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Peru Vacations: Arequipa Peru Vacations

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The capital of the department is called Arequipa or “the White City”, due to the many structures built using the white sillar stone. Arequipa is a popular tourist destination due to its diverse architecture such as: temples, convents, monasteries and the very famous Santa Catalina Convent, which dates back to 1580.

Basic Facts History Geography Tourism Attractive

AREQUIPA BASIC FACTS

Area or Surface: 63,345 km².
Main Resources: wheat, cotton, rice, onion, garlic, quinoa seed fruits, milk.
Population: 972,000 inhabitants. The capital is Arequipa and has 750,000 inhabitants.
Number of Provinces and Districts: 8 provinces and 107 districts.
Date of Department Foundation: April 26, 1822.
Fauna: condors, vicuñas and alpacas.
Weather: The average temperature is 20° C (68° F). The rainy season is from December to March.

 

AREQUIPA HISTORY

Cathedral - Arequipa Vacations -  Peru VacationsArequipa is located in the point where the central Andean area and the Andean south center are divided. The valleys to the south of the Sihuas Rivers are incorporated into this area. This division was more notorious in the Wari Age, which embraces the valleys in the north up to Sihuas.

The most brilliant era is identified with the Churajon culture, which conducted big agricultural and irrigation projects. The Chuquibamba culture was developed at the same time as the Churajons. The settlements of this culture are generally identified with the Collaguas and are especially important in the Colca Valley.

The Incas descended to the Yunga region through Arequipa looking for new conquests. Lead by Manuel de Carbajal, the Spaniard conquistadors founded the city of Arequipa in the foothills of the Misti Volcano. In the Republican Age, important battles were waged in this department like the ones performed by Ramon Castilla, Mariano Prado, Nicolas de Pierola, and Sánchez Cerro among others.

Arequipa has become the economic center for the south of Peru. It is one of the most important milk producers in the country.

 

AREQUIPA GEOGRAPHY

arequipa_mapaArequipa’s terrain is rough and characterized by heavy layers of volcanic lava. Volcanic cones can be seen emerging above the plateaus and forming mountains like the Misti, Chachani, Ampato, Mismi, Solimana and Coropuna. There are deep and impressive canyons like the Majes, Colca, Sihuas and Ocoña where important aspects of the ecological evolution of this territory can be clearly observed.
On the coast, the desert dunes like the ones located in the Majes, Sihuas and La Joya are particularly beautiful.

The main rivers in this department are the Ocoña, Yauca, Camana and Quilca.

 

AREQUIPA TOURISM

arequipa_volcan_mistiThe capital of the department is called Arequipa or “the White City”, due to the many structures built using the white sillar stone. Arequipa is a popular tourist destination due to its diverse architecture such as: temples, convents, monasteries and the very famous Santa Catalina Convent, which dates back to 1580.

The countryside provides beautiful landscapes and the surrounding towns off Cayma, Carmen Alto, Yanahuara and Characato are charming. The impressive and gorgeous volcanic cone of the Misti Mountain forms the backdrop of the area.

The coastal area has the Mejia, Mollendo and Camana beach resorts and the Yura, Socosani and Jesus thermal baths.

The Colca Canyon, located in the Province of Cailloma, runs more than 100 km of length and is 3400 meters at its deepest point. It is considered the deepest canyon of the world. The Colca area is very popular for rafting, kayaking, trekking.

The Aguada Blanca Reserve is one of the principal reserves dedicated to the reproduction of vicuñas. Their fine fur is used for high quality textiles.

 

ATTRACTIONS IN AREQUIPA PERU

CHURCHES AND CONVENTS OF AREQUIPA

AREQUIPA’S CATHEDRAL: occupies a full side of the Main Square (Plaza de Armas). Built out of ‘sillar’, it has a neo-renaissance style, arequipa_catedral1with two stylized bell-towers and a Gothic arch. You’ll find a Loret organ from Belgium inside and an outstanding wooden pulpit carved in 1879 by Boisini-Rigot from Lille (France).

The Church of La Compañía, built by the Jesuits during the 17th century, has an imposing sculpted facade completed in 1698. Its wooden carved pulpit, and its ancient vestry, also known as the Sixtine Chapel of Arequipa, are the work of anonymous native artists who imbued their art with the colour, motifs and spirit inherent to them.

arequipa_santa_catalinaTHE CONVENT OF SANTA CATALINA DE SENA: one of the most beautiful in Arequipa, was founded on October 2, 1580 and built during the second half of that century. With an area of 20,000 square meters, the Convent is a city in miniature, a walled fortress with streets, passageways, stairways and plazas. It combines the colour of ‘sillar’ with other shades such as ochre, pale blue and orange, all blending well with its austere architectural style. Closed to the public until 1970, the Convent still houses a number of the closed order of nuns.

HISTORICAL HOUSES OF AREQUIPA

CASA DE MORAL (HOUSE OF MORAL): between Moral and Bolivar streets, was built during the 18th century. It owes its name to a centuries old blackberry tree which, to this day, still stands in its courtyard. The facade of the manor displays motifs from the Nazca culture.

CASA DE TRISTAN DEL POZO (HOUSE OF TRISTAN DEL POZO): on San Francisco street, was built in 1738. It has a splendid façade, with a solid door decorated with nails and iron hinges. The ample and immense courtyards are decorated with stone carvings guarded by gargoyles with feline features.

PALACIO GOYENECHE (GOYENECHE PALACE): is a majestic building on La Merced street; rebuilt towards the end of the 18th century. Its courtyards and elaborate railings stand out, representing as they do, the tenacious, steady “arequipeño” spirit.

SURROUNDINGS OF AREQUIPA

arequipa_sabandiaSABANDIA: 9 kms. from the city, is famous for its 17th-century colonial mill where in the past, grains were milled for distribution in the south. Amid the beautiful countryside, you’ll find the House of the Founder of Arequipa, Garci Manuel de Carbajal here.

YURA: is a traditional district located 30 kms. from downtown Arequipa. It is a small valley, renowned for the remedial properties of its hot springs.

COTAHUASI CANYON: at 3,535 meters deep is the world’s deepest canyon. In the district of La Union, it’s 12 hours away from Arequipa. Cotahuasi (meaning ‘House of the Depths’ in Spanish) has many great attractions such as the waterfalls of Sipia (with a 150-meter drop), the stepped terraces of Waynacotas, the flora of Ayahuasi and Cahuana, amongst other attractions.

THE COLCA CANYON: 5 hours from Arequipa in the province of Cailloma, is 3,200 meters deep. The Colca Valley, comprised of 13 Andean villages, was formerly inhabited by the Collagua and the Cabana peoples. Today, its inhabitants maintain their ancestral traditions and still use the pre-Inca stepped terraces for farming. The majestic flight of the condor can be seen from here, and it’s an ideal place for adventure sports.

THE VALLEY OF THE VOLCANOES: is Located in Andahua, in the Province of Castilla, about10 hours from Arequipa. The topographer Hoempler identified 85 volcanic cones here in 1941. Solidified lava flows, from the Quaternary period, can also be seen.

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