Visit the Creepy Catacombs in Lima
Excerpt from Soul Searching in South America from the Teresa the Traveler series...
It was around 4pm by the time we got back from the tour and with some time still left in the day, Monique suggested we visit the catacombs. Catacombs’…isn’t that where they bury people? Sounds creepy, let’s go!
The San Francisco Monastery and Church were originally constructed in 1546, making it one of the oldest churches in South America. It also has one of the oldest and most historically significant libraries in the Americas with a dramatic collection of religious and secular art, including renaissance-era tiles imported from Spain. It served as the first official Catholic cemetery in Lima where, as per Roman custom, the dead were laid to rest in catacombs beneath the church. In fact if you look up into the grate from the catacombs, you can see the church.
We arrived just in time to join the next tour and, after checking out the library, cathedral and a number of other rooms in the monastery, we were brought downstairs to the creep catacombs. Our guide explained how the bodies were buried six deep in the first section and allowed to decompose before the bones were removed and buried again in one of the massive common graves. The catacombs were used until 1808 when the first cemetery was opened outside of Lima. Archaeologists excavated the site in 1943, and arranged the bones for public display.
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Unfortunately people are not allowed to take pictures or video in the catacombs, but since I am a writer, I managed to get special permission and a private tour. Check out the video on my YouTube channel.
Where I Stayed...
Flying Dog Hostel Peru
280 Martir Olaya St. Miraflores
Singles, double and triple rooms available as well as dorm rooms. Common kitchen, lounge and pub.
How to Get There - Lima has an international airport, fly in then take a cab to the catacombs