Monday, 28 October 2013

Santa Catalina, Arequipa

The Convent of Santa Catalina is so much more than just any other religious building- located in Central Arequipa, just off the Plaza de Armas, taking up a full block of the city. I was a little sceptical at first, as I've seen enough churches/ religious buildings here to last me a lifetime, though my mind was completely changed when I walked through the entrance arches. What I had expected to be a boring, old museum-style stone building was actually an architectural playground, with regal arches and beautifully-painted depictions of the Bible, surrounded by vibrant colour. 

The convent was formed by a rich Spanish widow in the 16th Century, and only those from wealthy families could begin their training to be a nun. Santa Catalina wasn't like any other convent though- the nuns had their own servants and enjoyed many social events with entertainment, though in the 19th Century the Pope put a firm stop to this. A small handful of nuns still live there today, though the majority of Santa Catalina is open to the public to explore.

I personally loved the distinctive architecture and the convent's labyrinth-like layout- it's like it's own little city, with street names and different sectors! Unfortunately, the few photos I took doesn't do Santa Catalina justice, the tour we took was very rushed and I don't have a computer over here to edit my photos before putting them on here- so excuse me for that! 

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