Arequipa’s 16th Century Landmark: Santa Catalina Convent

People playing Pokémon GO outside Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

Santa Catalina’s white volcanic stone walls tower over these Pokémon Go players

Founded in 1579, Arequipa’s imposing Santa Catalina Convent (monastery) takes up a whole city block and is a major tourist attraction. One can easily spend hours exploring the different rooms, cloisters and galleries. The convent’s history, size, architecture, art and ambience impress. Besides the museum, an adjoining New Monastery still functions although it is closed to the public.

Blue and white Orange Tree Cloister, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

The blue and white Orange Tree Cloister

Convent entry costs 40 soles (US$12) or 20 soles for foreign students under 21. I paid extra to hire a guide and found her one hour tour informative and worthwhile.

Crockery display, Santa Catalina Convent, ArequipaThe coffee cups and saucers at the base of this crockery display resembles a Turkish set and this similarity is likely connected with the Moorish influence on Spain

The nuns accepted into the convent led isolated lives away from the surrounding city.

Old outdoor laundry, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

The nuns’ former laundry facilities where they used to hand wash their clothes

Cactus and pelargonium next to pink wall, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

An old world pelargonium and new world cactus next to the pink Granada Street (Calle Granada) wall

The convent is open 9am to 5pm from Thursday to Monday and to 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I recommend visiting late afternoon Tuesday or Wednesday as the convent rooftop viewpoint has superb views of sunset and the Chachani and Misti volcanoes (see feature image).

Sunset viewed from rooftop, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa  Sunset from the convent rooftop viewpoint

The convent’s Great Kitchen is kept largely in-state with old utensils and cake tins on the shelves and fires lit each day.

Flame-throwing fire in Great Kitchen, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

This convent fire appears to be throwing flames

Painting on wall of nun's room, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

This painting is in one of the nun’s cells (as their quarters are referred)

During convent restoration a significant amount of Peruvian Vice-royalty period religious art was discovered. This art is now exhibited in the convent galleries.

Relics in art gallery, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

A religious artefact is protected in the glass case while paintings line the gallery walls

Cusco School of Art paintings, Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa

Paintings in the Cusco School of Art style

One thought on “Arequipa’s 16th Century Landmark: Santa Catalina Convent

  1. Pingback: Arequipa's splendid Plaza de Armas | Where is

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