Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa, Perú
What a place! An oasis of tranquility in the middle of bubbling Arequipa. This monastery is a delight in its colors, gardens and plazas. And, as you can see it has remained almost untouched since it was established ... in 1579, barely fifty years after Pizarro set foot in Perú. The monastery was built for wealthy daughters, whose families obliged in supporting the church by sending them—and a hefty dowry— to serve the missionary goals in the new world. Walking through these walls you can sense how the young women did what they could to generate a home as alike to the motherland as possible.
We came to Arequipa as a starting point to a trip to the Colca Canyon. Arequipa, a large city, shares with all other cities in Perú the misery of relentless traffic and its companion the smog. Enter the monastery and you are transported into another place and time.