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26 October 2012 / leggypeggy

Lima’s Santo Domingo worth a visit

Santo Domingo, Lima

Cloisters and courtyard

After a couple of months in South America, I’m pretty churched out, but every now and then a religious location captures my interest and admiration.

The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima is one of those ‘hidden’ wonders, and I’ve been surprised how hard it is to find information about this location.

Two reputable guidebooks don’t mention it at all and it’s very hard to find anything online, except for one very lengthy piece in Spanish. The very little I found in English seems to have been written in gibberish, or badly translated from a Spanish source.

Santo Domingo, Lima

Spanish tiles

That said, maybe I’m looking in the wrong places and under the wrong names, because I have seen it referred to as a basilica, monastery, convent, church and more. In any event, my details here may be inaccurate.

Regardless, it is certainly worth a visit. The day we went, there was a huge banner hung outside advertising the Convento Santo Domingo part of the complex, so I’m going to assume the ‘owners’ of the place know who they are.

Santo Domingo, Lima

Entrance on right

We paid our 5 soles (about $2) admission and entered this vast pink building (climbing the bell tower was not an option on our day).

Built in about the mid-1500s on land granted to the Dominican Friar Vicente de Valverde, the church/convent has been rebuilt and remodeled many times over the centuries.

The convent has beautiful gardens, courtyards and cloisters. The church itself has three naves.

Santo Domingo, Lima

The relic skulls

A big claim to fame (and the reason I find the lack of information so surprising) is that the convent has the tombs of three important Peruvian saints: San Juan Macías, Santa Rosa de Lima and San Martín de Porres (the continent’s first black saint).

In fact, the church has the more cherished relics—the skulls of San Martin and Santa Rosa, displayed in glass cases to the right of the main alter.

But my favourite spots within the church and convent were the many courtyards and cloisters and the Spanish-style patios with their colourful array of Moorish tiles brought from Spain.

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Leave a Comment
  1. mickeydownunder1 / Oct 26 2012 7:41 pm

    WHAT attention to detail too!
    Know after experiencing hundreds….glad you found something exciting about this one as if it was the first one you and Poor John did get to experience and do!

    Thought you might enjoy this link too!


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