Located in the heart of Trujillo’s historic center, this cathedral (aka the Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary), brightly painted yellow with white wedding-cake piping and twin bell towers, is a stalwart representation of the city’s colonial past. Highlights are its noteworthy altarpieces and religious paintings in the cathedral’s art museum.
When Spanish conquistadors first arrived in Peru, they chose Trujillo as a major site from which to expand their continental crusade. The church as it stands today is actually the second reiteration of the original, which was built in the mid–17th century. Earthquakes in that century felled the first two, and subsequent reconstructions were made over following decades. Nevertheless, the cathedral is still one of the oldest Catholic structures in Peru.
You won’t miss the cathedral, which dominates the palm-fronded Plaza de Armas. The restored vaulted interior features a set of ornate baroque and rococo altarpieces, representing the height of Trujillo’s remarkable wood-engraving tradition. Look up to the coppola to admire the vivid painting illustrating Christ’s resurrection. Remarkable colonial-era Catholic paintings—in particular, one depicting John the Baptist—are found in the church’s Museum of Religious Art.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Trujillo Cathedral is a must for fans of religious art and architecture.
- Remember to be respectful to local customs in religious spaces and wear modest attire.
- Bring small change to make a customary donation.
- Masses are are notoriously cancelled without notice. Check with your hotel concierge if you would like to attend.
How to Get There
The Trujillo Cathedral is located in the city’s historic center on the Plaza de Armas, easy walking distance from most hotels in the area.
When to Get There
The cathedral and its museum are open 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturday. Masses are usually held at 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at 8pm on Thursday. Be sure to stroll by the church at night when it is illuminated, casting a charming glow over the plaza.
Roque Ceruti, a famous Italian classical composer living in Peru, was the conductor of the Viceroy of Peru’s private orchestra. His tenure as choirmaster at the Trujillo Cathedral during the early 18th century ruffled the feathers of local Spanish musicians who did not welcome the magnetic Italian influence he was having on religious music. Despite this, many of his works survive at the Episcopal Archive (Archivo Arzobispal) in Lima.