Skulls and bones at San Francisco Monastery catacombs in Lima, Peru
We are in Lima, Peru. Franciscan Monateries depend a lot on donations made by the well-to-do patrons and the San Franciso Monastery is no exception. It is located near the Plaza Mayor (main square) in Lima. There are lot of paintings along the inside corridors of the monastery, and interestingly enough, some of the faces on the paintings have been erased or removed. According to a local source, the figures in the paintings are those of generous patrons and donors. If the patron stops his donation to the monastery, his face is deleted from the paintings. Of course, not sure how true that is.
Beneath the church at the Franciscan Monastery there is an ossuary where the skulls and bones of an estimated 70,000 people are decoratively arranged.
It is estimated that 25,000 bodies were laid to rest in the catacombs and the crypts, built of bricks and mortar, are very solid and have stood up well to earthquakes.
The catacombs served as a burial-place until 1808, when the city cemetery was opened just outside Lima and contain thousands of skulls and bones.
Long forgotten, the catacombs were rediscovered in 1943 and are believed to be connected via subterranean passageways to the Cathedral, the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition and other local churches. Both creepy and beautiful, they feature small grates scattered along the upper floor of the cathedral through which, while you are visiting the church, you may look down at any given moment to see the artistically arranged dead illuminated.