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Discovering the history of the Santa Catalina Monastery in Cusco

Home » Cusco » The main temples and churches in Cusco, Peru » Discovering the history of the Santa Catalina Monastery in Cusco
Home » Cusco » The main temples and churches in Cusco, Peru » Discovering the history of the Santa Catalina Monastery in Cusco

The Santa Catalina Monastery has more than 400 years of historical legacy in the city of Cusco, being one of the Christian monuments that enabled an exhibition museum. The same one that at the present time is in good condition and works as a center of religious formation for the Community of Nuns of Contemplative life.

History of the Santa Catalina Monastery

It is a congregation that was initially founded in the city of Arequipa and as a result of the eruption of the Huaynaputina volcano, they moved to Cusco in 1605 with about 24 nuns, along with the mother superior and two girls.

During Inca times, the monastery was a site known as "Aqllawuasi", which translates as the House of the chosen women, cared for far from the daily life outside because they were part of important families of the Tahuantinsuyo and because of the special beauty they possessed.

It belongs to the Dominican Order, whose nuns who reside in the monastery, go through a process of formation to be able to serve the Lord. They begin with prayer at five o'clock in the morning, followed by other religious activities and conclude the service at eight o'clock at night with the Salve Regina prayer.

Who was Saint Catherine of Siena?

The place is named after St. Catherine of Siena, who was an Italian woman, the daughter of a married couple with 25 children.

It is said that she had the gift of knowing every person she met and since she was a little girl she had this impetus to work for religion. She did a disciplined fasting, giving up eating meat or drinking wine, her story was complicated and she went through many trials to get away from the temptations of the world.

Where is the convent of Santa Catalina located?

It is located at 401 Arequipa Street. To get to the monastery, first you have to go or be near the main square of the city of Cusco and just a few steps away you will be at the desired destination.

What to see and do in Santa Catalina Monastery?

The moment you arrive, you will notice the construction on a stone base of the Santa Catalina Monastery and the Renaissance carving in its structure.

Since the 1970s, the monastery has made the museum available to any visitor who wishes to learn about the Christian way of life of the nuns in the enclosure, the Renaissance art that it holds and among the most outstanding are exposed:

  • The full-length statues of nuns are present in every part of the monastery.
  • Chapter Room, a meeting space for analysis and decision making.
  • The Pinacoteca, where artistic paintings are exhibited.
  • The Refectory or dining room, where the customs of the nuns are represented and in this space are the ceramic dishes with good order and care.
  • The Novitiate, which functioned until 1960, where the new or young nuns slept and did their personal hygiene.

Admission Hours and Fees

The Santa Catalina Monastery is available daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the entrance fee is 8.00 soles for adults and 4.00 soles for students.

You can visit with Tierras de los Andes among this and other colonial temples within the tourist destinations presented by the imperial city of Cusco.

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