Arequipa on the map of Peru

Arequipa is the capital of the region of Arequipa in the south of the South American Andean country of Peru and represents the political, economic and cultural center of southern Peru

The city has 844 407 inhabitants ( 2012). UNESCO declared 2000, the city center of Arequipa a World Heritage Site.


Arequipa lies at about 2,300 m altitude. Dominating the city through the volcanoes in the vicinity, the 5822 m high conical Misti, the 6057 m high and the smaller and more remote Chachani Pichu Pichu.

Not far from Arequipa are the gorges of the Cotahuasi and the Colca Canyon, the count of up to 3000 m height difference with the deepest in the world.

The origin of the epithet " the white city ", with which Arequipa adorns, probably not related to the white Sillar - rock of volcanic origin, with many of the old historic buildings have been built in the center of Arequipa, but rather to the lighter skin color of the once living in the city center of Spanish origin residents who forbade the natives to live in the inner city.

The Pacific coast is just 75 km as the crow flies and present to the town throughout the year a mild and sunny climate.

The area is frequently plagued by violent earthquakes and in average there are twelve daily earth movements. 1608, 1687, 1784, 1868, 1958 and 1960, large parts of the city were destroyed by the quake. On June 23 of 2001 shook a major earthquake with a magnitude of 8.4, the region and let one of the two towers of the cathedral on the main square collapse. This was restored by 2004. The town superior layer Misti volcano is still active. Some district at the foot of the volcano would be threatened in the event of an outbreak of pyroclastic flows and lahars.


The oldest traces of human habitation that were previously found in the area of Arequipa, is dated to between 8000 BC and 6000 BC Over 400 archaeological sites have been registered to date, among which are the cave drawings in Sumbay and Pampa Colorado.

From about 1250, the Incas, the area around Arequipa brought under its influence until 1537, the Spanish conquistador Diego de Almagro el Viejo conquered the environment and Manuel de Carbajal Garcí on August 15, 1540, the town of Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción del Valle Hermoso de Arequipa as a Spanish residence founded, later abbreviated to Arequipa.

The city's name derives presumably from the Quechua phrase " are Quepay " ( in German: "Stay !") From which the Inca Mayta Capac is said to have done when he arrived in the valley of the Rio Chili. In 1541 it received its charter from the Spanish King Carlos V.. From this point on Arequipa developed into a trading city between the coast and the Andes. It was especially important for this and the Colca Valley and its abundant agriculture. The area has been intensively operated mining, and produces wine and wool. Produced With the introduction of the railroad, which ran from 1870 to the seaport Matarani, and 1904 to connect the cities of Cuzco and Puno, Arequipa increased the significance as a trading city.



The Cathedral of Arequipa in Peru is considered unique because it takes up the entire side of the Plaza de Armas. Its construction was started in 1629, but its present final form received by the reconstruction completed in 1844 after a fire. A few years later she was again heavily damaged by the strong earthquake of 1868. The fallen down during the earthquake of 2001 bell tower was built by 2004. At the end of the 19th century was allowed to buy for the little inside spectacular cathedral pulpit from France and an organ from Belgium. In addition, marble from Italy was used in many places. The Cathedral of Arequipa is also one of the fewer than 100 churches worldwide, where it is allowed to fly the flag of the Vatican.

Santa Catalina

The convent of Santa Catalina is one of the most important religious buildings from the colonial era. It is located near the city center and was built in 1579 by resolution of the city council, as the existing three cloisters, the novices could not absorb it. Many of the rich Spanish families gave their second daughter "for God and the kingdom of heaven " to the monastery. For the Santa Catalina monastery, walled in a 20,426 m² large part of the city, thus founding a self-sufficient settlement. Up to 150 nuns lived there, along with their servants in the strict enclosure. But there were exceptions: the French writer and women's rights activist Flora Tristan visited the monastery in 1834 and describes in her trip report details the life of the nuns. According to Flora Tristan they lived far more informal than their strict rule, it might have been expected. Every four years, were included eight novices, who had to bring a dowry of at least 1,000 gold pesos for the maintenance of the monastery. Only after a reform in 1871, the monastery also affiliated novices without dowry. Despite these initial liberalization, it took until 1970 until the monastery was renovated at the initiative of the remaining nuns and his secrets to the public: English carpets, Spanish silk curtains, Flemish lace clothes, cushioned chairs, damask, fine china and silver were part of the "Amenities". It was an autonomous town in the middle of Arequipa was in seemed to have stopped in 1579 the time, apart from the destruction caused by the earthquake.

La Compañia

The Iglesia de la Compañía is situated at the lower end of the Plaza de Armas. It was built from 1595 to 1698 for the Jesuits and is a good example of the mixing of the baroque and mestizo architectural style. The facade shows many elements of indigenous as well as the Spanish Catholic culture. Only since 1950, again restored sacristy is accessible, which is also richly decorated with colorful ornaments.


  • Museum of Andean Sanctuaries: The ' Museum of Andean Sanctuaries ' has one of the most important archaeological finds in South America in recent decades: The Mummy in September 1995 found by members of the out of the American archaeologist Johan Reinhard expedition to the summit of Ampato volcano of a young Inca woman, the they gave the name Juanita. Since the completion of scientific studies of each museum visitor has access to the very well-preserved mummy, which is kept refrigerated with all their clothes in a glass display case. In addition, garments and goods from other tombs of the pre-Columbian era are on display here.

Additional points of interest

  • Colca Valley: The ' Colca Valley ' is the most beautiful and interesting attraction in the area of Arequipa. The valley is part of the mountain range of the Andes and is one of the deepest canyons in the world - it is the second deepest canyon.
  • Many of the churches have become over time to important museums and libraries. Thus, for example, in the Iglesia y Convento La Merced a valuable library and paintings preserved. The Iglesia de San Francisco has a library of over 20,000 volumes and an art gallery.


The Mercado San Camillo is near the center and one of the most famous markets of the city. Here you will find everything you need for daily life of food and other goods. The roof of the market was the builder of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel designed.


The most important festival is on 15th August held city birthday which was founded on August 15, 1540 city. Each year there are countless events and colorful processions through the city. Traditional dances are presented by schools, military schools, neighborhoods, but also from distant areas such as the Lake Titicaca or the Amazon region.


Sons and daughters:

  • José Luis Bustamante y Rivero (1894-1989), Peruvian politician and writer, Peruvian President from 1945 to 1948
  • Víctor Andrés Belaúnde (1883-1966), Peruvian diplomat, writer and historian, President of the 14th Session of the UN General Assembly
  • Mateo Crawley - Boevey ( Padre Mateo ) ( 1875-1960 ), Catholic priest and missionary people
  • Juan Landázuri Ricketts (1913-1997), Archbishop of Lima and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Alex Olmedo ( b. 1936 ), former Peruvian tennis players
  • Hernando de Soto ( economist ) ( born 1941 ), Peruvian economist
  • Alberto Vargas (1896-1982), famous for his pin-up drawings
  • Mario Vargas Llosa ( b. 1936 ), Peruvian Nobel Prize for Literature (2010)


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