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The monastery of Santa Catalina in Arequipa, Peru

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The Spanish past becomes latent in many corners of thePeru, being a good exponent the city of Arequipa. In this city surrounded by large mountains with altitudes close to 6000 meters such as the Chachani or the Misti volcano, theSt. Catherine's Monastery. This Hispanic legacy is not the only one in the city. Examples such as the majestic Cathedral or the Church of the Company share the same roots.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

The city of Arequipa and the monastery of Santa Catalina

After a two day visit to the city of Fist and more specifically, Titicaca, we took a bus early in the morning that left us in the city of Arequipa at sunset. The next day we visited several points of the city until we finished having dinner at one of the street stalls near the cathedral. Hours later and without hardly having fallen asleep, I woke up at three in the morning to climb the peak of Chachani of over 6000 meters in a long marathon day. I was back at about 6 in the afternoon and as I was so restless I decided to make a night visit to the monastery of Santa Catalina, which on Tuesdays and Thursdays open it until 20:00 in the candlelight.

Visit to the Monastery of Santa Catalina

To be honest, the monastery had already visited it before, but during the day and in the morning. Many people had recommended me the night visit, which is done following a candle path through its main points of interest. That way one would plunge fully into the life of the nuns several hundred years ago, when electricity had still reached the city. In addition, the warm light of the candles illuminates the walls with a special whole, giving them a more cozy appearance and sometimes even quite dark.


Arequipa Santa Catalina Monastery - Map via //www.santacatalina.org.pe/

I went to the entrance of the monastery where there is a small box office. After paying the 40 soles from the entrance, I walked to the Courtyard of Silence, right where one of the two toilets of the whole complex are located.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

In the end, and with no chance to leave was the Cloister of the Novices. This forced us to turn around to take an exit halfway in the Courtyard of Silence. At this point one begins to imagine how big the monastery of Santa Catalina is, which in my view, more than a monastery is a small fortified city.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

In fact, without paying much attention to the map we decided to get lost. Without hurry and knowing that it would soon be dark. It is just at that moment when we discover one of the most interesting places in the monastery, the Orangery Cloister.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

This gives access to several cells, the Profundis room, the Pinacoteca and one of the main streets, the Córdova street. Although the truth, the buildings on this street, with those on the street Toledo, Seville and Pomegranate They are really similar.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

The previously commented streets are usually painted a copper red hue, although depending on the time of day, the color may vary slightly.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

Most of the houses are really cells where they welcomed the resident nuns of the monastery of Santa Catalina. That is why in many of them we can find small chimneys to heat the home on the coldest days.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

We continue walking to Toledo Street, at which time the lights inside the cells began to turn on slightly, giving them a somewhat gloomy image.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

From there we arrive at Sevilla Street, where there is a small bar where we can have a tasty coffee, although knowing that there is a cemetery on the other side of the wall, surely more than one superstitious would think twice.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

We arrived at the laundry and immediately the lights went on in all the streets. The night was upon us and taking a picture began to be somewhat difficult.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

We pass to the Granada street and from there to the Zocodober square, where is the largest kitchen in the Monastery and some stairs that would take us to a great viewpoint of the city of Arequipa.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

Unfortunately it was already very dark and Arequipa It is not a city that stands out for its luminosity. We could barely distinguish the summit of the Chachani in the distance.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

Although the silhouette of Misti volcano It could be perfectly observed.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

The night was so dark that we could barely make out the Cloister Major, red by day and almost black at night. This pushed us into the interior rooms where different religious relics and some excellent paintings are kept.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

The Pinacoteca shows works of the Cusco school, many of them representing passages from the history of Arequipa or some famous religious moments.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

Tired of such a long day, it was the moment I decided to sit on an empty bench. Soon I made a decision to return to the hotel, eat something fast and get into bed to rest.


Arequipa St. Catherine's Monastery

Practical data

What does the entrance to the Monastery of Santa Catalina cost?

40 suns, both for foreigners and Peruvians. Over 60 pay 20 suns and if you are studying for a university degree in Peru, they are 12 suns.

 Guided tour of Arequipa and the Monastery of Santa Catalina

What time is the Monastery of Santa Catalina?

From 09:00 AM to 17:00 PM except Tuesdays and Thursdays that close at 20:00 PM.

Is the night visit worth it?

If you are in Arequipa on a Tuesday or Thursday it is worth it. You can enter during the day, stay inside having a coffee and wait until it gets dark. A 2 × 1.

Where to stay

  • D'Carlo Class: very clean and modern. 5min from downtown.
  • Casona Jerusalem: Hostel very close to the monastery of Santa Catalina.
  • Tambo Viejo: halfway to the bus station and train. With wifi
  • Hotel Casa Baraquel: 5 minutes walk to the center. Very clean and cozy.

Excursions near Arequipa

Ascent to Chachani: a trekking over 6000 meters high.

Travel insurance

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