Santo Domingo - Church and Convent
The same day Francisco Pizarro founded Lima, he handed over the lot presently occupied by their church to the Order of the Dominicans, which is currently located in Jiron Conde de Superunda Street, a block away from the Main Plaza.
However, the Dominican priests Juan de Olías, Alfonso de Montenegro and Tomás de San Martín founded their Convent on the lot owned by Diego de Agüero, located in the corner of the Judíos and Bodegones Streets. It was not until 1541 that they moved to the lot where they were previously assigned.
The modifications suffered by this Dominican temple, also shared by all of the churches of Lima, started around the mid 16th Century. All the temples were utterly refurbished, all primitive Gothic forms abandoned and then replaced by the so-called Lima Baroque style.
During the Independence times, the Presbyter Matías Maestro transformed the insides of this Dominican Temple by practically rebuilding all of its altars. He then transformed them using the inspiration of the Neoclassical style which at that time was at its peak. Master carpenter Jacinto Ortiz and the painter José Sagastizabal lent him a hand with the task helping to turn it into the great piece of work that it is today.
Nowadays, the Convent occupies a very large area in spite of having been forced to hand over a portion of its former terrain to the School of Santo Tomás de Aquino, managed by the prists of the Order.
There are long corridors, cloisters and portals surrounding three patios filled with bushes, flowers and bronze fountains. The first priests that resided within its walls were responsible for its development. There is also a spacious Chapter Room in the Renaissance style, an ancient Crypt where the members of the order were buried, and a valuable Library.
It has an imposing tower that is sixty metres high and one of the tallest in the City. Its interior comprises three naves, cedar wood carven stools in the choir, and the Chapels of the Rosario and of Santa Rosa. These chapels also store the skulls of the Saint of Lima and of San Martín de Porres.
Also notable are the imageries of Saint Ann, the Virgin and the Child, of San Martín de Tours and Santiago Matamoros. There is also a beautiful sculpture of a prostrate Santa Rosa, donated by the Pope Clemente X after the canonization of the Saint.
The Chapter house, in which beautiful Baroque carvings are kept, is the place in which the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos Major National University was founded in 1551, the first University of the Americas.
The Lima Cathedral
This impressive Roman Catholic cathedral can be found in the Main Plaza of downtown Lima. With the beginning of its construction in 1535, it has been transformed many times over the centuries and remains one of the most beautiful in the city today. There are three doors on the front façade similar to most cathedral-like structures. The main façade is called the Portada del Perdon where the Peruvian seal is inscribed. With 14 lateral doors, this awe-inspiring structure is adorned with sculptures of the apostles and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One inside in the left salon, the striking image of Nuestra Senor de la Esperanza stands to inspire. His influence can greatly be seen in Peru during Cuaresm and Holy Week, two grand events that take place each year.
Its history proves how this cathedral has stood the test of time and of trial. With devastating earthquakes striking Peru since the early 1600’s, this Cathedral still remains an inspiration to the people and to the tourists who come to seek refuge there. With a beautiful interior, the intricate carving work of the wooden seats of the choir and the ornamented ‘ Immaculada ‘ chapel of baroque style leave spectators gazing.
King Charles V donated the ivory Christ that can be seen in the ‘ Immaculada’ chapel. These small touches that can be found throughout the cathedral make this a place of both worship and of attraction to those who enter its doors.
Saint Peter’s Church
This baroque styled church was inaugurated in 1638 after Saint Paul. The name however was changed after the Order of the Jesuits was expelled from the Colonies of Spain in 1767.
It is a strong construction and is considered the most sturdy of all of the churches in Lima. With its bells that chime to symbolize its grandeur, Saint Peter’s Church is also known for its 3 hour sermon that was preached around the world after its inauguration.
The facades are beautiful and were largely inspired by both the Renaissance and the Neoclassical movements. Double cornices, Roman Pilasters and three doors corresponding three naves make up the central interior of the church.
The central nave is by far the tallest and is only enhanced further by the semi-spherical dome found in the crucible. Throughout the church, impacting images and artwork tell the intriguing story of Saint Peter, Patron of the church.
Saint Carlos Church
This church formerly belonged to the Jesuit Novicate of San Antonio de Abad in the early 17th century before becoming the church that it is known as today, Saint Carlos Church. After the collapse of the church in 1746 due to a powerful earthquake, the reconstructed church has stood as a true example while boasting its religious architecture and beauty. In the year 1876 it became the Chapel of the National Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos Major National University.
The façade is grand showing two different bodies done in contrasting styles. The lower one is more simplistic where the upper one is more lavish in design. A lovely touch added to this structure is the side door. The carved wood is beautiful as it shows the embellishing Baroque style. The interior altar stands proud at the front of the church with a curved roof and strong columns.
During the year 1924, the Church was refurbished and a crypt was built underneath the crucible. This soon became the Pantheon of the Founding Fathers of the Independence of Peru with two marble staircases leading down below. Though this church is a bit smaller in stature, its beauty and finesse is one that many will enjoy.
Santa Rosa de Lima Church and Sanctuary
This church and sanctuary was built sometime between the 17th and 18th centuries next to the house where Santa Rosa de Lima, the Patroness of Lima, America had been born. The sanctuary was completed in 1728 after the saint who had passed over 100 years earlier and was soon demolished to construct a church in its place. In 1912, the Dominicans took over, removed the church and rebuilt a sanctuary in place of the church. Presently, it stands as both a church and a sanctuary.
In the area of the Sanctuary, there are still several rooms there where the patron saint actually dwelled. Today, one can still see the precious though humble garden where the saint herself planted a lemon tree. One of its other attractions is the 19 deep well where it is said that she threw her torment belt. It is believed that she wrapped this belt around her waist in order to inflict pain upon herself as an act of penitence. Believers of this saint would write letters that they would then throw into the well.
Over to the right side of the entrance one will see the ‘ infirmary’ with her place of birth. Towards the left, visitors can see her place of birth, which later became her cell. For those who are interested in this saint, in her life and in her beliefs this is a beautiful place to visit.