More of Arequipa Tour

La Compania Church

No visit to Arequipa would be complete without a stop at La Compania Church. The sacristy’s ceiling is covered with miniature paintings and carvings of crimson and gold. The view from the steeple is fabulous, especially at sunset when the fading light casts a rose glow to the city’s white sillar rock buildings.

Santa Catalina Convent
The most astonishing stop in Arequipa is the Santa Catalina Convent, opened in 1970 after 400 years as a cloister for nuns. Although they lived behind closed doors all that time, the nuns paid little heed to the traditional vows of poverty and silence. During its heyday, this convent’s sleeping cells were furnished with English carpets, silk curtains, cambric and lace sheets and tapestry-covered stools. As for silence, Flora Tristan, visiting in 1832, said the nuns, daughters of aristocrats were nearly as good at talking as they were spending huge sums of money. Each had her own servant and dined with porcelain plates, damask table clothes and silver cutlery.

Santa Roas

When the convent opened its doors again, its anecdotes and scandals where resurrected. But don’t believe it when they tell you the story of Sister Dominga, the 16 year old who entered the convent when her betrothed let her for a rich widow, the staged her own death to escape. This beautiful young woman really did place the body of a deceased Indian woman in her convent bed one night then set the room of fire, but the whole thing occurred at another cloister in Arequipa – Santa Rosa. The Mother of Superior refused to believe rumors that the young nun was really alive and living outside the cloister until Dominga sent her a message demanding return of the dowry she had paid to enter the convent.

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