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Le Merced Church

Marvel at the intricate, carved façade and main entrance to a church that has survived almost half a century from the inception of Lima.

La Merced Church is a 16th-century basilica with an extraordinary main entrance carved from adobe and brick. It has been rebuilt several times after fires and earthquakes, but stands today as an inspiring example of baroque architecture. Inside the church, works of art decorate the walls and a grand statue stands in the center.

Admire the church’s baroque façade with statues, columns, a balcony and a large portal. Take photos of the main entrance, which was carved in 1591, from the spacious plaza in front of the church. Marvel at the stone arcades and columns inside the church. Take a look at the Cross of Padre Urraca, a man believed to have performed many wonders in the 16th century. 

Look at the colonial works of art hanging on the walls of the church. They tell the story of the life of the church’s founder, Fray Miguel de Orenes. His remains are buried in the church, under a plaque in the nave of the Epistle. In the center of the church stands a statue of Our Lady of Mercy, who is said to be the protector of the city.

The full name of the site is La Basilica Menor y Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Basilica and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy). It is said to have been built on land that previous belonged to the Mercedarian Order, an ancient convent dedicated to ransoming Christians being held captive. The original structure was built in 1541 from wood. It was rebuilt in the second half of the 18th century.

The church opens daily in the morning and again in the evening, with an afternoon closure that lasts several hours.

La Merced Church is located just south of the Rimac River in the historic center of the city. It is near to many significant attractions, such as the Aliaga Virreynal House and the San Pedro Church. It is two blocks southwest of Plaza Mayor, a spacious square that contains the Government Palace and the Lima Cathedral. Ride the bus to the Estación Jirón de la Union stop, which is next to La Merced Church. From the disused Desamparados Station by the river, you can walk four blocks southwest to the church.


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