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It is said that when Friar Francisco de San Jose -a Franciscan priest from Spain eager to convert the natives to Christianity- reached this remote region, he decided to stop along the way and build a chapel to honor the Lord. It was 1725 and Santa Rosa de Ocopa was just another unassuming village in the Andean foothills.
Over time, however, the small chapel turned into the operating base from where missionaries set out into the jungle, bent on converting Ashaninka tribes to Catholicism.
Three centuries later, there are two reasons whey Ocopa is such a priceless historical monument: its ancient colonial cloisters, which have remained intact since their foundation, and the library, a unique repository of history and culture from the colonial and republican eras. The collection not only includes testimonies of those long nights spent by the Franciscan friars composing chronicles and travel tales.
There are also 25,000 volumes which are watched over by the guardians and which attract hundreds of researchers from all over the world to consult them.
The Ocopa convent also houses unique editions of ancient books and an art collection featuring valuable oil paintings from the Huamanga and Cuzco Schools. Turned into a major tourist attraction, the Ocopa convent features four cloisters -the Porteria, del Olivo, the Obreria and Padre Pio- groves of trees, an ancient churchbell and its imposing library which is visited every day by travelers and researchers from universities in both Peru and from abroad, in search of the mystical ancient wisdom of the Franciscan monks.
The beautiful Ocopa Convent is also known as the Alexandria of the Andes.
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