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The plaza and its blue church: Gothic, and full of history!

Translated by Kate Norman — 8 months ago

Original text by Jesus en su tinta

Hello everyone!

I hope that each one of you is well!

Today I want to tell you about when I went to the centre of Lima on my bicycle in the direction of the Lima Art Musuem, but along the way I decided to make some small stops along the way... One of these was the Plaza Recoleta, or better known as the Plaza Francia.

La Recoleta Church

As you can probably tell, La Plaza de la Recoleta, or de Francia, has a huge Gothic church coloured in impressive blue, contrasted against the grey skies of Lima. However, look! I'm telling you now that the skies over Lima are not always grey, and now that we are seeing the benefits of the El Niño phenomenon, we have days of intense sunshine and we see more colour in the skies. Historically, the grey sky prompted the buildings of colonial Lima to be made with bright and vocative colours in order to contrast with the famous "donkey belly" colour that only exists here, in my city. Everyone thinks that heavy rain is just about to fall, but no! It does not rain here much other than a few tiny drops, known as "llovizna" (drizzle).

La Plaza Triangular

This is a small plaza in the shape of a triangle found on the road on the right hand side of the San Martin Plaza towards the civic centre, where you will find the commercial centre. Here you can find many Peruvian designer clothes and food shops so that you can stop and enjoy the famous Peruvian cuisine.

There are only a few poeple who know this Plaza, and in order to become one of them, when the tourists follow the tour guide through the centre of Lima, they do not include this beautiful Plaza because usually they go to the the famous Plaza de Armas and the others around there, leaving this magnificent plaza's potential to go to waste.

Meanwhile, for the lovers of the unknown, this is a good place to sit for a moment, maybe a few years ago, this place was not safe to be at and a little dangerous, however today history is changing and we can find lots of interesting things in the centre of Lima like La Plaza Triangular, the beloved Plaza Francia or Recoleta, you can call it what you like!

Peace and tranquility without leaving the city

Some would say that to go into the centre of Lima is to listen to the turmoil of the traffic along the narrow streets and taxis everywhere. However, I want to tell you that despite this being slightly ture, this plaza possesses a special tranquility and is hidden. It is a place where you can sit and read a good book, or simply admire your beautiful surroundings. Maybe years before it was a little hectic, but nowadays the value it deserves is shining little by little and truthfully I can confess that it is one of the most captivating Plazas in the city.

Location of the Plaza Azul

For a better location I have given you a map so that you can walk through the historic city of Lima, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site

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Right in the central part of the map with red letters you will find the Plaza, it is really easy to get to it. Even if you walk or cycle you will find it easily.

The rose window from the Gothic style

In La Plaza Francia you can find one of the most peculiar churches in the centre of Lima, this is due to the fact that it is the only church with a clear gothic influence, as well as having a rose window that is on the main door of the church. This is the characteristic that is a classic example of the style, as well as the towers on the points:

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A gift from Francia to Lima

The Plaza has another name, La Plaza Recoleta, coming from the name of the Church that we have mentioned, on the other hand, the name Francia comes from when the space was remodeled by the colonial French in Lima with the motivation of nothing more than to mark the 100 years of Peruvian independence since the start of the 20th century.

Intense colours!

A detail that I love about the church is that it has a colour blue, one of my favourite colours, and as I have already told you, the majority of houses and churches in colonial Lima are painted with bright colours, in order to make a contrast with the grey skies of Lima, but we are going to be able to appreciate in the photo I took, there is a cloudless sky.

The History of the University and its distinguished members

Inside the Plaza Francia in Lima, you will also find a sculpture of a person who was a founding father of one of the most renowned universities in Peru. I am referring to the Catholic Univerisity of Peru, more widely known as the PUCP. The name of the father is Binthillac as well as, there is a commemorative plaque for a French person called Bergasse de Petit Thouars, who was one of the ones who resisted the occupation of Lima by Chile during the time of war at the end of the 19th century. Today, there is also a very busy street that has the same name as this person, and that connects with the same street Arequipa in the centre of Lima with the tourist district of Miraflores.

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The climate I wish for

Today was quite a rare day that it even started drizzling slightly, or as we call it here "llovizna", but just as it reached 9 o'clock, the sun came out. This is the autumnal Lima and this year we will see the effects of the El Niño Phenomenon in various parts of the Pacific coast where it rains warm raindrops and where it is going to provoke lots of climate change.

Buying books in the centre at a good price

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Another point I would like to make is that the Plaza Francia is found alongside what is known in the centre as the crowded neighbourhood of Quilca, a place destined for those lovers of books of every literary genre. It is next to the Plaza and there is also many shops that offer sales on second-hand books, as you can probably imagine, there are some for everyone's pockets!

In conclusion to this detail, do not hesitate to take a trip around the famous boulevard of Quilca to get books at a great price in all genres that you can imagine. You can also find some literature exhibitions - it is a street just for connoisseurs!

Sit on the benches and enjoy yourself

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Dear friends, I also want to tell you about the benches you can find in the centre of the Plaza where you can sit under the shade of a tree in summer, they are mainly palm trees and ficus'.

In La Plaza Francia, you will also be able to find a small statue that represents freedom.

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Source

Church hours? Here!

Here are the hours of mass for the Church so that you know them. Here is a photo with all the details:

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A hospice for embarrassed women

I also want to share the details with you about a time when they evicted the inhabitants of one of the monuments found near the plaza Francia in order to convert it into a headquarters for the Serenades of the city. Here I have shared with you the outside of this old building so that you can recognise it when you come to visit:

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A bit about the history of the place, it used to be a "hospice for embarassed women", a place to receive impoverished Peruvian women during the civil wars and the war with Chile.

Grab your bicycle and visit the centre of Lima!

They say that Lima is not a friendly city for cyclists, this is a reality that is slowly changing. Sure, Lima is not a city that is very accustomed to see cyclists in their streets however, nowadays the municipality of the city is enforcing their use. Although it is still dangerous, what has been progressing is that next to the Plaza Francia, you will find a place where you can place your bike and make a short stop to see the outside architecture without spending any penny. .

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On the buildings around it you will also see announcements from blind masseuses who offer their services inside the buildings, truthfully, I have never used one so I cannot comment on them much more but it important to mention so that you can find them if you want to try!

Many things to tell you!

As you can see it is a picturesque and small place with many details that can be found. It has been declared by the Municipality of Lima a place of Memory and Human Rights of Metropolitan Lima.

The Fronton House

I know that maybe some of you do not want to talk politics but in reality, I cannot leave without taking the opportunity to tell you a bit about the details as to why they have given a Place of Memory to this house. It is due to the fact that inside the Plaza, they took statements from each of the families of the prisoners who were assassinated in the Frontón prison. The prison existed on an island on the coast of the first port known as Callao during the first government under the president Alan García.

The Cantuta House

Aditionally, not only that but also because exactly in the Recoleta church in the Plaza Francia, the remains of those who were brutally murdered were watched over, known as the case of "La Cantuta". It happened during the government of Alberto Fujimori, in the decade of the 90s, and it is precisely because of this that today the president is still carrying a prison sentence for humanity.

Come and see it!

I hope that you have enjoyed my article! I also hope that soon you will discover this little corner of Lima! See you in another one of my stories of Lima!

It is not complicated to arrive here, after exploring here you can take advantage of the Plaza San Martín and from there walk to Union street towards La Plaza de las Armas in order to arrive at the heart of Lima. Other than this, you cam also take advantage by visiting the walk of Naval Heroes that is found really close to here. To discover Lima you need to walk and find all of the hidden secrets that will delight each and every one of you. Let's be part of the change and good energy that the Peruvian capital city needs in order to get ahead.

Until next time, Lima-lovers!

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