San Francisco Monastery
Attractions & Activities In Lima
This UNESCO-listed monastery is most famous for its macabre crypts, which contains skulls and bones from tens of thousands of bodies. In addition to the ghoulish catacombs, the convent also contains three churches – all excellent examples of the Spanish Baroque style architecture – as well as a remarkable library with close to 25,000 antique books and manuscripts, some dating back to the earliest days of the Spanish conquest. Among the vintage tomes is the very first Spanish dictionary to be issued by the Royal Spanish Academy and a rare late 16th-century bible.
Understandably, many visitors who come here are most taken with the idea of seeing the crypts, which were only discovered in 1943. Descending below the ground to this macabre and shadowy world of bone-lined hallways and subterranean vaults is a rather strange and spooky experience – the artistic arrangement of the skulls and bones, which are laid out in curious mountainous heaps as well as carefully decorated spirals, adds to the eeriness.
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