Lima’s baroque cathedral, an enlargement of an earlier one from 1555, was completed in 1625. It suffered damages in earthquakes in 1687 and was decimated by the big one in 1746. The present building, again damaged by tremors in 1940, is an 18th-century reconstruction of the early plans. Twin yellow towers sandwich an elaborate stone facade. Inside are several notable churrigueresque (Spanish baroque) altars and carved wooden choir stalls, but the cathedral is best known for the chapel where Francisco Pizarro lies and a small Museo de Arte Religioso (Museum of Religious Art) housed in the rear of the church. Immediately to the right after you enter the church is a chapel decorated in magnificent Venetian mosaics and marble. In case you don’t know whose earthly remains are inside the tomb, letters in mosaic tiles over the arch of the chapel spell out FRANCISCO PIZARRO. The founder of Lima and killer of the Incas’ emperor was himself assassinated in the Plaza de Armas in 1541, but his remains weren’t brought to the cathedral until 1985. (They were discovered in a crypt in 1977.) Look closely at the mosaic on the far wall, which depicts his coat of arms, Atahualpa reaching into his coffer to cough up a ransom in the hopes of attaining his release, and other symbols of Pizarro’s life. The museum has a few fabulous painted-glass mirrors from Cusco, a collection of unsigned paintings, and a seated sculpture of Jesus, with his chin resting pensively on his hand; it’s as bloody a figure of Christ as you’re likely to see. Allow about 1 hr. for a visit.
Catedral de Lima
Plaza de Armas
Our Rating Neighborhood Lima Centro Hours Mon–Fri 9am–5pm, Sat 10am–1pm. Phone 01/427-9647 Prices Admission to cathedral and museum S/10 adults, S/5 students. Guides available in English and Spanish (voluntary tip). Web site Catedral de Lima
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