This convent was founded in 1580, and catered to nuns from weathly families and is located near the main center of Arequipa. It includes a mix of Spanish colonial and native architectural styles which are all well preserved. The convent occupies a whole block and is surrounded by high walls, creating as little refuge within the larger city of Arequipa.
The convent is built of sillar, a porous volcanic stone (composed mostly of feldspar, glass, and quartz) that has a distinctive white and shiny appearance that is also used in many building of Arequipa, which has resulted in the city being nicknamed the ¨White City.¨ The sillar is mined from a quarry at nearby Mt. Chachani.
Though the convent was damaged by earthquakes in 1858 and 1960, it has been restored and opened for public viewing, with some remaining nuns staying within a secluded portion that is closed to tourists (including an orchard).
Each of the nuns quarters are fairly large and include multiple rooms, and pleasant outdoor kitchens. Many of the kitchens include custom carved sillar stone features like stone sinks, carved ovens and porous stone water filtration systems. Most even have a little tree planted in the middle, often a fig or other fruit tree.
The convent also includes the use of skylights made from translucent alabaster stones (called Huamanga stones) that provide a surprising amount of light for some of the interior rooms.