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La Merced Church

From its ingeniously carved main entrance to its beloved central statue, this church stands as  a glorious reminder of Lima's rich religious history.

Enter La Merced Church through its majestic portal and admire its restored 16th-century architecture. This basilica's original adobe and brick-built style remains today, though it had to be reconstructed after several fires and earthquakes over the centuries. Admire its baroque style architecture, see walls decorated by old painting and stop by the main chamber's central statue.   

The church's statues, columns, balcony and portal all bear the hallmarks of the Baroque period. The grand main entrance, carved in 1591, is an attraction in itself. Follow stone arcades and columns that create a sense of weight in the basilica's interior. Pay a tribute to the Cross of Padre Urraca, which memorialises a religious figure who is believed to have performed miracles in the 16th century. 

Works of art hanging on the walls give an insight into colonial culture. Scenes depict the life of Fray Miguel de Orenes, the church's founder. This figure remains with the church; he was buried underneath the nave of the Epistle. In the centre of the space, an impressive statue of Our Lady of Mercy stands as the symbolic protector of Lima.  

Legends say that the church was built on the land of the Mercedarian order, a convent known for ransoming captive Christians. Its original building was constructed from wood in 1541. In the 18th century, this deteriorating structure was rebuilt. You may hear it called  La Basilica Menor y Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Basilica and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy), owing to its interior statue.

Find La Merced Church in Lima's historic central district, just south of the Rimac River. Nearby attractions include the Aliaga Virreynal House and the San Pedro Church. Walk there from Plaza Mayor, the city's main square, which is flanked by the Government Palace and the Lima cathedral. The Desamparados Station, a disused train depot, is also worth a visit.

The church is open daily, though it closes each afternoon for a few hours before reopening.  


Guide to Exploring Basilica and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy


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