The Cathedral of Lima is the main Catholic temple in Lima, Peru. It is located on the eastern front of the Plaza Mayor de Lima, in the block delimited by the shreds Carabaya (Gradas de la Catedral street), Huallaga (Judíos street), Lampa (Santa Apolonia street) and Junín (Arzobispo street). The construction of the Cathedral began with the foundation of Lima in 1535 and had several phases; the current temple began to be built in 1572 and was consecrated in 1625. After several modifications and restorations due to the constant earthquakes, the current towers were built between 1794 and 1797.
It was elevated to the Metropolitan Church by the Bull Super Universa Orbis of Pope Paul III in 1546. It is dedicated to Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
The Cathedral of Lima is the largest of the churches and the most important in Peru, it is part of the cultural heritage of humanity and is located within the center of Lima.
The influx of visitors is mainly due to the architectural richness of the building. Without a doubt, it is a very touristy place that joins the list of activities to do in Lima.
On March 11, 1540, five years after the city of Lima was founded, the first church built by Francisco Pizarro was inaugurated on the site of the cathedral. It was later erected as a Cathedral by Paul III on May 14, 1541 and as a Metropolitan Church in 1546.
Given the importance of the bishopric, the Dominican Jerónimo de Loayza, the first Bishop of Lima, was concerned about the construction of a larger church, modifying the original plans of the first church. To this second church inaugurated in 1551 a third was added, whose construction work began in 1572.
Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, second archbishop of Lima, inaugurated the first part of the third cathedral in 1598. The plant or structure of this third Cathedral Church has remained unchanged from that moment to the present.
However, the Basilica could only be consecrated on October 1, 1625, almost ninety years after its construction began. The great problem that has arisen throughout history has been that the different earthquakes that occurred in Lima (1609, 1678, 1687, 1690, 1746, etc.) mainly damaged the vaults. On January 6, 1898, the Cathedral of Lima was inaugurated with the appearance that we see it today.
The Facade of the Temple of Lima or Cathedral of Lima is what catches the attention of every traveler. The entire facade of the Temple presents the Renaissance style with pleasant and admirable details with perfect carvings, in addition to this there are also statues outside its building, the main and the most outstanding is the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the main shield of the city of Lima with a phrase «Plus Ultra».
Like most of the temples or cathedrals throughout Peru, they have three main doors. Each one has a name, the largest door to the main square is called «Portón del Perdón», the side to the right bears the name «Puerta de la Epistle» and the left «Puerta del Evangelio».
Description of its Interior
The interior of the design of the Cathedral of Lima has several styles, the main ones are the following: Late Gothic, Renaissance, El Borraco and Plateresco.
The beginning of the construction of the building shows the Renaissance style, which has a rectangular hall plan, which emulates the Cathedral of Seville. And the Part of the Roof has two styles, Gothic and ribbed, which form a sky with stars, with details and perfect carvings, all of them carved in wood.
Its altars bear the Borraco design and some neo-class designs, while its chapels and sacristy still retain their colonial style.
What to do in the Cathedral of Lima?
Admire the external and internal architecture of the Lima Cathedral. The entire building on the outside is built in the Renaissance style and its towers are neoclassical, reflecting the history from the time of the viceroyalty until today.
The interior is a true artistic gem influenced by the styles: late Gothic, Renaissance, Plateresque and Baroque.
The ceiling of the Cathedral of Lima simulates a starry sky and the internal areas have many Renaissance, Neoclassical and Baroque details, such as the altar.
The temple houses important historical relics such as the remains of Francisco Pizarro, the founder of Lima, and the choir stalls.
Chapels to admire
The cathedral of Lima has 13 chapels inside, they are representations of emblematic chapels for Peruvian society. They are really elaborate spaces with lots of details.
All are a work of art, however among them we highlight:
- Chapel of the immaculate conception.
- Chapel of the Virgin of Peace.
- Chapel of the Peruvian saints.
- Chapel of Our Lady of Hope.
Museum of religious art
Inside, the cathedral of Lima houses the Museum of Religious Art, in which pieces of the ecclesiastical history of Lima are observed, such as paintings and religious sculptures.
They have a large collection of Santísimos, all owned by the city. Many were gifts made to the church by Peruvian and international artists.
With the tour inside the museum you will be able to understand about the historical life of Lima on the religious plane. It takes approximately 30 minutes.
Crypts in the cathedral
Part of the tour inside the Cathedral of Lima is to know the crypts that reflect how burials were carried out in colonial Lima, since they were made there until the opening of the Presbítero Maestro cemetery.
Inside the crypts the funeral customs that they had are evident, especially for the wealthy class of society.
This area is not suitable for visiting with children or cars, as it is located on a slope towards the basement.
It is advisable to do the visit on a tour because it guarantees the safety of traveling throughout the sector as well as the entrances to other places, as well as comments from a local.
- The bathrooms are available to the visiting public.
- There is a small cafe to enjoy during the visit.
- The souvenir shop contains replicas, postcards and other memorabilia of pieces from the church.
- The visit can be perfectly carried out with children and / or baby carriages, except the crypts.
Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sundays Masses are held at 11.00 am.
Hours of the Museum of religious art
Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays 10am to 1pm.
The entrance to the Cathedral of Lima is free, however the cost to enter the museum of religious art is:
- General admission 10 soles.
- Children 2 soles.
How to get?
Guided tours: The recommendation of the tour is because it is an area with a moderate level of security, the risk decreases by always being with a tourist staff.
Metropolitan of Lima: Union Station. Tell a system worker to tell you the address depends on your place of your location. From there you must walk towards the Plaza de Armas.
From Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco it can take about 30 minutes to get to the center of Lima.
- Main Square.
- The catacombs of Lima.
- House of Peruvian Literature.
- Government Palace of Peru.
- Municipal theater of Lima.