Located in Lima’s historical district, the Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas isn’t the largest church, but it’s one of the city’s most beloved buildings for the painting that lies inside. With its soaring façade and pastel exterior, the building contributes to the colonial feel that’s so prominent in this old part of town, and was built in 1771 after a major earthquake destroyed many of Lima’s original buildings. For all its external beauty, however, it’s the Cristo Moreno painting that has brought it to international fame. Painted by a freed, African slave in the middle of the 17th century, it has miraculously made it through devastating earthquakes and escaped completely unscathed. As the church is dedicated to Lord of Miracles—the patron saint of Lima—the painting’s survival is seen as a physical manifestation of miracles, and when it isn’t hanging behind the main altar, it’s the center of a festival where thousands of revelers parade through the streets of old town. You can visit the church independently, or as part of a half-day, guided tour that visits Lima’s sanctuaries.
Insider's Tip: The festival usually takes place on October 18th and 28th. Crowds are heavy, but if you’re visiting Lima during these dates, and want to attend the festival, be sure to bring some purple clothing and prepare to be there the whole day.
The Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas is on the western end of Lima’s historical district. Dress code is semi-formal.