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Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Merced - Historical Building Trujillo - Peru

Iglesia La Merced is one of Trujillo’s oldest churches. It was largely destroyed in the 1759 earthquake. Up to that time, it had remained unchanged, but modifications were made during reconstruction that incorporated features of Neoclassical architecture, especially the façade.

However, it poses a bit of a puzzle. The floor plan is all according to scripted Roman Catholic iconography, as are the saints residing in the chapels. But, look up at the transept crossing. The pendentives (the triangular “feet” of the base) of the dome usually carry images of the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) or of their symbols. Here, in Trujillo’s Iglesia La Merced, though, there are the scenes of the life of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian religious order (Redentadores in Spanish). One scene shows Nolasco’s vision that moved him to found the order: it is of Christ explaining to him what Pedro should do in his life. The next mural shows Pedro and other Mercedarians rescuing slaves to freedom in a boat upon storm-ridden seas. The third panel shows the Virgin Mary and angels blessing King James I of Aragón, who supported the order’s mission. Lastly, the Virgin Mary and Christ crown San Ramón Penafort.

In the 19th century, the dome was reconstructed and repainted with the the original designs.Another interesting feature of the church is the chapel to the Virgin of Guadalupe, which has the original style of chapels: niches sculpted into the walls and covered with simple murals.


Jr. Pizarro, half a block from Plaza de Armas.

Trujillo, Peru

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Travel Tips:

Open daily during most of the day, from before first mass to after the last one.

Price Description:


Relative price: Free

Travel Skills: None

The many other churches and the archaeological sites around Trujillo, and the city’s museums.

Here are other activities in and around Trujillo that may be of interest: Visiting Colonial Mansions,

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

26 Apr 2012

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