ... is for.. how you say?... the people"

So the moral of this story is: if you ever find yourself in Plaza Mayor during a riot, be prepared to get wet.

The palace was closed to visitors, but there was an official sounding band playing Godfather type music outside and some tourists dancing nonsensically to the music.

San Francisco Monastary
Next, we headed down to toward the San Francisco Monastary, and passed the Central Post Office on the way. You don't really notice how pretty the post office is until you look back and notice the modern meets neoclassic arched glass ceiling. There's also a postage museum, but we didn't go in. The souvenier stands that line the back are a little different from the other ones around Plaza Mayor -- I got a kitschy pack of postcards showing traditional Peruvian fashions as 50's-esque illustrations.

The highlight of our day in Central Lima was the San Francisco Monastary. At first sight, the monastary is just a pretty yellow colonial building, like many others, but the exquisite interiors, well preserved murals and dark catacombs inside are a real treat.

San Francisco Monastary
 The fact that there was no English tour was a blessing in disguise, as part of what made it so cool was the feeling of wandering the halls and stairways of the monastary by ourselves, discovering what was around the next corner. Down a long hallway, the light filtering through rows of arches... up a staircase to overlook the richly colored church interior... down into the darkness of the catacombs... 

One highlight of the monastary was the library, a beautifully well preserved room with a set of gorgeous, tightly spiraled staircases on each side. Rows of books stretch out before you, and you can just imagine monks studying there for hundreds of years.

The cathedral interior of San Francisco monastary is really pretty as well.

human skulls
It's red and white, with more light than many other cathedrals I've seen. There's a balcony that overlooks the pews, and some gorgeous woodwork.

Possibly the most memorable part of the monastary was wandering through the catacombs by ourselves. Stacks of real human bones are piled in rooms along the dark, narrow passageways underground. The spooky corridors twisted and turned through several levels, through low passages and dark rooms. At one point, there was a weird, large round six foot high structure thing in one room. We couldn't see above it, so we climbed up to take a closer look. Inside was a huge circle of skulls!


 


 

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San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
human skulls
human skulls
14 apostles at dinner
14 apostles at dinner
atousa finds a friend
atousa finds a friend
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
catacombs
catacombs
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
Atousa and JP at San Francisco Mon…
Atousa and JP at San Francisco Mo…
Atousa at San Francisco Monastary
Atousa at San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
Atousa and JP at San Francisco Mon…
Atousa and JP at San Francisco Mo…
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
Government Palace
Government Palace
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
San Francisco Monastary
Lima Sights & Attractions review
This place was kinda lame. There's an English speaking tour available and you get to see some wax figures and go down into an area that used to be lik… read entire review
Lima
photo by: rsvpme