More than 300 works of art, including colonial paintings by artists of the Cusco School, sculptures, jewels of religious art and objects of daily use that at are dated from at least three centuries ago, are display in the twelve rooms of the Museum of Viceroyal art of Santa Teresa, in the Historic Center of Arequipa.
The museum is located in the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites of San Jose and Santa Teresa that, and since its foundation in 1710 has remained isolated from the outside world for 295 years, as a cloistered convent -until 2005-, when it was opened to the public to give everyone the opportunity to surprise themselves with spaces and objects that seem to be frozen in 18th century.
Viceroyal art in Arequipa
As soon as the tour begins you get impressed by the architecture of the Monastery that is a piece of art itself. While walking along the Alley of Flowers -where the servitude´s rooms were located-, the Cloister of the Offices -the first of the four cloisters that the monastery has and where the museum works–, the Courtyard -with its beautiful walls of ashlar- or the Flower’s Yard, with its fountain of translucent Huamanga’s stone.
Once inside of the Monastery, you’ll walk the different areas where the life of the cloistered nuns took place, like the Temple, the Lower Choir -where the nuns attend to the daily mass-, the Chapterhouse -which holds the colorful and decorative richness of the Rococo-, The Bell Room -which closes at noon so that the nuns can ring the Angelus’ bells-, while from the Profundis we’ll be able to hear the nuns praying and singing the Sixth Hour in latin and Spanish, a magical moment that makes us travel back in time.
Other rooms have a thematic assembly that includes: The Order of Carmen, Christmas, Colonial Goldsmith, the Passion, the Saints of the Church, the Virgin Mary, and the Monastery of Carmen in Arequipa. As a recommendation, before visiting the halls, go to the Interpretation Hall to learn about the techniques and materials used in viceroyal art for a better understanding of what you are going to appreciate.
To conclude the visit, you should taste the sweets and cakes that the nuns prepare with traditional recipes or the soap of roses they prepare the old-fashioned way.
How to get to the Museum
The Museum is located on Melgar Street 303, in Arequipa’s Historic Center. Their opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00, and Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00. The entrance cost is S/.10.00 (US $ 4 approx.) If you are planning to come to Arequipa, you can’t miss the Museum of Viceroyal art of Santa Teresa. Book now in Tierra Viva Arequipa Plaza and seize your day.