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The Santa Inquisición Museum

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And educational and sinister museum

Translated by Kate Norman — one year ago

Original text by Jesus en su tinta

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk to you about the history of the museum known as the "Santa Inquisición Museum" - the Holy Inquisition Museum. During the Colonial Era, my city was a very religious place where non-Catholic believers paid for their ideology with death.

Each museum in Lima is an experience to live and this museum should be considered as a two-in-one as there is the Museum Santa Inquisición and also the Congress of the Republic Museum inside it! That is why it is a two-in-one experience!

Nowadays you can visit this museum for free! Here you can go on guided tours that are available in different languages, including Spanish and English.


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A demonstration of terror during those times

Nowadays, to visit this museum is to take a sinister trip around different torture chambers where they locked up those charged by the inquisition and punished each one of them for heresy in the city.

You can hear horror stories inside this museum, you can discover things that gave me shivers... There are different torture chambers where all this was done so that the prisoner or prisoner would confess his purely religious crimes. They would receive whippings on their back, be choked with water, have their bodies stretched in every direction in the most painful way... Simply the most unjust things that I can't understand how the Limean people of that time allowed to happen. Perhaps, as Lima was the city where Santa Rosa de Lima was born, a Saint who even scourged herself as a display of devotion to God, these gruesome events have formed part of the history of Lima and this museum will tell you about it in detail.

Returning to the past is understanding how the people in that time thought. Thankfully, today there is freedom of expression:



Trials and acts of faith in the museum

What you will come to discover in this museum is the stories and the ways in which the heretics (non-believers) were tortured. Lima was very severe with these people and of the 1, 477 charged with the crime, 32 of them were sentenced to death. Additional information tells us that the first sentence was called "Mateo Salado" and that there is a graveyard in Lima that has that name today. Furthermore, in Peru we say that a person is "salada" ("salted") when they have bad luck, truthfully I don't know if it is common in other parts of the world where they speak Castilian to say this as well. All of this will be explained to you during the museum tour, which will take approximately an hour and a half.

Here is a representation of what is known as the Order of Faith, where judges listen to the testimony of each man sentenced in a room called the Hearing Room. This place is dominated by three people:



On entering the room you will see a beautiful wooden roof designed with the tongue and groove method, a fine, ancient art form that consists of putting pressure on the ceiling and slowly putting it together as a puzzle. It is considered one of the best coiffured ceilings of South America, so I suggest that you look at it attentively when you enter these rooms, as you can take many photos and explore this exquisite art form from Colonial Lima.

Where it can be found

This museum can be located in front of the Plaza Bolivar, next to the Republic Congress, and it has a classic-style exterior with six clean columns.

In my personal opinion, it is a little funny to know that there have been two opposing headquarters here, at one time, there firstly was the Inquisition that did not forgive the non-believers, and then afterwards there was the Republic Congress that, as we know like any country's Congress, is an example of the freedom of expression.

The prison cells of suffering

Furthermore, you will also see some disturbing prison cells where there are outlines of people within them, when I have been inside here I have felt sad as I imagine how the heretics must have felt when they were here... Thankfully times have changed.



The end of the Age of the Inquisition

The Holy Inquisition was closed down by Don José de San Martín during the initiation of the independence of my country, to the relief of many Peruvian people. I love the art, but I am not a believer, so I think that I could have been here being judged as a heretic.

As a part of this court, inside there are many representations of different people. You can also see different rooms with all of the different flags of Peru in it.

The Sevillian Courtyard

The museum tour finishes with the Congress part, and inside it you will find a courtyard called the Sevillian Courtyard, known for its tiles that were brought over from Spain. You can sit here for a while just where I was sat taking photos with two Austrian friends. It is the place where a President of Peru was assassinated, President Manuel Pardo, the first Civil President assassinated by gun by a man who belonged to the Senate Platoon and who was being sentenced to death. Now you know something more about this museum.


I hope that this has encouraged you to visit this free museum and see all of the history it holds inside it. Here I have put a photo of the façade of the Inquisition so that you can locate it. As you can see, the entrance has Roman-Greek columns and is very close to the Abancay Avenue. Come and visit it!

Thank you for reading this article!



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