arequipa

"the white city of peru"

Arequipa is also an important industrial and commercial center of Peru, and is considered as the second industrial city of the country. Within its industrial activity the manufactured products and the textile production of wool of camelids. The town maintains close commercial links with Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil and with the cities connected the South trainway, as well as with the port of Matarani.

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Arequipa 

(Spanish pronunciation: [aɾeˈkipa]; Aymara & Quechua: Ariqipa) is a city located in the province and the eponymous department of Peru. It is the seat of the Constitutional Court of Peru and often dubbed “legal capital of Peru.”  It is the second most populated city in Peru, after Lima, with an urban population of 1,008,290 inhabitants according to the 2017 national census.

The city was founded on August 15, 1540, under the name of “Beautiful Villa of Our Lady of the Assumption” in the name of Marquis Francisco Pizarro. The September 22 of 1541, the monarch Carlos V orders that it should be called «City of Arequipa.» In the viceregal period, it acquired importance for its outstanding economic role, and is characterized by the fidelismo towards the Spanish Crown, receiving titles such as “Very Noble and Very Loyal” and “Very Loyal” by the crown. In the Republican history of Peru, the city has been the focus of popular, civic and democratic rebellions, it has also been the cradle of outstanding intellectual, political and religious figures of the country. In the Republican era, it is awarded the title of “Heroic city of the freedom people of Arequipa.”

 

Its historical center extends over an area of 332 hectares  and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Historical heritage and monumental that it houses and its diverse scenic and cultural spaces turn it into a host city of national and international tourism, in its historical center it highlights the religious architecture viceregal and republican product of mixture of Spanish and autochthonous characteristics, that constituted an own stylistic school called «Arequipeña School» whose influence arrived in Potosí (Bolivia).

Etymology

A local tradition states that Inca Mayta Capac received a petition from his subjects to reach the valley of the River Chili. They asked him for permission to stay in the region as they were impressed by the beauty of the landscape and the mild climate. The Inca answered “Ari qhipay” (Quechua: “Yes, stay”). However, another similar tale states that when the first Europeans arrived to the valley, they pointed at the ground and asked for the name of the land. the local chief, not understanding the question, assumed they were asking for a permission to sit down and gave a positive answer, which sounded like “Arequipa”.

Chroniclers Blas Valera and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega suggested that the name of the city came from an ancient Aymara phrase, “ari qquepan”, supposedly meaning “trumpet sound”, in reference to the sound produced from blowing into an empty conch-like seashell.

Another possible origin of the city’s name comes from the Aymara language phrase “qhipaya ari” or “Ari qipa” (from ‘ari’: acute, sharp or pointed; and ‘qhipaya’: behind), which translates to “behind the peak,” referring to the nearby volcano, Misti

History

The early inhabitants of the Arequipa City area were nomadic people who relied on activities such as hunting, fishing and gathering for survival. Later, pre-Inca cultures domesticated llamas and became sedentary with the development of agriculture. During this time, major irrigation channels were built within the valley of the Chili river, which allowed the development of agriculture by means of terraces built on both sides of the valley. The Yarabaya and Chimbe tribes settled in the city’s current location, and together with the Cabana and Collagua tribes they developed an agrarian economy in the valley.

When the Inca Mayta Capac arrived in the valley of the Chili river, he didn’t build cities; instead, he gave orders to his mitimae (settlers from lands within the Inca empire) to settle in the valley to gain control of the existing population, perform intelligence tasks and strengthen border enclaves as a way to control the unconquered villages. A Hispanic version of the events, detailed by chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, which has been described as historically inaccurate, suggests that around 1170 Huayna Capac stopped with his army in the valley of the Chili River, which he called Ari qepay – an expression meaning “let’s stay here”. Lands were then distributed among three thousand families who founded the towns of Yanahuara, Cayma, Tiabaya, Socabaya, Characato and others, towns that still exist nowadays.

 

The Spanish foundation of Arequipa was performed on 15 August 1540 by Garci Manuel de Carbajal in the valley of the Chili river as “Villa de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora del Valle Hermoso de Arequipa” in an area occupied by some Native American villages. At the time of its foundation, Arequipa had already a city council, because the foundation of the town occurred in part as a relocation of Villa Hermosa de Camana, a coastal city. The name was partially conserved as Villa Hermosa de Arequipa. Charles V of Germany and I of Spain gave the town a status of ‘city’ by Royal Decree on 22 September 1541. The relocation efforts were led by Garci Manuel de Carbajal, who was selected as the political authority for the foundation of the new town. Among the first public works carried out in the city are the Main Church, the City Hall, the bridge on the Chili River and the monastery of Nuestra Señora de Gracia.

Since its Spanish founding and over three centuries, the population of the city was mostly of Spanish origin, which represented a strong following of Spain. One aspect that distinguished Arequipa from the rest of the country was the particularly explicit and public commitment of the city to the Spanish Crown, a phenomenon called fidelismo. Among its most remarkable defenders were Francisco de Paula Quiroz, Mariano de Rivero, Nicolás Fernández, and José Miguel de Lastarria. As a result, the Spanish Monarchy gave the city the title of Faithful by Royal Charter in 1805. Also, because of its distance from other Peruvian cities, Arequipa was not heavily influenced by libertarian movements Although those libertarian movements (like the one commanded by Pumacahua) and pro-independence military troops entered Arequipa, the city remained under Spaniard control until the Battle of Ayacucho (1824), due to struggles for local political power.

Its privileged location at the crossroads of the trade route of silver during colonial times and, after independence, the wool trade route, allowed Arequipa to accumulate administrative, commercial and industrial power. Moreover, from the early 1820s until the end of that decade, society in Arequipa, as well as in the rest of Peru, was in a transitional period right after its independence from Spain. Thus, Arequipa not only became the birthplace of significant political figures in Peru, but also the scene of several important political movements that achieved national prominence which played a role in the defense of the legal and economic stability of the city; thus establishing the importance of Arequipa as the country’s second city, and in frequent rivalry with Lima.

In 1835, president General Orbegoso moved his government from Lima to Arequipa by presidential decree on 13 January 1835. Meanwhile, in Lima, General Felipe Santiago Salaverry named himself Supreme Chief of the Republic, arguing that the country was leaderless, as Orbegoso was outside the capital. Orbegoso then sought support from then Bolivian President Andrés de Santa Cruz against the claims of Salaverry. Battles were held in Uchumayo, near the city of Arequipa, on 4 February 1836 where Salaverry won a victory, and Socabaya, three days later, where Santa Cruz defeated the Army of reunification under Salaverry, who gave up his sword under terms of surrender However, on 18 February 1836, Salaverry and his 9 officers were shot in the main square of the city.

After expressing their rejection of the Peru–Bolivian Confederation, the Chilean government sent a military expedition that reached Arequipa on 12 October 1837. To avoid a battle, negotiations allowed the signing of a peace treaty in Paucarpata, a small town near Arequipa on 17 November 1837. In the following years the city was the scene of uprisings and successive military coups, which ended in the victory of the forces commanded by Miguel de San Román against the army of Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco in the battle of Paucarpata on 29 June 1857. It was around this time that Arequipa gained prominence as a center of business and trade, focused in agricultural products and the production of wool, sometimes by means of exploitation of peasants.

After the occupation of Lima during the War of the Pacific, President Lizardo Montero arrived in Arequipa on 31 August 1882, declaring it the capital of Peru. Also, Montero installed a National Congress on 22 April 1883 which was located at the Independence College, also counting with military support from a local army and important financial support from quotas and taxes coming from the economic elite and the southern agricultural districts. However, on 25 October 1883, a popular uprising overthrew the government of president Montero, who managed to escape to La Paz; then, Chilean troops occupied Arequipa on 29 October, supported by authorities of the city, until August 1884.

The republican era brought many improvements to the city’s infrastructure. The economic development of Arequipa was boosted by the Southern Railroad built by Henry Meiggs, which connected Arequipa with the port city of Mollendo (1871) and with Cuzco and Juliaca (1876). The first telegraph system in the region of Arequipa, which connected Mollendo, Arequipa and Vitor, was established in 1908. The first drinking water supply system for the city and an aqueduct were built in 1914. In 1940 the city’s international airport, Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon, was opened.

In 2000, the historic centre of Arequipa was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. However, an 8.4-magnitude earthquake, on 23 June 2001, damaged several of the historical buildings.

City symbols

King Charles I of Spain elevated Arequipa to the rank of city by royal decree on 22 December 1540, awarding it a coat of arms on which a mythical animal carries a banner with the inscription Karlos V or Del Rey.

The origin of the crimson flag of the city has been a subject of debate among historians. By 1940, several historians, most notably Francisco Mostajo and Victor M. Barriga, firmly confirmed the royal origin of the crimson color of the flag, contrary to the blue banner proposed as the original by historian Victor Benavente. This matches the color used in sports activities in the city. 

On 2 September 1940, Francisco Mostajo sent a letter to the Mayor of the City to explain his views regarding the color of the Banner of Arequipa, basing his claims on the ‘Act of the oath of King Carlos III ” of 11 August 1788. On 23 September of the same year, Father Victor M. Barriga also published an important document in the Catholic newspaper El Deber that contains a description of the royal standard of Arequipa found in the “Act of 3 September 1789”.

The anthem of the city is called the Fourth Centenary Anthem. It was written by Emilio Pardo Valle with music by Aurelio Diaz Espinoza, who won a contest organized by the city council in 1939 for the creation of the music and lyrics of the anthem. The award was given in 1940 and the hymn has been sung ever since at all important civic events held in the city.

Geography

Location

The city is located at an average elevation of 2,328 metres (7,638 ft) above sea level, with the lowest part of the city at 2,041 metres (6,696 ft) above sea level in the area called Huayco Uchumayo while the highest is located at 2,810 metres (9,220 ft) above sea level.

The central part of the city is crossed by the Chili River from north to south; to the north and east of Arequipa are the Andes mountains, while to the south and west there are minor mountain ranges associated to the Andes. The valley of Arequipa, open toward the coast, plays a key role in allowing Arequipa to be a city that strategically links the coastal and highland regions of southern Peru.

A series of volcanic cones dominates the city skyline: Misti, and the extinct volcanic groups Pichu Pichu and Chachani. The western slopes of the Andes in the region feature thick layers of volcanic lava that cover large areas.

Climate

Partial view of Arequipa, with Misti volcano in the left.

The climate of the city is predominantly dry in winter, autumn and spring due to the low atmospheric moisture and an effective precipitation corresponding to that of a desert climate (BWk, according to the Köppen climate classification). Arequipa has also 300 days of sunshine a year on average. Throughout the year, temperatures do not exceed 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely drop below 5 °C (41 °F). The wet season lasts from December to March and is marked by the presence of clouds in the afternoon and low rainfall. In winter (June, July), weather gets a little cooler and the low temperature drops to an average of 6 °C (43 °F).

The average relative humidity is 46%, with an average high of 70% in the summer season and a minimum average of 27% during autumn, winter and spring, according to data from the weather station at Goyeneche Hospital.

The winds are influenced by a system of local winds and the passage of frontal systems of low atmospheric pressure, which are conditioned by the topographical surrounding the valley where the city is. These winds occur mainly in the evening and early morning; mountain breezes flow in a north-east direction and in the course of the day valley breezes dominate with a South-West direction. The wind velocity along the day fluctuates between 1.5 m / s and 2.5 m / s.

Cityscape

On 15 August 1540, the Spanish founders of Arequipa designed the city plan as resembling a checkerboard made of fifty-six blocks, each one of “400 Castilian feet’ (111.40 meters) per side. Each block comprised four or eight land lots, which were distributed according to the status of the new owners. As the time passed, some religious institutions came to occupy an entire block as were the cases of the Convent of Santa Catalina and the San Francisco Monastery.

The urban area grew at the expense of the countryside, a process that has worsened in recent decades. Arequipa expanded east of the historic centre, new avenues like Parra Boulevard and Siglo Veinte Avenue were built to communicate the historic centre with the new neighborhoods, such as Vallecito (created in the 1940s) or with already existing towns like Yanahuara, which were being absorbed by the city expansion. Shantytowns began to appear in the districts of Miraflores, Barrio Obrero and Jacinto Ibanez. New urban improvements were built as the city grew. A permanent marketplace was built in a vacant lot previously occupied by theSan Camilo Monastery. The Goyeneche Hospital was built between 1905 and 1910. Two theaters (Municipal and Ateneo), a hotel (Hotel de Turistas), a public library and the campus of San Agustin university were also part of the city improvements built in the early twentieth century. Housing projects and new neighborhoods were also built, like Cuarto Centenario and Selva Alegre.

In the late 1950s the city rapidly grew, especially the peripheral areas. Around this time, industrial activities located in areas of Barrio del Solar and Barrio Obrero, near the city center, moved outwards to the industrial zone (Parque Industrial), causing the former industrial areas to become commercial zones. Also some educational institutions that previously were located in the city center, such as the National University of San Agustin, moved to bigger land lots in peripheral areas in 1962 to accommodate their increasing facilities; residential sectors also became established in peripheral suburbs, leaving the city centre as a tourist and business district.

Principal sights and attractions

The Old Town

Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

Church of the Company

Convent of Santa Catalina

The Tristan del Pozo House

volcano Chachani

Transport

Arequipa’s urban road network has a radiocentric structure with four main avenues: Avenida Ejército, Avenida Jesus, Avenida Alcides Carrion and Avenida Parra; which allow the movement of the population between the intermediate and peripheral areas and the downtown. These avenues are connected, in turn, by other avenues such as Avenida Venezuela, Avenida La Marina, Avenida Salaverry, Avenida Cáceres, among others, which almost form a ring around the downtown. Other avenues such as: Avenida Cayma, Avenida Goyeneche, and Avenida Dolores link the suburbs and nearby districts with downtown Arequipa. Interchanges such as the one at Avenida La Marina and another one at Avenida Caceres help to relieve urban traffic. A road of 40 km approximately, which goes through the district of Uchumayo, connects Arequipa to the Pan-American Highway and coastal cities; another road goes through the district of Yura, connecting Arequipa to other cities in the southern highlands like Puno and Cuzco.

Public transit in Arequipa is currently operated by small private companies.

Arequipa airport

Arequipa’s only airport is Rodríguez Ballón International Airport, which is operated by a private consortium through a concession granted by the government since 2011. It is located in the district of Cerro Colorado, about 12 miles (19 kilometres) northwest of the downtown, and because of its features and facilities is considered one of the best in the country There are regular flights to Peruvian destinations such as Lima, Cuzco, Tacna and Juliaca and to international destinations such as Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires.

The railway network system has been operating in Arequipa since 1871, and enables communication between the coast and the mountains and different levels of progress and expansion of population centers located in its path. The system consists of the lines Cusco-Puno-Arequipa and Arequipa-Mollendo. It is of great strategic importance in the multimodal communication system in the southern macro region, since it is the most effective and economical way to transport heavy loads over long distances.

Terrapuerto Internacional Arequipa is a bus terminal located in the district of Jacobo Hunter. There, several bus companies offer land travel routes to regional and national destinations within Peru and to international destinations such as La Paz, Santiago de Chile, Mendoza and Buenos Aires.

Peru Travel information

When to travel to Peru? Considering that Peru is categorized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries on earth, you have a variety of climates and seasons to consider. That being said, you can visit Peru year-round depending on where you would like to visit. However, if you are looking to explore the Amazonian rainforest or traverse through the Andes Mountains, many travelers choose to avoid the rainy season which runs from November to March with its peak between January and February. Visiting from April through October lands you in the generally dry winter season, which is an excellent time to visit Machu Picchu, experience a world-class trek, traverse the exotic Amazon Rain forest not to mention the other amazing destinations Peru has to offer. Speak with a Qosqo Expeditions Designer today to discover the best time for you to experience a luxury tour of Peru.

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