Museo de Vida Monástica - Monasterio de Santa Catalina del Cusco

Museo de Vida Monástica - Monasterio de Santa Catalina del Cusco

Museo de Vida Monástica - Monasterio de Santa Catalina del Cusco
4.5
Historic SitesReligious SitesHistory Museums
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
About
The museum focuses on the daily lives of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine: their spiritual practices, their teachings and duties, the training of novices, and their everyday tasks. Among the objects which form part of the collection are extraordinary works in the fields of painting, sculpture and the decorative arts from the viceroyalty and republican periods, as well as exquisite examples of liturgical vestments embroidered by the nuns, and works of religious folk art. The museum houses a particularly famous series of early 19th century mural paintings which adorns the Chapter House. The convent was built during the early 17th century on the site of the old Inca Akllawasi, or “house of the chosen women”. Vestiges of the pre-Hispanic structure can be seen to this day among the outer walls of the convent.
Duration: < 1 hour
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles244 reviews
Excellent
107
Very good
107
Average
28
Poor
1
Terrible
1

lisajlb
Westhoughton, UK1,301 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
I wandered in here with some free time. What a wonderful, peaceful and interesting place to visit. 13.nuns still live there and their area is not open to the public.of course. This museum though shows you how it was an ld what they did. Very well put together.
Written October 26, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vincent M
New Orleans, LA2,213 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Many of the religious sites in Cusco are ostentatious displays of wealth. At the convent of St. Catherine of Siena, there are indeed beautiful things to see, but the more powerful and evocative take-away from a visit is the rejection of worldly living in favor of a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, focussed on constant and continual prayer and work. These ladies were by no means "rice Christians"--they came from the richest and most powerful families in Peru; until 60 years ago, to be admitted as a novice, your family had to make a very generous donation to the Order, sufficient to meet your living expenses regardless of how long a life you lived, Visitors walk through the workshop, where two nuns are frozen in time making sumptuous clerical vestments and gowns for statues of the Madonna, You see the humble quarters where they slept and washed, the quite plain quarters of the noblewoman who founded the chapter, the bleak private confessionals where nuns received absolution from priests, and the more colorful chapter hall, where nuns regularly confessed their fault publicly to the mother superior, as well as the refectory where they ate their meals without conversation, to the reading of the Rules of the Order. If you think of the Dominican Order just as "the dogs (canes) of God", pit-bulls tearing at heretics and conversos via the Spanish Inquisition, this is the opposite side of the coin, and the side that lasted.

Over the centuries the convent has received numerous pieces of religious art, and the added bonus to a visit here is walking through several rooms where the convent's finest paintings are on display. For many years most of the art museums of the world have ignored Spanish Colonial Art: better one El Greco or Velasquez than two dozen "Anonymous Cusco Schools." A shame, since the best 17th and 18th century Latin American paintings can stand comparison with the best European paintings of the same period. Suffice it to say that several of the anonymous paintings here are simply stunning.

At the very end of the museum, you reach three paintings that are not anonymous: they are attributed to Diego Quispe Tito, an Inca nobleman born 80 years after the conquest. His most famous painting, perhaps because of its location, is the mural in the Cusco cathedral relating each of the signs of the zodiac to an event in the life of Christ, He studied Italian, Spanish and Flemish schools, and was a master of Mannerism. I'm no art museum director, but I consider two of his three paintings in the convent gallery to be masterpieces of 17th century art--absolutely world-class.

Incidently, Diego Quispe Tito's house and studio is still standing in the San Sebastian neighborhood of Cusco, more than 300 years after his death,

Written May 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

danishpanama
Aptos, CA50 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Friends
My friend and I stopped in at the Santa Catalina Convent. We hadn't heard much about it but had a couple of hours and thought it might be interesting to see how the nuns lived in the 1600's. We were not disappointed. We walked through halls made of stone, very chilly inside, and went into various rooms that have been reproduced to show the way of life for the nuns. In one room they are weaving and sewing robes for priests or other "men of the church" . In another they are eating and you see the way the table has been laid out. You also see each nun's personal sleeping area and bathing area. There are beautiful paintings, prayer areas and numerous works of art. Definitely worth a visit.
Written June 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LuizDutraNeto
Rio de Janeiro, RJ8,621 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
The "Monastério de Santa Catalina del Cusco" was built by the Dominican Order at the very beginning of the 17th century, over the ruins of ancient Incan constructions and even some original stone walls can still be seen. Here, women from the wealthy and important Peruvian families came to live a life of chastity, obedience, hard work and endless prayers. Today, maybe a dozen nuns still live inside the walls of the Northern quarter of the old Convent, and still under the Dominican Order's severe reclusive rules. The "Museo de Vida Monástica" occupies part of the Convent. At a dimly lit interior, mannequins, dressed as nuns, try to give visitors an idea of daily life at the Convent in earlier times. Old paintings, sculptures, furniture and religious ornaments are on display. Enjoy!
Written July 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joy
Auckland221 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We visited as part of our ticket add-on to the Temple of the Sun, not knowing what or where it was (separate building by the way).
It was small and dark but a nice quiet getaway from the crowded historic sites that usually came with shouting tour guides.
The museum had a collection of paintings and displays showing how the nuns lived back in the day.
Wouldn't say it is a must-do but was interesting in its own way.
Written August 7, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tourist54220
Manitowoc, WI197 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
So much history and beautiful artwork here; I don't care what your religion is, this place will inspire you.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Diana PA
Seattle, WA52 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
One gets a good sense of monastic life in this visit. And the art they have--all Cusco School samples is terrific. It is a short but worthwhile visit.
Written August 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mary J
Salem, OR13 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Couples
This was a quiet museum of daily life for an order of nuns. The artwork was lovely. I do not know why they prohibit photos, just know that your memories cannot be preserved. A good place for a rainy hour in Cusco. Nice hands on displays that children would like.
Written May 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andy F
Devizes, UK1,260 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Solo
S8 to get in. Quite small, dark & solemn, with creaky wooden floors. No photos allowed, but good leaflet & signs in English. Gives a good idea of cloistered life once led by the sisters of the convent. A lot of superb religious artwork. Two floors. The life-size models of nuns are a little clumsy, but overall very good. Not many visitors so off the main tourist trail. Small, leafy courtyard by the entrance.
Written July 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Andy! Thank you so mucho for tour visit and your opinion. We tope he returns again. Respects!.
Written August 6, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nuthatch 33
Durham, NC26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018
My husband and I spent a couple of hours completing the self-guided tour yesterday. This museum is an absolute gem in historic Cusco. One learns about the history of the building (originally the compound for Aqllas, Incan women of noble families who produced fine textiles for the Inca court), the origins of the convent, life for the Dominican nuns, artifacts related to their everyday life, and of course a stunning and well preserved collection of colonial art (oil paintings, textiles, frescos, etc). All signage and explanations are in English and Spanish. Super clear and detailed. During our visit we happened to hear the 13 nuns who currently live at the convent chanting their midday prayers. So beautiful! Don’t miss this place if you are even remotely interested in colonial art and, more specifically, paintings from Cusco school.
Written May 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Museo de Vida Monástica - Monasterio de Santa Catalina del Cusco

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