Sunday, February 5, 2017

PERU: Concepcion and Santa Rosa Monastery (January 20-21,2017)

Our hotel in Concepcion, although an attractive colonial mansion full of antique furniture, was cold and dim, the latter due to chandeliers whose original five candles had been replaced by three low-wattage compact fluorescents. We were, however, able to negotiate for a small electric heater at no extra charge. Our room overlooked a pretty green courtyard.

Searching for dinner, we found El Gran Chickens, a crowded and cheerful restaurant specializing in flame-grilled chicken.

 It rained heavily overnight, but the following morning it cleared to a cloudy but dry day.
After breakfast, we hailed a minicab to take us to the Santa Rosa monastery.

As we came to the village beside the monastery, our progress was slowed by a band marching into the main square.

Santa Rosa was founded in 1725 to house a group of Franciscan brothers who were preparing to evangelize the Amazon Indians.

To the left of the main building you can see a low, reddish-brown pillared structure. This is the original monastery.

The existing complex includes four cloisters, a natural history museum with a collection of Amazonian animals and insects and a library renowned for its collection of 25,000 books, some of them dating to the 15th century.
While we waited for the start of the obligatory guided tour, we admired the mosaic panels on the wall near the entrance.

 The words say " I praise you, Lord for brother sun."

We also visited the columbarium, which we found behind a small food and gift shop to the right of the main building.

As it turned out, we were the only visitors that morning. Our guide spoke only Spanish, but she spoke so slowly and clearly that we understood most of what she told us. She led us through rooms and galleries filled with art, some of it executed by an obviously talented member of the order.
Photographs were not allowed so we couldn't record the illuminated manuscripts and leather-bound tomes in the beautiful wood-panelled library, but I found a small picture on-line.

I did, however, manage to sneak a quick picture of the fabulous walls and ceiling of the refectory, painted by a local artist in the regional style.

The whole 45-minute tour was well-worth the 5 Soles (about $2) cost of entry.

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