Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina is a nunnery in Arequipa founded in 1579. It’s a city within a city, where around 450 nuns lived shut away from the outside world. Whilst this may have had some disadvantages, the place is amazing. If I’d lived in Arequipa back when it was a functioning nunnery I reckon I might have been faking a bit of religious fervour in order to get to move in there…..

Here’s the entrance. The double wooden grilles were for communication with folk outside, and the little revolving cupboards were used for small items that were to be taken inside.

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The place is a warren of little streets and squares, all painted in orange, blue, or white.

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The main church (built of white sillar, the local stone) is the only place I couldn’t get a picture inside.

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A fountain with fish, all very pretty…..

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The best thing was that (although there was also a large dormitory for 80 nuns), many of the nuns lived in “cells” along the cute little streets. I say “cells” as they’re more like little houses. Some even had little courtyards. The beds are under arches in all of the little houses as a protection against earthquakes (praying presumably not being sufficient?).

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Even the laundry area was cute…..

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Finally, if amongst all of this peace and quiet you somehow managed to find the opportunity to sin, you could always pop along to confessional row to unburden yourself…….

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