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CHURCHES AND CONVENTS

The Cathedral

To Related image to the Multimedia Gallery Nonetheless, out of all the churches and convents in the Historical Center, three stand out from the rest respect to their history and significance. The Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo and the Convent of San Francisco merge the main features of Lima's religious buildings.

Cathedral with a History. That prevailing atmosphere of immense faith found mainly in the Historical Center made its appearance on January 18, 1535, when conquistador Francisco Pizarro, himself, laid the founding stone and carried on his shoulders the first log of timber to be used in the construction of what today is the Cathedral of Lima.

Facing the Main Square (Plaza Mayor)To Related image to the Multimedia Gallery, the Cathedral has undergone countless modifications throughout its 463 years of history yet still maintains, unlike the buildings which surround it, its colonial structure and facade.

Initially it was modest; the days were difficult, a time of fighting, conflict and tension among the Spaniards themselves; but in 1564 this began to change when architect Alonso Beltran, with the support of archbishop Jeronimo de Alayza, designed a temple of great dimensions inspired on the cathedral of Seville.

Construction started with the destruction of the 'adobe' (mud brick) walls but the project had to be stopped as it was too costly. Years later, architect Francisco Becerra, whose art had greatly impressed at Puebla, Quito and Cuzco, was asked to design the final plan for the temple.

Becerra, from Extremadura, Spain, and of renaissance roots, restricted the plan to only three naves of equal height and two sections for the chapel, all enclosed within a huge rectangle in manner of a hall with a flat hearing partition.

In 1609 an earthquake destroyed the domes; which were rebuilt but with less height. In 1624, the Cathedral of Lima was formally consecrated. Two years later, Juan Martinez de Arrona and Pedro de Noguera designed the main facade which, due to the niches it had in both wings for protecting the saints, was considered as the first "portada-retablo" of viceroyal architecture; a design trend highly widespread during the time.

Today, the Cathedral rises majestically in the heart of Lima. It is a symbol of the city; maybe because it was born with the city or perhaps because in its first lateral chapel there is an urn with the ashes of Francisco Pizarro, the 'conquistador' and founder of this thrice-crowned town.


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Santo Domingo
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