A photographers dream. A city within a city. A slice of history. Santa Catalina Monastery is another world you would never know exists, hiding in plain sight beside the bustling streets of Arequipa. The ticket price was so steep I almost passed it up, but we had the time and I’m glad I splurged. The strange fact of this place is that it felt like a resort rather than a nunnery, the history sheds light on the truth. The monastery was built in 1579 and at this time only noble women from Spanish families were accepted. They had to pay a dowry of 2,400 silver coins and would bring their comforts of home. They got to live in a world of burnt orange, bright blue, creamy white, flower filled, ornate seclusion.
Very different from what things are like today, but an interesting contrast to see. History aside, the place is simply gorgeous and wonderful to get lost in. It’s huge with maze like streets all named after different Spanish cities. Be sure to find stairs and walk up to get a glimpse of El Misti the rooftops of Arequipa.
There are still a handful of nuns that live within the walls today in an area not open to the public.