Santa Catalina Monastery

Arequipa Travel Blog

 › entry 26 of 30 › view all entries
streets of the Monastery

We had an amazing hostel! Our room was a separate little house in the backyard of the rest of the building. It was called Hostal las Torres de Ugarte. Across the street there was the Santa Catalina Monastery. For tourists there is a real treat to be found in Arequipa. Inside the historic center of the city (A Unesco world heritage in itself) there is a cloistered convent, which is in effect a tiny walled city. I am talking about the Santa Catalina Monastery.


This monastery was founded 400 years ago. Typical are its vividly painted walls. Inside the monastery there are still about 20 nuns living in a closed off quarter, while the rest is open for visitors. In the past, up to 450 people lived in this walled city, lots of nuns and servants. It was an elite place and only the daughters of high-class Spanish gentry were accepted as nuns. The women were to remain within this cloister for the rest of their lives. The monastery is very small from the outside, not much bigger than a city block, but from the inside it is a little village with streets, plazas, stairs and passageways. It even has different housing blocks for nuns of different age and the walls of these blocks are painted in different colors.


It is really a maze, yet it is all so tiny. At the entrance hangs a map that tellingly illustrates the maze for the new visitors. Lots of houses (cells) are open to the public and are restored in the way that the nuns lived. Some have a measure of luxury with whitewashed walls and flowers, other show very basic kitchens with blackened stone ovens and wooden tables. The nuns also had a common garden and a common place to do the laundry outside. I mentioned the colors. All the walls are painted in bright red or blue or white, so much so that it almost hurts the eye.


The monastery is a photographer’s paradise. Also: there is some great cake to be had at the cafe halfway into the monastery. It is possible to climb the wall of the church and have a spectacular view over the monastery and the city beyond. This way I really saw that the monastery is a separate world with its own small streets and houses, totally unconnected with Arequipa.

Santa Catalina Monastery
The beautiful snowy mountains and El Misti complete the view.

m_mspr says:
Absolutely loved this place!
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
streets of the Monastery
streets of the Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Map of the monastery
Map of the monastery
Entrance
Entrance
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Old kitchen
Old kitchen
Restored cell
Restored cell
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
colors!
colors!
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Laundry place
Laundry place
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
The church
The church
kitchen
kitchen
nice view
nice view
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
The church
The church
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Nice view
Nice view
Arequipa
photo by: halilee