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Spanish Colonial Sites

Below is an illustrated index of the 6 Spanish Colonial sites profiled on Sacred Destinations so far. For photo credits, please see corresponding articles.



  • Arequipa Cathedral
    Arequipa, Peru
    Built in 1656 and reconstructed after an 1868 earthquake, Arequipa Cathedral is a fine example of Spanish colonial architecture but is especially notable for its immense size. Its huge facade dominates an entire side of the Plaza de Armas in the center of the city. Inside is the largest organ in South America, a gift from Belgium.
  • Virgen de la Candelaria
    Copacabana, Bolivia
    This sparkling white basilica is home to a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary made by an Inca craftsman in 1576. The patron saint of Bolivia, the Virgin of Copacabana receives many pilgrims and festivals in her honor.
  • Cusco Cathedral
    Cusco, Peru
    This Baroque cathedral was built on the foundations of the palace of the Inca Wirachocha. Construction began in 1550, using stones looted from the hillside Sacsayhuaman fortress, and completed a century later. It is considered one of the most splendid Spanish colonial churches in the Americas.
  • Havana Cathedral
    Havana, Cuba
    Built by the Jesuits in the 18th century, Havana Cathedral has been called "music cast into stone." Its facade contains coral, complete with fossils.
  • Iglesia de San Francisco
    Lima, Peru
    Built in 1674, this Franciscan church is considered the finest example of the "Lima Baroque" style of architecture. Inside are Mudejar ceilings, an antique library, and catacombs containing the bones (some artistically arranged) of over 75,000 people.
  • Mission Dolores
    San Francisco, USA
    This Franciscan church founded in 1776 is the oldest building in San Francisco. Built and decorated by Native American converts, it has an interesting mix of native and Spanish styles.