Churches of Latin America: Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, Peru

Today we begin our first instalment of our consideration of the Churches of Latin America with the Basilica and Convent of St. Francis in Lima, Peru. The first structure on this site, dated to the 16th century, was destroyed in an earthquake in 1655, and so construction began on the current structure in 1657 and was finally completed in 1669 under the direction of the Portugesee architect, Constantino de Vasconcellos. The structure is considered an example of Peruvian baroque and includes both the basilica as well as the attached monastery which includes an impressive cloister. 

The interior of the basilica is that much more stunning, 

Here are two of the statues found in the altarpieces of the basilica. The first the Virgin and Child of course, the second is called "St. Benedict the Moor." 

Also of interest in this basilica is the crypt which functioned as a colonial era graveyard and houses the remains of more than 70,000 individuals. As is often seen within Europe, many of the remains have been arranged in an artistic way.

Finally, I'd leave our readers with an image of the impressive monastery library which houses 25,000 volumes, many dating back to the 15th and 16th century.  

The lesson here in part is that if you think you can only experience historical Catholic art and architecture in Europe, that isn't the case. There are many treasures in the new world well worth a visit. 

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