|Arequipa's cathedral takes up one entire side|
of the city's main square.
|Arequipa is set amid volcanos, some said|
to be overdue for eruption.
The mummy can be seen only as part of a guided tour at the Museo Sanctuarios Andinos (click HERE for its Spanish-language website). Our English-speaking guide said that it's thought that the girl was chosen at birth to be sacrificed and was trained by priests not only for her death but for her role after death -- as a go-between for her people and the apu (mountain god), or perhaps as a guide to the afterlife. It probably took almost two weeks for the girl and a group of priests to reach the top of Ampato, where she was likely given some sort of narcotic before being killed by a single blow to the head. She was then placed in a fetal position and carefully wrapped in ornate textiles adorned with gold and feathers before being sealed in a tomb made of carved stones.
Photography is not allowed in the museum, which is quite dark, but photos of Juanita are not hard to find online.
Photography is allowed, however, at Arequipa's two important monasteries: the Monasterio de Santa Catalina (click HERE for its website) and the Monasterio de San Jose y Santa Teresa (click HERE for Spanish-language website). Santa Catalina is the larger and only one we visited. Each is still home to its own community of nuns who are supported by the entrance fees charged visitors.
|The entrance to Santa Catalina encourages|
tourists to keep the chatter to a minimum.
|A walkway in one of Santa Catalina's three cloisters.|
To see a map of the monastery, click HERE.