The Catacumbas, tour of the city and an example of law enforcement
Lima Travel Blog› entry 54 of 125 › view all entries
Today Daniela and I went for a tour of old Lima. We got dropped off at the Sheraton Hotel and walked over to Plaza San Martin. The plaza was full of people (tourists and Limeños). In the plaza there were promotors of Peru's national futbol team putting on a spectacle. There we asked a nice old man directions to the Plaza de Armas and walked through a street full of sidewalk shops until we got there.
The Plaza de Armas was not the usual bustle or so I was told. The plaza was surrounded by Police Assault Vehicles with water cannons and heavily armed policemen. As tourists we were allowed to walk around so we went up to a police officer and asked him what was going on.
Daniela and I then boarded our little Urbanito and began our guided tour of Lima. They showed us churches, the oldest bridge in the city and even the hotel where the very first Pisco Sour was made. The shuttle then headed up to Cerro San Cristobal for a 360 view of Lima. On our way up they informed us that we could see a section of the city that was the most populated area of Lima with 2 million inhabitants filling a relatively small area.
Once back down in the city we walked over to the Catacumbas (or Catacombs) of the Fransiscan Order of Monks. The exterior of the building was as impressive as the inside. Inside we first walked up the old library where they held 25000 books from multiple centuries. The Fransiscans built in sky lights so that they could read by natural light instead of using the more dangerous candle method.
Then we walked down and checked out different paintings. I got really excited because I actually got to see this painting that I had described to my friends and which I had originally been told about by my Latin American Studies professor at UBC.
Down in the catacombs underneath the church we saw the bones of hundreds of rich, important people who had paid to be buried closer to God and those of the Fransiscan monks. According to our guide the monks still get buried there, one having been laid there only four months prior.
Then we walked over to the Museo de la Inquisticion but it was after five so it was closed. Apparently this is a highlight of Lima so I was a little upset. I took a picture of the sign so it looks like I went there... Then after looking at the Congress building we jumped in a cab and headed over to Chili's for fajitas.