Cathedral of Lima (Catedral de Lima)
Designed by Francisco Pizarro, the Cathedral of Lima’s construction began in 1535, with the Spanish conquistador ceremonially placing the first stone. Architects have added substantive embellishments over the years, such as the twin neoclassical towers erected in the 1790s. Beyond a trio of grand doorways, the comparatively austere interior has remarkable wood-carved choir stalls, tile mosaics, and a gold-plated altar. Travelers may choose to visit the cathedral as part of a walking and sightseeing tour or as a stop along the way on a city bike tour. Excursions generally follow the popular pedestrian street that runs south of the cathedral to Plaza San Martin. Nighttime visits are also pleasant, when the church is bathed in romantic floodlights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry includes a guided tour and a visit to the cathedral's Museum of Religious Art.
- The Museum of Religious Art exhibits a significant collection of paintings, sculptures, and chalices.
- Though there is no set dress code but modest attire is best, even in summer months.
- Parents with children in tow will need to decide whether or not to visit the basement crypt.
- There are human skulls on display, which may be disturbing for little ones.
How to Get There
The Cathedral of Lima is in the heart of the city’s historic center at Plaza Mayor. Desamparados is the closest railway station.
When to Get There
Open year-round, the cathedral is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Hours are usually Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm, and Saturdays 10am–1pm. Masses are typically held Saturdays at 9am and Sundays at 11am.
See Where Pizarro Rests, Finally
One of the cathedral’s most popular attractions can be found inside the first chapel on the right as you enter: the extravagant marble tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador who claimed vast swaths of Latin America (including Peru) for the Spanish crown. In 1977, construction workers had found a casket marked with his name, though oddly enough, what had been thought to be the true mummified body of Pizarro had been in a glass casket, on display at the cathedral for over 100 years.
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- Archbishop’s Palace of Lima
- Lima Plaza Mayor
- Historic Centre of Lima (Centro Historico de Lima)
- Municipal Palace (City Hall of Lima)
- Presidential Palace
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo
- San Pedro Church (Iglesia de San Pedro)
- Plaza San Martin
- Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas (Iglesia de las Nazarenas)
- Lima Art Museum (Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI)
- Church and Convent of Saint Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco)
- Love Park (Parque del Amor)
- Park of the Reserve (Parque de la Reserva)
- Magic Water Circuit
- Lima Cruise Port