San Francisco convent (Ancash and Lampa, 9:15 a.m.–5:45 p.m. daily, US$3.50, US$1.75 students) is a 16th-century convent featuring a patio lined with centuries-old azulejos (Sevillean tiles) and roofed with machimbrado, perfectly fitted puzzle pieces of Nicaraguan mahogany.
There are frescoes from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, a 1656 painting of the Last Supper with the disciples eating guinea pig and drinking from gold Inca cups (qeros), and a series of paintings from Peter Paul Rubens’s workshop depicting the passion of Christ.
But the highlight is the catacombs, or public cemetery, where slaves, servants, and others without money were buried until 1821 (rich citizens were usually buried in their home chapels). The underground labyrinth is a series of wells, some 20 meters deep, where bodies were stacked and covered with lime to reduce odor and disease. After they decomposed, the bones were stacked elsewhere.
Across the street from San Francisco is Casa de Pilatos (Ancash 390, closed to the public), a colonial home that is occupied by Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal.