The Monastery of Santa Catalina is one of the most visited religious centers by tourists and representative of the city of Arequipa, this site has many secrets hidden behind its walls and preserves the colonial architecture.
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After the arrival of Viceroy Francisco Toledo to the city of Arequipa, he expressed his desire to form a monastery of nuns, motivated by this action he began with all the necessary permits for the foundation of the "Monasterio de Monjas Privado de la Orden de Santa Catalina de Siena"
After several years, a wealthy and childless woman decided to seclude herself in the monastery under construction, Doña Maria de Guzman, widow of Hernandez de Mendoza, who gave all her property to this monastery under construction (20,000 square meters).
On September 10, 1579, documents were signed for the operation of the monastery and Doña María de Guzmán was named "first settler and prioress of the monastery". On October 3, 1580, the first Sunday mass was celebrated in the city and it was there that Doña María was recognized as founder and that same day she formally took the habits.
The history tells that the first women who entered the monastery were Creole, mestizos and even entered the daughters of curacas, and in the year 1964 entered Spanish nuns, also tell that entered ladies of the city and the poor nuns, who without being believers entered the same monastery to strengthen their virtues.
Arequipa, is a constant seismic city; when a strong earthquake happened it affected part of the construction causing serious damage, so it took a long time to get up even the rooms were damaged and repaired by the same religious sisters and more.
The Monastery of Santa Catalina is four blocks from the Plaza de Armas, you can get there walking from the historic center, just follow the Santa Catalina street that is next to the Cathedral of Arequipa.
The visits to the famous monastery have a duration of 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes in the different schedules established from Monday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
In the monastery lived about 450 nuns for more than 400 years, it is said that the nuns had no contact with the outside world. Also here lived one of the most important women of the catholic religion.
Sister Ana de los Angeles lived here and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1985, because she performed miracles and predictions.
The monastery is assimilated to a large city, since it has an area of 20,000 square meters and is far from the city itself, regarding the size of its walls are about 4 meters high, it is said that it was intended to isolate the women who lived in the monastery.