28 September 2012

Juanita the Ice Maiden, Arequipa, Peru

Preserved Bodies Around the World, Excerpt
Wander down the hidden passageways of the Monasterio de Santa Catalina in Peru's second-largest city and marvel at the icy Inca mummies in the Museo Santury. Officially called the Museo de la Universidad Católica de Santa María, this museum exhibits the frozen body of an Incan maiden - "Juanita, the ice maiden" – sacrificed on the summit of Nevado Ampato more than 500 years ago. Tours consist of a video, an examination of burial artifacts, then a respectful viewing of the frozen mummy preserved in a carefully monitored glass-walled exhibition freezer. Juanita is not on display from January to April – another child sacrifice discovered in the mountains around Arequipa takes her place. Only guided visits are permitted and the whole spectacle is done in a respectful, non-ghoulish manner.

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