History of Arequipa, Peru
The area was inhabited since 7600 B.C. by primitive men, and in the nearest antiquity it was inhabited by the tribe pre-Inca the Collaguas, and then conquered by the Inca Mayta Capac who ordered to found the first city, giving it the name towards 1300 B.C.
Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, Spaniard conqueror, was the founder of the Spanish city of Arequipa in August 15th, 1540 with the name of “Villa Hermosa de Arequipa”. During the colonial time it was favored to be an intermediate point of the caravans that transported the immense shipments of silver of the rich mines of Potosi (Bolivia) towards Quilca, port in which was sent aboard for Callao and Spain.
Arequipa is the capital of the department of Arequipa, furrowed by the river Chili and it is located in the slopes of the Misti Volcano, 5,822 meters above sea level (19,101 feet), and very near to the volcanoes Chachani 6,075 meters above sea level (19,931 feet), and the Pichupichu 5,425 meters above sea level (17,798 feet).
Also known as the “Ciudad Blanca” (White City) for the numerous and magnificent constructions of temples, convents, big houses and palaces in white ashlar sculpted as filigree. It also possesses an excellent climate with almost 300 days of sun a year, with transparent blue sky.
Arequipa also offers an exquisite cuisine, beautiful landscapes of countryside, majestic volcanoes, the Colca Valley, challenges and adventures in Colca Canyon, natural reservations, and the heat of friendly people willing to make the tourist enjoy their visit to Arequipa.
Arequipa is the second larger city of the country and the most important of the south of Peru, constitutes the main pole of economic development due to their multiple resources and to their irrigation projects that favor mainly to the agriculture and the cattle raising; industry of milk products and leathers. It has a modern hotel infrastructure.
Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa: Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Arequipa conserves one of the best architectural treasures in the colonial time of Peru, expressed maybe in the best way in its temples and religious convents and beautiful elegant large-houses in colonial-mestizo architecture. The ornamented architecture in the historic centre of Arequipa represents a masterpiece of the creative integration of European and native characteristics, crucial for the cultural expression of the entire region.
Monasterio de Santa Catalina: It is one of the most fascinating colonial religious building in Peru. A paradise for photographers. Santa Catalina was built in Arequipa, the city that was founded in 1540 in a place specially chosen for its natural beauty and good climate, and with a unique construction material: sillar, a porous stone from volcanic lava used to built a nice city with our own architectural designs, with spaces and proportions of great esthetic value, and also to have carvings on imposing fronts with fine decorative details, making of Arequipa a colonial center of marked identity, within the main urban centers of the continent. Its architectonic style is mainly colonial, but of a mestizo nature. Different from other colonial heritages in this part of Latin America, in Santa Catalina specially, the fusion of Spanish and native elements can be observed to the point of generating it own creativity.
Art Gallery: When the restoration work of the Monastery started, before its opening to the public, a great collection of pictures of mainly religious themes was found all over inside it, samples of Peruvian painting during the viceroyalty. About 400 pictures were restored or “refreshed” to make them recover their original aspect. The work of expert hands has recovered for present day observers a collection of great historic and artistic value.
Museums in Arequipa: Museo de Arte Virreinal (Virreinal Art Museum), Museo Arqueológico de la Universidad Católica de Santa María (Archaeological Museum of the Santa Maria Catholic University), Archaeological Museum of the National University of San Agustín, Santury Museum – Juanita Mummy’s collection, Municipal City Museum.
Around Arequipa: Towns of beautiful landscapes and some with beautiful churches and colonial monuments, large-houses, with magnificent view of the countryside, and towns with medicinal watering places of spring water. Recommended visit to Mirador Carmen del Alto, Yanahuara, Sachaca, Tingo, Mansion del Fundador, Sabandia Mill and Paucarpata.
The Countryside: (La Campiña) The agricultural area of the periphery of the city is embodied in beautiful picturesque landscapes, in which numerous towns are located described in “Areas around the City.” It is as a great chessboard in different degrees of green and with the Incan system of sowing in “andenerías”. The countryside of Arequipa has been a inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists and poets.
The Colca Valley: Its the most popular excursion from Arequipa. Valley, formed by the Colca river in which side banks exists a great beauty scene, hot springs, and enormous cultural attractiveness where you will have an encounter with the descendants of the Collaguas. Special place to appreciate a Living Culture.
Tourism of Adventure in Arequipa: The 100 km long Colca Canyon, the deepest on the Earth, besides landscapes of indescribable beauty, is one of the best sceneries in the world for rafting, canoeing, trekking, and for the lovers of extreme adventure. Also for hiking lovers, they have the possibility to get to the high and snowy crater of the volcanoes Misti and Chachani.
Nature & Biodiversity in Arequipa: National Reserve Salinas and Aguada Blanca for the protection of high mountain species – in route to Colca Valley. The National Sanctuary of Mejia Lagoons area protected for migratory birds.
The Valley of the Volcanoes: Geologic formation from the Quaternary Era, with more than 80 volcanoes in magnificent landscape that looks like a moony landscape.