Cajamarca, Peru

Sunday August 2, we flew from Cuzco to Lima and on to the city of Cajamarca. Monday we started our exploration of Cajamarca at the Belén complex where the office of tourism is located. The complex itself is quite interesting. There is a church at its center with a large patio. Off one side of the church is a 17th century hospital for men and on the opposite side is a similar structure for woman. The hospital wings are long buildings with bed niches along both side walls for the patients. Both now house museums, one with modern art and the other archeology.

We then visited the “Cuarto del Rescate” which was supposedly the room filled once with gold and twice with silver as ransom paid to the Spanish for the release last Inca ruler, Atahualpa, who was captured and held prisoner in Cajamarca by Pizarro. Pizarro collected the riches, melted them into bars to ship to Spain and then killed Atahualpa anyway, thus ending the Inca Empire.

At 3:00 in the afternoon several of the local churches opened. We visited Iglesia San Francisco and its cloisters and catacombs. The cloisters contain religious and secular artifacts as well as early religious paintings. We also visited Iglesia de los Monjas which is near our hotel. It’s interior is much simpler and more modern looking than the highly carved and decorated baroque of many of the early churches.