The Church and Convent of Saint Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco) is a spectacular example of Moorish-inspired Spanish baroque colonial grandeur, but the real highlight is the spooky labyrinth of catacombs underground.
One of the best preserved churches in Lima, the Convent of San Francis of Assisi also has a remarkable library of antique texts and a tranquil cloistered garden.
A guided visit to the Museum and Convent takes you through the buildings’ history and architecture, before venturing into the underground passages lined with the bones of 25,000 Lima citizens from over 200 years of burials.
Bones were interred here until 1808, when Lima’s cemetery was established, and the catacombs lay undiscovered until 1943. A visit is not for the fainthearted, but those who do make the journey will be surprised to see the various skulls and thigh bones arranged in decorative patterns.
On the tour you’ll also visit the library of antique books, the pretty cloister, the museum of religious paintings and artifacts, the carved choir stalls and the Moorish-domed church.
The Iglesia and Museo de San Francisco is a block or two northeast of Lima’s cathedral, near the train station.