San Francisco Church And Convent, Lima

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 47 Reviews

Calle Ancash, At The Corner With Lampa

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  • San Francisco Church And Convent
    by TooTallFinn24
  • San Francisco Church And Convent
    by TooTallFinn24
  • San Francisco Church And Convent
    by JessieLang
  • al2401's Profile Photo

    Convento de San Francisco

    by al2401 Updated Dec 9, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Convento de San Francisco
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    The church and monastery of Saint Francis were consecrated in 1673 and completed in 1774. The church, built in the Spanish Baroque style, survived earthquakes in 1687 and1746 but was extensively damaged in 1970. The complex was World Heritage listed in 1991 as part of the Historic Centre of Lima.

    One of the most interesting features of the monastery is the Catacombs. Located below the building is an ossuary and a maze of passageways (said to connect to the cathedral during the time of the Inquisition). they remained in use until 1808 and were re-discovered in 1943. One of the features is a pit of bones and skulls arranged in a circular design.

    When I visited I was disappointed not to be able to take photos - even without a flash.

    Open daily from 09.30 am to 05.45 pm.

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    6 ft of bones

    by staindesign Updated Dec 7, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the church

    The Church of San Francisco and Monastery is open almost daily for tours every hour between 9-5 for the low price of 10 Soles. This is a popular attraction and unfortunately there aren't many English speaking tour guides. I had to settle on a Spanish speaking guide, which I found to be difficult in the areas I was particularly interested in. I won't attempt to put any background info from guide books, because I really didn't experience that part of the tour. The entire tour doesn't allow photography. I was bummed because I was really interested in the Last Supper painting. Jesus and his disciples were enjoying a lovely roasted cuy! Another interesting point to mention would be the vandalized frescos through out the monastery. The monks on the frescos have their faces completely scratched out. I wish that I could have asked why this occured. And finally the catacombs are such a hit on the tour. It is quite an amazing sight!

    Another quick tip: Visit during the week if you would like to have the chance to take a full picture of the front the church with out the entire front plaza filled with vendors.
    *cuy is guinea pig, yes peruvians eat guinea pig!
    ** Photos and video are not permitted in the church or in the catacombs!

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Church in Old Town Lima

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Nov 14, 2011

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    Nestled almost adjacent to the Cathedral of Lima is the impressive Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco. The church was built in 1674 and is considered to be an outstanding example of colonial baroque architecture. At the door is a very nice wooden portal. Inside the church there is a very nice altar and well preserved wooden stairs. There is a tour of the church that takes about an hour but we didn't go. In the basement of the church is a former burial ground with a catacomb and hundreds of skulls.

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  • JessieLang's Profile Photo

    San Francisco Convent

    by JessieLang Written Dec 30, 2010

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    The San Francisco Monastery was built by donation between 1546 and 1735. ( Franciscans rely on donations because they don’t do business.) Usually their facilities are rather plain, but their rich benefactors were showing off. There are hand painted tiles from Spain, and one altar that is solid silver. Walls in the priests’ dressing room are carved wood covered with gold and the floor is alabaster.

    Benefactors expect the honor of being buried under the church floor, but there were too many of them. They solved the problem with catacombs. Estimates range from 25,000-70,000 skeletons down there, and some of the bones arranged in decorative patterns.

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  • littlesam1's Profile Photo

    San Francisco - Church, convent, and catacombs

    by littlesam1 Updated Dec 10, 2010

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    Built in 1557, destroyed by earthquakes in 1656 and rebuilt in 1672, San Francisco is a fascinating church to explore in Lima. Contained here is a church, convent, eerie cloisters, and a library with ancient manuscripts and books. We took a very educational guided tour of the complex. As you explore the church make sure to look for the painting of The Last Supper. The one in this church as a very Peruvian context. The meal being served is Cuy better known as Peruvian Guinea Pig.

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  • MJL's Profile Photo

    Some may not like the catacombs

    by MJL Written Mar 16, 2010

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    The monumental set of buildings of San Francisco of Lima, is the most representative jewel of the viceregal architecture of Peru, being the most beautiful colonial complex located in the historical center of the city. The buildings of this remarkable set are churches of San Francisco, La Soledad and El Milagro, that together with the courtyards and annexed are known the MONASTERY OF SAN FRANCISCO.

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    El Monasterio de San Francisco

    by JetlagCity Written Sep 7, 2009

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    inside the monastery
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    This old colonial building has tons to recommend it. It was built around an interior courtyard which is full of lovely green foliage and cloisters and fresh air. Numerous walls are covered with colorful Portuguese and Spanish tiles so the look is both Moorish and Spanish. There are many beautiful paintings throughout the rooms, including one of The Last Supper with angels bearing parrot wings – exactly the kind of local influence I love to come across! The Franciscan monks collected a world-renowned library set in a beautiful room that looks even older than it is. Our guide said that a couple of the books were so old they were hand-written. You can’t walk into the room because it’s so fragile, but you can look in from the doorway – it reminded me a bit of the ornate libraries in the Strahov Monastery in Prague.

    In the crypt you’ll find the ghoulish catacombs, where tens of thousands of old bones have been arranged in geometric patterns. I think a lot of people take the tour just to see this area, but in my opinion the monastery would be well worth visiting even without it.
    The San Francisco church is attached to the monastery and is worth a look as well. It has many elaborate and ornate statues and paintings in the little altars up and down each side, and a beautiful dark wood altar.

    The tours (you can’t go in on your own) only cost $2 or $3, and they’re offered in both Spanish and English.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Iglesia San Francisco Catacombs

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Jan 25, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    catacombs

    Deep under Iglesia San Francisco is its weirdest site. In the catacombs are the remains of 1000's. The monks here have arranged these remains by bone types. The strangest is this arrangement in an old well.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Iglesia de San Francisco- Monastery or Convent?

    by grandmaR Written Jan 23, 2009

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    Earthquake damage?
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    Our guide kept calling this a convent, but I think that is a missed translation on her part because when I think of a convent, I think of nuns. Apparently this church is most famous for the catacombs, and secondarily for the library and collection of religious art. It is probably best known for a mural of the last supper depicting the apostles dining on guinea pig and a devil standing next to Judas.

    We saw none of that, because we stayed to see if the Chinese Ambassador would come out of the government building while we were watching so we had to cut short our visit here. The catacombs are somewhat claustraphobic, and the site is definitely not handicapped accessible. Some people didn't even go in and waited outside in the courtyard.

    The San Francisco Monastery and Church was consecrated in 1673 and is one of the best preserved colonial churches in Lima. It withstood the earthquakes of 1687 and 1746 but did suffer extensive damage in a quake in 1970.

    The architecture has been described as baroque or Spanish Neoclassicism.

    It is open every day from 9:45 to 5:30
    Adult 5.00 S/I
    Students 2.50 S/I
    Child 1.00 S/I

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  • Snipernurse's Profile Photo

    San Francisco Cathedral

    by Snipernurse Updated Oct 3, 2008

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    Easily the highlite of Lima. Await for the departure of a English or Spanish speaking tour by sitting in the courtyard and admire the intricacy of the exterior of the building, and try to snap a good photo of Limans play with the many pigeons that call the outside of the cathedral home. The inside of the Cathedral is fantastic. Regarded as one of the best cathedrals in South America it is a suprise at every room. Unfortunately photography is forbidden. :-( Do not miss this.

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  • Urzu's Profile Photo

    San Francisco de Asis

    by Urzu Written Jun 24, 2008

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    This church and monastery date of the 17th century, and you can see a lot of the Spanish influence there. I was specially impressed to see a "mudejar" dome in the monastery. Of course much of the work has had to be renovated due to the many earthquakes that the city of Lima has suffered. When you're walking around the omnastery you can even see how croocked the walls are! Also interesting to see are the library, and the catacombs of the church. The catacombs were the local cemetery for many years, so under the church thousands of bodies are thought to be burried.

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  • malianrob's Profile Photo

    Visit the Catacombs at San Francisco

    by malianrob Written Jan 6, 2008

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    We came here during our Lima City tour. I have to admit I didnt do too much research on Lima. My focus was more Cusco and Machu Picchu of course but I was glad that we did a Lima City tour because it turned out to be so great. Lima is a beautiful City (in some areas) to the contrary of what I was told and San Francisco was an experience. Visiting here totally caught me be surprise because I had no idea what to expect. It was alittle freaky and when you go down into the catacombs the ceiling is so low that you have to crouch down alittle. Adrianna and I are somewhat short so we didnt have to worry but there was one lady, fairly tall that almost knocked herself out. She hit her head so hard that she was crying. I cant remember if she was bleeding too. So be careful if you are tall :)
    From what I remeber of San Francisco was that the bones here belong to the wealthy people of Lima. If you had money you were able to be buried here and be "closer to heaven or God".

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  • Tales from the Crypt

    by intiqori Written Dec 17, 2007

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    The San Francisco Monastery is a church near downtown Lima’s main square, built in traditional Moorish style. It is renowned for housing centuries of the city’s dead in overflowing catacombs underneath its foundations, but it is also home to several pieces of historical religious artwork and a library housing thousands of volumes of centuries old texts and parchments. Now filled with local school children and visiting tourists, the monastery bustles with activity. Several guides lead groups around the monastery, highlighting the history of the church and its historical artifacts, and the highlight of the tour for many are the stacks of skulls and bones in the crypts underneath the structure. Overall, the monastery is well worth a visit if you are visiting downtown Lima.

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  • krissyM's Profile Photo

    The Catacombs!

    by krissyM Written Jun 28, 2007

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    Underneath the Church and Monastery of San Francisco are the world famous catacombs. There you will find over 70,000 skeletons dating back to the middle ages. During the middle ages it was more desirable to be buried in the church as it would place you closer to God so as a results the catacombs were stuffed full of people. In the 1970's the monks at the monastary cleaned and aired out the catcombs artfully (and not so artfully) arranging all the bones present. So you will find quite a macabre display of human remains. A must see!

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  • thebeatsurrender's Profile Photo

    Convento de San Francisco

    by thebeatsurrender Updated Jun 19, 2007

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    Exquisite interiors and courtyards highlight San Francisco Monastary -- in my opinion the highlight of our day in Central Lima. There was no English tour when we went. We tagged along for a Spanish tour for a few minutes before giving up, but it was just as well. The best part was 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...

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