I had the opportunity to visit La Biblioteca del Convento de San Francisco –Spanish for library of Saint Francis Monastery—in Lima, Peru in 2007. It was my very first ancient library experience with actual books in it. I say that because when it comes to ancient libraries, I lived only 25 minutes away from Celcus Library in Ephesus, Turkey and visited the whole city several times. Library of Celcus is one ancient library –even older than the one in Lima—but it doesn’t have any books.
The Roman Library of Celcus in Ephesus, Turkey (above)
La Biblioteca del Convent de San Francisco is only one block away from the Plaza de Armas (photo below) which is located in the old part of Lima. The whole area was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1991. Although we stayed in Miraflores –the touristic part of town—we were taken there by our guide. That’s when I discovered this beautiful library and the moment I saw the books, my face lit up (so I’m told) and perhaps for a moment I forgot to breathe.
Museo San Francisco (below). Aside from the library it also contains a church, monastery and catacombs.
The Collection of La Biblioteca del Convento de San Francisco
The collection of La Biblioteca del Convento de San Francisco is world-renowned with its 25,000 antique texts in different languages like Latin, Spanish, French, Portugese, Italian and some in ancient languages, on the subjects of philosophy, theology, history, literature, music, geography, canon law, ecclesiastical law, bibles, etc.
One of the most notable works here for me is some volumes of the first dictionary published by the Academy of the Spanish language. Not that I have actually seen it. I mean, you’re not even allowed to take photos once you’re inside or pass the cordoned area where the books are.
For more information and photos about Peru or other places I have been to, visit our photo blog.