The main attraction of Arequipa is the beautifully preserved Monastery of Santa Catalina.
This is a walled-off convent where 20 nuns still live, separate from the parts open to the public. It was built in the 15th century, founded by a rich window called Maria del Guzman.
At that time the convent only allowed women of high-class Spanish families to enter and become nuns – this was enforced by a steep fee for entry. Rather than any vows of poverty, these rich women partied away whilst in the service of God, living extravagant and lavish lifestyles. Most owned several slaves and lived in luxury – it´s even rumoured that some nuns became pregnant.
This continued until 1871 when a strict Dominican nun was sent by the pope to sort things out. She sent all the misbehaving Spanish women home and freed all the slaves.
My pictures are attached to this entry, if you haven´t seen this place before, you are sure to love them.