ItchyFeetTraveler

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Saint Augustine
Iglesia de San Francisco and complex
(Church of Saint Francis)


 The original Church of Saint Francis, built in 1569, was the third church built in Arequipa. The original structure, with a single vaulted nave and a sanctuary with a cupola, was remodeled and enlarged after the 1687 earthquake using the popular white sillar stone. Architects had another opportunity to remodel the church after the 1960 earthquake.

 The Church complex includes the San Francisco Church, the convent and the minor chapel known to be from the third Franciscan Order. Its square shaped tower, which is covered with a dome, supports a belltower with a half pointed arch-shaped window on one side. One of the few notable features in the church is a baroque pulpit with embossing and steps in front of the platform on which the main altar was situated. It also has a beautiful altar of wrought silver and a beautiful stone choir in the Baroque design.

Under the Roman style convent cloisters are cells where the Third Franciscan Order practiced spiritual rites. The cloisters enclose a lovely plaza populated by carved stone animal statues in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. There is an unobstructed view of El Misti and snow-capped Chachani volcanoes from the second level of the enclosure.

The complex also houses a variety of paintings, priest ornaments and silver 17th century utensils in the Pinacoteca Gallery, a sacred art museum. Its library holds more than 20,000 volumes of valuable books and ecclesiastical documents. A tall iron fence separates the stone patio from a plazuela with flowering Blue Jacarandas. It provides a shady, peaceful respite for anyone visiting the Church complex or for those just passing by. 


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