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Monasterio Santa Catalina

Arequipa’s famous convent

Santa Catalina Monastery

Visiting the Monasterio Santa Catalina is an absolute must, even if you’re not into church history or architecture. It was part of a not-a-secret rebellion that Spanish-born women waged during the 1600s and 1700s. Inside the convent, they could vote, own property and generally be quite independent.

The Spanish conquest of South America was bloody by all accounts and many of the women who entered the convent were sent to the Americas to wed a conquistador who had managed to steal enough Inca gold to send for a bride. Many were widowed not long after they arrived and decided to enter the convent rather than remarry with another Spanish soldier.

There is an excellent book called Daughters of the Conquistadors which goes into much more detail about this fascinating piece of Peruvian history.

Practical Info Practical Info icon

The convent is open daily for tours. Guides are optional but I highly recommend one if you are interested in the history.

1527–1821: Colonial Times


Route 3

To Avenida del Sol

Text © Heather Jasper

Image by Heather Jasper