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  4. Iglesia de San Francisco

Iglesia de San Francisco, La Paz

Photo © Nick Leonard. View all images in our Iglesia de San Francisco Photo Gallery.
Photo © Sergio Serrano.
Photo © Nathan Nelson.
Photo © Nathan Nelson.

The Iglesia de San Francisco in La Paz is notable for its intricately carved façade, one the finest examples of baroque-mestizo architecture in the Americas.


Construction on the original San Francisco Church began on this site in 1548, one year before the founding of La Paz. The church collapsed under the weight of snow in 1610 and was reconstructed in 1784.

What to See

Blending native and Catholic art, San Francisco's Baroque façade is richly decorated with indigenous symbols such as masked figures, snakes, dragons and tropical birds.

A similar blending of traditions can be seen on the Plaza de San Francisco in front of the church: a modern sculpture of rock pillars and stone faces honors Bolivia's three great cultures: the ancient people of Tiwanaku; the Incas; and modern Bolivians.

The interior is Neoclassical in style, featuring small cedar altars decorated with gold leaf designs. The roof can be climbed for fine views of the church rooftops and the city of La Paz.

Quick Facts on Iglesia de San Francisco

Site Information
Names:Church of St. Francis; Iglesia de San Francisco; Iglesia de San Francisco, La Paz; San Francisco Church; St. Francisco Church
City:La Paz
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic
Dates:1548; rebuilt 1784
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:La Paz, Bolivia
Coordinates:16.496511° S, 68.137400° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Iglesia de San Francisco

Below is a location map and aerial view of Iglesia de San Francisco. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.


  1. Frommer's South America, 2nd ed.
  2. Lonely Planet Bolivia, 51, 53.
  3. Iglesia San Francisco - Virtual Tourist

More Information

Article Info

Title:Iglesia de San Francisco, La Paz
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:07/02/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/bolivia/la-paz-iglesia-de-san-francisco/bolivia/la-paz-iglesia-de-san-francisco">Iglesia de San Francisco, La Paz</a>