The 7 best museums in Arequipa

Arequipa is famous not only for its volcanoes and natural landscapes. The ‘white city’ is also visited for its historical museums where you can see Inca mummies in good condition. Also in this Andean city you can discover colonial treasures, canvases and artifacts of silver, gold and other precious objects. In this article you will learn about the 7 best museums in Arequipa, a place full of history.

Museo Santa Catalina Arequipa
Santa Catalina Museum of Arequipa

Museum of Andean Sanctuaries

Momia Juanita
Museum of Andean Sanctuaries – Arequipa

This museum, one of the most famous and visited in the city of Arequipa, belongs to the Catholic University of Santa María. It is famous for housing the ‘Juanita Mummy’, the mummy of a girl sacrificed in the Ampato volcano during the Inca ritual of the Capac Cocha and found in a good state of conservation in 1996.

But in the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries there are also mummies of other girls found in the Andes Mountains, such as the ‘Urpicha’ and ‘Sarita’ mummy. The museum has audiovisual material to better understand the importance of these findings. You can also see Inca objects such as textiles, ceramics, sculptures and more.

Museum of the Cathedral of Arequipa

Museo Catedral de Lima
Cathedral Museum of the Cathedral of Arequipa

The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa has a mystical atmosphere with colonial treasures such as canvases, sculptures, stained glass, carvings and more. These treasures date back up to four hundred years, some even from the founding of the city of Arequipa on August 15, 1540. Its beautiful neo-Renaissance design is only a preview of what one can find inside.

The history of the Cathedral dates back to several episodes of renovations due to constant earthquakes and fires as in 1583, 1590, 1600, 1604, 1666, 1844 and more. Part of the treasures were donated by Bishop Goyeneche and his family in 1850. In 1985 the Cathedral received the visit of Pope John Paul II.

Mario Vargas Llosa House Museum

Rocoto relleno arequipeño
Mario Vargas Llosa House Museum – Arequipa

This house-museum was installed in homage to the Arequipa writer Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010. The house was nothing less than the house where the writer spent the first years of his life. The museum has 16 educational rooms that include audiovisual exhibitions and even 3D animations.

The writer Mario Vargas Llosa was born in the city of Arequipa on March 28, 1936. His early years were spent at 101 Parra Street, where the museum that bears his name is currently located. There you can see information panels with his complete works. The hologram of the writer welcoming visitors stands out.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Rocoto relleno arequipeño
Museum of Contemporary Art – Arequipa

The MAC is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Arequipa, a cultural space that has been serving artists for more than ten years to exhibit their works. In total, it has three permanent exhibition halls and four temporary exhibition halls. The MAC also offers conferences and workshops aimed at disseminating art in the ‘White City’.

At the MAC, visitors can appreciate paintings by prominent Peruvian artists such as Guillermo Barreda, José Ricketts, Percy Herrera, Ricardo Córdova, Dario Ccallo, Reyna Kallo, Vanesa Lima and more. The museum is one of the most dynamic cultural spaces in Arequipa. Their prices are comfortable and their hours are accessible.

Museum of the Monastery of Santa Catalina

Rocoto relleno arequipeño
Santa Catalina Monastery Museum – Arequipa

The convent and monastery of Santa Catalina is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Arequipa. The museum inside houses historical objects and works of art of great value. Each cloister offers a story to tell. Treasures such as his numerous canvases from the ‘Escuela cusqueña’ stand out.

The monastery was founded during colonial times, in 1579. Today, after more than four hundred years, it still houses women dedicated to God. Its cloisters and narrow streets are photographed daily by hundreds of visitors. Among its rooms, the art gallery, the patio of silence, the main cloister, the bell tower, the ashlar cover and more stand out.

Museum of the Recoleta Monastery

Museo de la Recoleta
Recoleta Monastery Museum – Arequipa

The Recoleta Monastery Museum is located in a convent from the 17th century. It belongs to the Franciscan order. In addition to its cloisters, gardens, fountains, libraries and other spaces; It stands out for its museum with collections of valuable pre-Columbian, colonial, Amazonian objects and more.

The museum has exhibitions of ceramics, huacos, textiles from the Chimú, Mochica, Chancay, Churajón, Wari, Paracas and Inca cultures. It also shows a collection of Amazonian objects from tribes such as the Shipibos, Asháninca, Machiguenga and more. Of course, original artistic pieces from the colonial era are also exhibited.

Monastery and Museum of Viceregal Art of Santa Teresa

Museo de Arte Virreinal
Museum of Viceregal Art of Santa Teresa – Arequipa

The Monastery and Museum of Viceroyalty Art of Santa Teresa is part of the order of Las Carmelitas Descalzas de San José. Its construction dates from the colonial era (1710). Its exterior is made of ashlar. Over time, through donations, the monastery has collected works of art that are exhibited in its museum.

The museum has fourteen rooms and spaces in its cloisters where the following stand out: the office cloister, the chandlery patio, the chapter house, the Virgin Mary room, the room of angels and archangels and more. In each space you can see paintings, sculptures, murals and other objects of great historical value.


By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, July 7, 2022

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