This group of historic buildings found on the street of Belén are constructed almost entirely out of volcanic stone. Construction began on these, the finest examples of colonial architecture in Cajamarca, in 1699, replacing old wooden churches and buildings. The complex includes a church and men’s and women’s hospitals.
The Franciscan church Iglesia Belén is considered to have one of the finest baroque-style carved facades in the country, and an interior of fine murals and a cupola painted by converted locals.
The Men’s hospital consists of a large room with beds facing an altar, where patients were expected to focus on prayer for their salvation, then die. Across the road is the women’s hospital that served the same purpose. The painted interiors of these buildings have been lost by successive generations who decided to paint all the walls white. They are also now used as museums.