The cathedral’s appeal lies as much in its folklore and legends as in its tangible sights. Local myth claims that an Indian chief is still imprisoned in the right-hand tower, awaiting the day when he can restore the glory of the Inca Empire. The building also houses the huge, miraculous gold and bronze bell of María Angola, named after a freed African slave girl and reputed to be one of the largest church bells in the world. And on the cathedral’s massive main doors, native craftsmen have left their own pagan adornment – a carved puma’s head – representing one of the most important religious motifs and gods found throughout ancient Peru.

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