As Peruvian history proves, there have been a number of different inhabitants, religions and cultures over the years. Though each and every one of these cultures echoes throughout the country, one of the remnants that you are most likely to come across while you are walking Peru, are the impressive cathedrals, harking back to the days of Roman Catholic dominance.
A baroque cathedral of enormous proportions, this cathedral is found in the Plaza Mayor of Lima and cannot be missed if you are on foot and walking. Peru's influences are all around the cathedral, despite its Roman Catholic origins; almost certainly the most impressive element of a visit to the cathedral is to venture into the chapel made of colourful mosaics, which houses the tomb of the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the man who conquered the empire of the Incas and founded the city of Lima. The most modern part of the cathedral, the altar, was replaced in the 1800s and features a somewhat more neoclassical style than the rest of the cathedral. However, the interior of the cathedral is impressive in its entirety, with delicate ceilings, chequerboard floors and intricately carved baroque furniture such as the choir stalls. Having survived several earthquakes, this cathedral still stands tall over the town of Lima.
Cathedral of Santo Domingo
The Cathedral of Santo Domingo, found in Cusco, rests on the same spot that was once the location of the Incan palace of Wirachocha. Once again heavily influenced by elements of the baroque era, the cathedral is said to have been over a century in the making and is partially formed of stones taken from the site of the Sacsayhuamn fortress. If art is something that you are planning to see whilst walking Peru, then this is a cathedral well worth a visit. The walls are lined with some of the most impressive examples of the Cusquena school of painting; including a portrayal of the last supper in which the disciples dine on the local delicacy of guinea pig. Contributing to its grandiose nature, five chapels can be found in the cathedral, one of which is dedicated to the lord of the earthquakes. A truly impressive baroque-style cathedral, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo cannot fail to make an impact on anyone walking in Peru.
Stretching the entire length of the northern end of the Armas Plaza in which it sits, the Arequipa Cathedral has been somewhat accident prone in the past. Gutted by a fire in the mid 1800s, the cathedral was rebuilt only to have one of its enormous towers displaced by an earthquake in 2001. However, to this day the cathedral stands tall and is often described as one of the most unique buildings you will see during your time walking. Peru's influences are again, omnipresent in and around the cathedral, with Spanish colonial aspects featuring prominently within the cathedral's architecture. The largest organ in the whole of South America is also to be found within the Arequipa Cathedral, having been donated by Belgium in 1870. Undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary buildings you will see, this cathedral is certainly not to be missed.
So, if cathedrals are one of the landmarks that you particularly like to see whilst you are walking, Peru will certainly not disappoint.