Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa - Stein Travel

    • 16+ years

    • 12-15 years

    • 2-11 years

    • 0-23 months

Welcome to Santa Catalina Monastery

Enclosed within high walls is the Santa Catalina Monastery, an enormous complex of rooms, pretty little plazas and ornate fountains, a maze of narrow cobbled streets, chapels, beautifully decorated archways and boxes of red geraniums. The thick and brightly painted walls contain numerous cells that once housed over 200 members of the female nobility who chose to shut themselves away from the rest of the world in a life devoted entirely to prayer. Some 400 years later the monastery was opened to the world and since then visitors have been able to wander through the exquisitely finished gates and admire the valuable collection of some of the finest examples of existing Spanish American religious art that decorate the walls.

Today, about 30 resident nuns live out of sight in the northern part of the complex. Noteworthy is the Orange Tree Cloister, painted a sky-blue with beautiful murals decorating the vaulted arches, as well as the huge 17th-century kitchen with its blackened walls, and the long and narrow street known as Calle Toledo, which is the oldest part of the monastery and leads to the open air laundry where the nuns washed their clothes in large jugs filled from the canal. Unlike any other church compound, Santa Catalina is a masterpiece of colonial architecture, and is the most fascinating religious complex in Peru.

Santa Catalina 301
PEN 35
Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, but many other dialects are spoken. English is spoken only in major tourist centres and hotels.

The official currency is Nuevo Sol (PEN) divided into 100 céntimos. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, but all major international credit cards, including Diners Club and MasterCard, are accepted in many, but not all, establishments. Outside Lima facilities may be more limited. Travellers cheques may also be difficult to exchange in small towns and villages, and travellers are advised to have cash on hand. US Dollars are the easiest currency to exchange and plenty of restaurants, hotels and shops in the main cities accept dollars for payment. Casas de cambio(exchange bureaux) often give better rates than hotels and banks and can be found in any town on the tourist circuit. ATMs are available in the main cities.

Opening Times
Daily 9am-5pm, last entry at 4pm.
Local time is GMT -5.

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