Monday, December 27, 2010

Beautiful Santa Catalina Convent

The Santa Catalina Monastery, a cloistered convent, is the top tourist attraction in Arequipa. We have never been anywhere quite like it. The architecture alone makes it an amazing place, but the preserved, in-place artifacts (furniture, kitchen implements, icons, etc) boost it to the top of our list.

In addition to the standard cloisters, this convent is like a city itself with streets, plazas with fountains, and a cemetery. Besides the austere cells and dormitories as one would expect, there are many whole apartments with luxurious furniture, dressing room, bathroom, maid's room, and laundry machine! We were quite surprised. Now I am looking for a historical fiction or a memoir about nuns and convent life.

The convent opened in 1580 and operated until 1970 when it became a museum.
A few nuns still live in seclusion in a small portion of the original convent.

The convent entrance.
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The nuns only contact with the outside world was through these grilled windows.
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One of the three courtyards/cloisters.
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Another cloister.
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A street inside the convent.
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Communal Dining Room.
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Austere Cell.
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A not so austere cell; actually an apartment.
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Apartment entrance.
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A kitchen attached to an apartment.
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Apartment window (from the outside).
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Plaza with fountain and the chapel behind.
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