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CHURCHES IN LIMA

Our Lady of Mercy Church and Convent Santa Rosa de Lima Church Saint Sebastian Church Saint Marcelo Church

OUR LADY OF MERCY
CHURCH AND CONVENT

Once established the Order of the Mercedaries, the construction of this important example of Colonial architecture was started in 1536. The popular stories tell that its founder, Fray Miguel de Orenes, arrived to the shores of Peru at an age of 110 years and witnessed the slaughter of the Conqueror Francisco Pizarro.

The first church was done in wood, but during the first decade of the 17th Century a new building was constructed, this time with stouter materials. In spite of the disastrous modifications to which it was submitted, the façade and some elegant interiors are still standing.

The Church has a granite façade profusely carved in the year of 1687. The ceiling was decorated with a technique known as esgrafiado, a method of carving over paste gypsum and a striking number of tiny baroque and gilded altarpieces, like those of San Serapio and the Virgen de la Antigua.

From the interior of the Temple can be mentioned the neoclassical Main altar. Above it, an image of the Virgen Mercedaria is located, designated as Patroness of the Army by the Constitutional Assembly in 1823.

The chamber of the Virgin is crowned by a beautiful dome that, along with the one existing in the sacristy, has been done in a unique style.

The Temple also contains the altar of the Virgin of Lourdes, arranged in three bodies. The bottom one fashioned with profusely elaborated Ionic columns. The middle one containing the same number of partitions as the first with their respective effigies and the uppermost composed by a single niche framed by corbels.

There can also be mentioned the fine carvings on the stools of the choir above the main entrance, the Rococo styled altarpieces, like the one of Nuestra Señora de la Piedad Our Lady of Pity, sculptures as the Cristo del Auxilio - The Christ of Aid, done by Martínez Montañez in the 17th Century and several relieves by Martín Alonso de Mesa.

The Convent also preserves two magnificent Cloisters built with stones from Panama, both containing details with an undeniable Mudejar (Arabic-Spanish style) influence.

The two upper cloisters are connected by a superb stairway. It consists of three stages and is sheltered by a rectangular vestibule crowned by a dome with pechinas (curvilinear triangles at the base of the dome). The Sacristy of the Convent treasures the so called Cruz de la Conquista or Cross of the Conquest brought by the first monks of the Order to arrive to these lands.

Initially, the Convent of La Merced stood as the City borderline. The Spanish chronicler Bernabë Cobo wrote that whenever the neighbours took a ride through the City, "whereupon, as if from the end of the town, they would pull the reins back towards the village"

La Merced also owns one of the best collections of colonial canvasses and sculptures in the City of Lima.

Location: 621 Jirón de la Unión Street. At 300 metres distance from the Main Square.
Phone: (511) 427-8199.
Visits: Monday - Saturday from 8:00 am till Noon, and 5:00 to 8:00 pm. On Sundays and holidays from 7:00 am till Noon, and from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Previous appointment required.



LIMA TOURS
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Palomino Islands
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SANTA ROSA DE LIMA CHURCH AND SANCTUARY

This archaeological complex was built between the 17th and 18th Centuries beside the house where Santa Rosa de Lima, Patroness of Lima, America and the Philippines was born.

The Sanctuary was finished in the year of 1728, a century after the death of the Saint, but was demolished to build a church in its place. In 1912, the Dominicans resumed the control of the place and then rebuilt the Sanctuary around 1923.

At the present days, the complex is composed by the Church and the Sanctuary.

The original façade became demolished in order to giving way to the Avenida Tacna Avenue. There still remains the back part of the Temple, where is kept the altar of the Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart). On this altar stands out the image of the Niño Jesús (Jesus Child), surnamed "El Doctorcito" or the "Little Doctor", due to the miraculous healings performed by him through Santa Rosa prayers.

The area of the Sanctuary comprises several rooms where the Saint actually dwelled. There can still be seen the precious though humble garden where she planted a lemon tree, and where is located the hermitage which she built herself for her prayer sessions. Moreover, her fingerprints are still cast upon the clay she used for its construction.

Another attraction is the 19 deep well into which, according to the popular belief, she dumped the chain of the torment belt she wrapped around her waist in order to attain pain as a signal of penitence. Her believers use to throw into these well written papers with their petitions to the Saint.

At the right side of the entrance is placed the "infirmary" and to the left the room where she was born and which she will later employ as her cell. From the latter are still preserved its furnishing, her books and torment belts. Among those objects there is a portrait, namely the only original one, painted by the artist Angelino Medoro, only few moments before her death.

The holiday of Santa Rosa de Lima is celebrated on every August 30th. It is one of the most concurred festivities by the citizens of Lima.

Location: First block of the Avenida Tacna Avenue in the intersection with the Jirón Lima Street. Four blocks away from the Main Square.
Phones: (511) 425-1279 and 425-0143.

Visits:
    To the Sanctuary: Monday - Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:30     pm to 6:20 pm. Previous appointment needed.
    To the Church: Monday - Sunday from 8:00 to 11:00 am and from 6:00 to 7:00     pm.



SAN SEBASTIAN CHURCH

Located beside the small square named alike, this is a typical spot of Lima. It is also one of the oldest buildings of the City, since it was constructed in the 16th Century. In it were baptised the saints Santa Rosa de Lima and Fray Martín de Porras.

This little church was refurbished after suffering severe damages from the Earthquake of 1940. There are to be mentioned a baptismal fountain done in marble and a richly ornamented altar in a Rococo style from Granada.

Location: Intersection of the Jirón Ica and the Jirón Chancay Streets, at 6 blocks from the Main Square.


THE IGLESIA DE SAN MARCELO - CHURCH

During the first years after its construction, this church fell under the administration of the fathers of the Order of Saint Agustin. Its construction began around the late 16th Century and has since endured a number of restorations. One of the latest (and also one of the worst) was executed during the third decade of the 20th Century, whereupon unnecessarily huge amounts of concrete plaster were applied to its Baroque façade.

Its real material and artistic value is to be found in its interior. There still remain some Baroque features as the Main altar, made with a dark wood, that show a profusion of fine carvings in a Churrigueresque style.

There are also some excellent sculptures of saints and a set of pompous ornaments that give as a result one of the best examples of Colonial altarpieces from the early 18th Century.

Location: Corner of Jirón Rufino Torrico Street and Avenoida Emancipación Avenue. 600 metres from the Main Square.