Visiting the Santa Catalina Convent in Arequipa

Visiting the Santa Catalina Convent in Arequipa

The main attraction in Arequipa, the “White City” of Peru, is the Santa Catalina convent.  It’s an enormous complex located in the heart of the historic city centre.  

Numerous buildings and rooms are connected by small streets named after famous Spanish cities.  The convent is one of the most important religious structures in Peru, and is a beautiful and peaceful place to spend an afternoon.

Santa Catalina Convent is run by an order of Dominican nuns.

It was established in 1579, only shortly after the Spanish conquest of Peru.

The convent was expanded in the 17th century.

The interior of one of the chapels.

This is one of the historic kitchens in the convent.

The buildings are constructed from sillar, a volcanic stone from the volcanoes that surround Arequipa.

Most of the exterior walls are brightly-painted.

Carla was my wonderful tour guide; a friend I met through Couchsurfing.

The daughters of many wealthy Spanish families entered the convent, and had to pay a dowry to do so.

The perfect time to visit the convent is in the late hours of the afternoon, just as the sun begins to set.