Over a large esplanade, in the limit of the Inca Cusipata, we find the strong and severe lines of the San Franisco Church and Convent. This is the third place where the church is built on. Fray Pedro Portugues founded the temple in 1534 in the current quarter of San Blas. After four years, it moved to the grounds of Casana in the porch of "Bread", and only after 1549 it finally settled down on its definitive manor house, in lands that belonged to the conqueror Hernando Pizarro.
The construction of San Francisco Church
After demolishing the primitive temple in 1645, the Franciscans started to build the current one that was seriously affected by the earthquake in 1650. However, the work continued and the temple was finished in October in 1651. Documents from that time state the participation of the Franciscan architect fray Pedro de Oquendo and numerous native stonecutters such as Sebastian Inca Roca and Juan Guaman from the towns of San Jeronimo and Caicai respectively.
The Church of San Francisco
The most outstanding external feature of this church is the strong unique tower and the two proto-baroque facades on the plain stonewalls. At the entrance, there is a narthex portico (with ceiling), unique in the city. On the right, we find the old chapel of San Pedro Alcantara, now turned into a parochial office. It has a wonderful collection of canvases of the miraculous life of the Franciscan saint mentioned before. Sumptuous baroques and golden frames protect it all.
The internal decoration
Inside, it is quite wide and divided into three naves with Latin cross. The central body is higher and solid groin vaults cover the presbytery. Unfortunately, the altars carved by fray Pedro de Oquendo and other baroque joiners have been replaced by neo gothic samples lacking of artistic interest. We consider it is important to mention only some old images of quality such as the one about San Francisco de Asis and the Christ of the marshal of Valleumbroso. The pulpit is a great work of carving from the beginning of the XVII century, and it is completely similar to the choir desk of the high choir.
The Franciscan choir, probably worked by Sebastian Martinez in 1631, is one of the best samples of this type in Peru. The circuit to the religious museum of San Francisco includes a visit to this church, the cloisters and their huge possession of canvases and images. Outstanding inside the convent, we find a monumental canvas of Juan Espinoza de los Monteros. It is 12 and 9 meters and represents the genealogy of the Franciscan family.