20131224

Basilica Cathedral of Lima and Museum of Religious Art - Dec 15th



One of the main tourist attractions in Lima, Peru, is The Basilica Cathedral of Lima, a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the Plaza Mayor (or Plaza de Armas) of downtown Lima.  It's one of the most impressive sacred buildings in the city.  Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer "who conquered the Incas" founded the city of Lima in 1535, and laid the cathedral cornerstone the same year.



The layout for this immense structure was dictated by Francisco Pizarro himself, and his basic vision has survived despite extensive rebuilds after devastating earthquakes in 1746 and 1940. The first church on the site was completed in 1625.  Additionally, there is the very good Museum of Religious Art located inside in the rear of the cathedral. Both places are filled to the brim, so don't think that there are just a few points of interest here. This is a must-see stop in Lima.  Inside are many sculptures, paintings, ornaments and tombs within the main nave and 14 side chapels, 12 of which were recently restored.  The art work is breathtaking.

 Gold.  Pizarro would've killed for it....


 One of the 14 side chapels.

 ...each one different, all awe-inspiring.
 


Our guide spoke English about as well as I speak Spanish (well, hers was better), so we missed much of what she said.  She took us down  into the catacombs ... and that was a creepy experience.  Jimmy and I are sure there's a lot more under the cathedral than what we saw or were told.

 This room under the display glass is about six feet deep and contained children's coffins from loong ago.

 I missed the explanation for this.  Probably just as well....

Pizarro's glass coffin.

I'm going to quote from Wikipedia now - it's fascinating stuff.  "Pizarro's remains were briefly interred in the cathedral courtyard; at some later time his head and body were separated and buried in separate boxes beneath the floor of the cathedral. In 1892, in preparation for the anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Americas, a body believed to be that of Pizarro was exhumed and put on display in a glass coffin. However, in 1977 men working on the cathedral's foundation discovered a lead box in a sealed niche, which bore the inscription, "Here is the head of Don Francisco Pizarro. Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered Peru and presented it to the crown of Castile." A team of forensic scientists from the United States was invited to examine the two bodies, and they soon determined that the body which had been honored in the glass case for nearly a century had been incorrectly identified. The skull within the lead box not only bore the marks of multiple sword blows, but the features bore a remarkable resemblance to portraits made of the man in life."

So be it and Amen!  Oh, one more picture.

 Across from the Cathedral.  Couldn't resist it!

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1 comment:

  1. sensory overload, eh? wow, just wow.

    ReplyDelete

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