Sunday, September 26, 2010

Senior Missionaries Take Lima

Kay and Jack Beals, Area Secretary and executive secretary, asked me if I would have a free Saturday to take the senior couples on a guided tour of Old Lima. Of course! Five of the seven Area office couples were able to join us. These couples represent the states of Atlanta, Utah, Washington, and California. The two couples not with us are from New Mexico and Nevada.

Graciela arranged for a van and driver to take us downtown and return for us later in the afternoon. We are standing in front of the gardens of the beautiful cloistered gardens of the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, the order of the Dominicans.

On our way to the Dominican Cathedral, we visited the original post office to see the Chatsqui, the Inca pre-runner to the Pony Express of North America. We had some fun with the photo shoots.

Barbra Brasher, the Area psychologist, received four phone calls while we were touring. We are on the Plaza de Armas with the Government Palace in the background.

Kathryn and Bruce Ghent are are cousins of sorts. Kathryn is the sister of our cousin Tim Hess's wife, Suzanne. They are standing on the steps of the Basilica or Lima Cathedral, the main church of Lima. It was originally built in 1551 of mangrove wood. In 1604 the first half of the church was completed after some problems which halted the work. In 1662 it was completed. In 1746 a great earthquake demolished the cathedral. The great towers fell onto the vaulted roof. Then, in 1751, the reconstruction began. The building is made of cedar wood covered with plaster.
The changing of the guard at the Governor's Palace was a spectacle of marching soldiers, horses, and a marching band. However, after all the pomp and circumstance, we did not see the actual changing of the guards who stand stiffly at each side of the front door for hours at a time. We imagine the changing of the guard is just a show and at some hour the guards simply are relieved by another crew.

The band performed a fairly lengthy, formal concert inside the gates before exiting onto the street in front of the palace.

Security was tight. The officer to the right was one of several who stood behind shields. Some were heavily armed and cradled their machinery. It was a little intimidating.

Pizarro chose this site for his home in 1586. He claimed Lima for the Spanish Crown in 1535 and by 1600 his home was completed. The guide book says the home underwent several changes over the next 300 years until 1938 when this building was unveiled. Also, Pizarro had looked at other settlements for the seat of government, but he settled on the land near the Rimac River because of the access to the river and the sea for getting provisions into Lima and for getting the gold and silver he and his men sacked from the Inca temples out of Peru.

This horse guard was strictly for "border patrol." At the end of the show, they did an about face and followed the parade of horsemen, band and soldiers.

These men on horses were part of parade ceremonies inside the gates. Everyday at noon, the changing of the guard takes place but the program varies. We believe we had the full spectacle according to those who have come on a weekday.

This pulpit is is made of thousands of pieces of hand-carved wood. The pulpit is in the room where the first university of the Americas was founded in the mid 1500s, the College of St. Thomas Acquinas. The guidebook mentions that the two side chapels have withstood several devastating earthquakes to make this cathedral the oldest of the three major cathedrals in Lima. Dad and I think it is the most beautiful.

I took this picture from the cloisters of the convent and looking across to the cloisters of the College of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the interior patio. The pink stucco tower is in the background. The balconies are made of cedar wood.

This young boy, a son of the custodian, was quite taken with us. He watched us quite intently as our English speaking guide told us about the importance of this chapel, the room where the first university of the Americas was founded and the chapel of St. Martin de Porres, a saint recognized for miracles attributed to him.

The convent library, the bibleoteca, could have been the inspiration for some of the scenes from Harry Potter.The ornately carved, dark wood interiors, the book cases, the choir loft and choir stand, are really beautiful.

Only the priests and students of theology are allowed in this room. I took the picture through the glass in the door. Look at the choir stand and choir book. The notes are in the Gregorian chant style and are large enough for the whole choir to read.

This is another view of the cloisters and interior garden. A picture cannot capture the beauty of the roses and sculpted garden beds.

The walls of the cloisters are decorated with blue and yellow tiles from Seville and date to 1602.

This is another view of the interior garden.

Dad and I are standing in front of the catacombs or the crypt that holds all the bones of those buried beneath the church. Notice the tiles on the crypt. The tiles and floor are original to the 16th Century building.

This final picture is a close up of the tiles. Above the tiles are 16th Century paintings of religious figures, stories from the Bible, and scenes from religious history.

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