The Basilica Cathedral of Lima is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the Plaza Mayor of downtown Lima, Peru. Construction began in 1535, and the building has undergone many reconstructions and transformation since, however it still retains its colonial structure and facade.
In keeping with the majority of cathedrals the front facade has
three large doorways. The main or central gateway is called the
Portada del Perdón or the "door of forgiveness".
Above the doorway, instead of Lima's coat-of-arms,
there appears the Peruvian seal, and the phrase "Plus Ultra".
There are also no less than 14 side doors; one of which opens on
to Calle de Judíos (Street of the Jews) and another on to
the Patio de los Naranjos (Square of the Oranges, connected
to the Cathedral). At the rear there are 2 more entrances: Santa
Apolonia and San Cristóbal. Set on the front facade are
sculptures of the Apostles and in the middle, the Sacred Heart of
Jesus. Adjoining the Cathedral are the Parroquia del
Sagrario (one of the oldest ones in Lima) and the Archbishop's
Inside, along the side aisles, are a sequence of large paintings
of the Via Crucis, "Way of the Cross. Pope John Paul II
visited this cathedral on two occasions, in 1985 and 1988. This is
commemorated with signs at the entrance. In the left aisle, the
first chapel holds the
ancient baptistery. Here can be seen a beautiful image of
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, who presides over the events
during Cuaresm and Holy Week.
During a recent restoration, ancient pictures were found in this
chapel that are now able to be seen by the public.
The next chapel is Capilla de la Sagrada Familia (chapel
of the Holy Family), featuring figures of Jesus, Mary and
The Cathedral also contains the tomb of the Spanish conquistador
of Peru, Francisco Pizarro.
The following chronological data is based on the work of the
priest Antonio San Cristóbal.
The conqueror Francisco Pizarro laid the first stone, carrying
on his shoulders the first log used in the construction of the
Cathedral. The chosen location was between the Main Plaza and the
"Street of the Jews," ("Calle de Judíos", in Spanish).
- 1538: The construction of the first church was completed. It
was mainly built of adobe, primitive, small and rustic.
- March 11, 1540: The church was officially inaugurated by
- May 14, 1541: A papal bull of Pope Paul III, Illius Fulciti
Praesidio, designated the church a Cathedral, by creating the
diocese of the City of the Kings.
The Cathedral now became part of the assigned region of Saint John
the Evangelist ("San Juan Evangelista" in Spanish) and ceased to
depend on Cusco.
- 1542: The cathedral underwent several improvements and minor
extensions, paid for by García de Salcedo.
- September 17, 1543: Bishop Jerónimo de Loayza signed the "Lima
Cathedral Construction Act" and selected its council.
- February 12, 1546: The church was upgraded to a Metropolitan
Church, and "The Kings" became an Archdiocese. This is done by the
papal bull Super Universa Orbis of Pope Paul III.
- 1551: Inauguration of the second Cathedral by Archbishop
Jerónimo de Loayza.
- 1564: Archbishop Jerónimo de Loayza assigned the task of
redesigning the Cathedral to Alonso Beltrán, with instructions to
base his design on the Cathedral of Seville in Spain.
- 1572: Work on the third Cathedral began with the demolition of
the adobe walls of the
second cathedral, but the project was quickly abandoned because of
the high cost.
- 1598: The Renaissance
architect Francisco Becerra reduced the plans to only 3 aisles,
plus 2 chapels. Works on the third Cathedral were recommenced.
- February 2, 1604: Archbishop Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo
inaugurated the first part of the third Cathedral.
- 1609: An Earthquake destroyed the vaults of the recently built
- on the front facade]]
1614-1615: The old Renaissance vaults were rebuilt at a lower
height in a Gothic style.
- August 15, 1622: First Mass in the finished third
- October 19, 1625: Archbishop Gonzalo de Ocampo consecrated the
third Lima Cathedral.
- 1626: Juan Martínez de Arona and Pedro de Noguera designed the
main portal as it is today.
- 1687: Another earthquake destroyed the vaults of the
- December 7, 1697: Reconstruction of the Cathedral finished and
it was officially inaugurated.
- 1732: Two additional portals were added.
- 1746: An Earthquake destroyed many vaults and pillars.
- May 29, 1755: The first part of the rebuilt Cathedral was
- December 8, 1758: The second part of the rebuilt Cathedral was
- December 8, 1778: Archibishop Diego Antonio de Parada
inaugurated the renovated interior of the Cathedral.
- 1794-1797: Construction of the current towers of the Cathedral,
designed by the architect Ignacio Martorell.
- January 17, 1893: The Cathedral was closed because it was in
disrepair and in dire need of restoration.
- January 7, 1896: Internal renovation works were begun.
- January 6, 1898: Inauguration of renovated Cathedral.
- 1940: Earthquake. Restoration by Emilio Harth-Terré.
- 2005: New lights were installed.
- Augusto Vargas Alzamora
- Juan Guevara
- Antonio de Mendoza
- James Nazrkewich
- Francisco Pizarro
- Juan Landázuri Ricketts