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Santa Catalina Monastery

The Santa Catalina Monastery has a huge 215,000 square feet convent, which was originally built in 1579. You can find this impressive monastery in Arequipa’s historical centre. Between the 16th and 18th century, Santa Catalina Monastery served as a nunnery. Today, it’s still used to house a small religious community.     

Since nuns operate this facility, it should be called a convent, but the name Santa Catalina Monastery has stuck.

Interestingly, Santa Catalina Monastery is made from volcanic stone. Specifically, the stone is called sillar and it is greatly affected by pollution. Cracks and general deterioration are visible, due to the susceptible, porous material.

There are different sections of this great complex. There is a plaza, a chapel, a gallery and a residential area. It is a must see in Arequipa if you are interested by religion or history. After visiting, you get a good understanding of the city from a religious perspective.

Although the opening times are usually 9-5 each day, it is best to call the monastery in advance, as it could be shut due to a religious holiday.

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