Monastery of Santa Catalina – Arequipa

Howdy bloggers! In this new report we will talk about one of the most important religious spaces of the white city of Arequipa and Peru, the “Monastery of Santa Catalina”.

Located in the south of Peru, in the city of Arequipa in the department of the same name, very outstanding due to its great colonial architectural beauty and a shocking history.

This beautiful religious place sits in a cozy location, highlighting its great beauty. It features a material known as “sillar,” traditionally used in various city constructions. In the Monastery 2 types of this material were used for its construction, the white ashlar that comes from the Chachani volcano and the pink ashlar of the Misti volcano.


The foundation of this great convent in the XVI century, was thanks to the request of the citizens and the viceroy Francisco de Toledo, who gave the permission to start the construction of this Dominican convent, taking the name of Monastery of private nuns of the order of Santa Catalina de Siena.

Since its inauguration on September 10, 1579, several women from different parts of the country, including Creole, mestizo, and indigenous, inhabited this convent. Notably, Doña Maria de Guzman, a young widow of nobility, was the first woman to occupy the convent and supported its construction by providing her goods.

After a strong earthquake struck Arequipa in 1582, causing severe damage to the facilities, the nuns residing in this convent undertook all the repairs themselves. They individually built each space and decorated it according to their style.

Finally in 1970, they decided to open it to the public so that all tourists and citizens of Arequipa could know and enjoy this enigmatic place.

What to Observe inside this great Convent

Much of it underwent restoration to enhance its appeal to the public while preserving its original floor plan and features. Colorful flowers adorn the small streets and cloisters, while the walls are painted in fresh tints.

Narrow alleys lead to the various parts of the convent through picturesque sites and bedrooms with original furniture.

Front page of the monastery

The entrance doorway is adorned with a relief of Saint Catherine of Siena, the saint to whom this convent is dedicated.

Courtyard of Silence

It was the place where the nuns gathered to pray the Holy Rosary and read the Bible in complete silence.

Greater Cloister

Built between 1715 and 1723, it is the largest cloister in the monastery.


This kitchen attracts a lot of attention because of its atmosphere that takes us back centuries. Some experts believe that its high vaulted ceiling is due to the fact that it was used as a chapel.


It was built in 1770, when Arequipa was supplied with water through irrigation ditches. In it we find 20 half jars, which are large clay containers, formerly used to store grains, corn or wine.

Cloister of the Orange Trees

This construction dates from 1738, its name is due to the presence of orange trees. A particularity of this place are the three crosses located in the middle of the cloister as they are part of a tradition, where the nuns represent the Passion of Christ every Good Friday.


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