Province of Arequipa
Main Square, city of Arequipa
Bordered by various arched walkways and the Cathedral, the Main Square possesses a beautiful bronze fountain of three plates crowned by the figure of a sixteenth century soldier. Of this person, who is called “Tuturutu”, the story says he was in charge of warning of any new event.
Around the square, you see three granite portals with brick and lime bases: Portal del Cabildo (Portal de la Municipalidad), Portal de las Delicias (Portal de San Agustín), and Portal del Regocijo (Portal de Flores).
Cathedral, city of Arequipa
It is considered one of the first seventeenth century religious monuments of the city. It is built of sillar (white volcanic stone) with a brick base. Destroyed by fire in 1844, it was rebuilt in 1868 by the Arequipa architect Lucas Poblete. He employed a Neoclassical style and placed the entrances to the church on the flanking naves. In 2001, the building was struck hard by an earthquake, which seriously damaged its towers.
The Church of the Company of Jesus Christ
This complex, made up of buildings constructed by the Jesuits for religious and living purposes, is a representative monument of seventeenth century religious architecture (1660). The church itself rises from the center of the buildings. It was designed in 1573 by Gaspar Baez and in 1584 destroyed by an earthquake. The current structure dates from 1650. Inside are found sixty-six canvases from the Cusco School from such artists as Bernardo Bitti and Diego de la Puente.
Church of Saint Francis
The complex contains the Saint Francis church, the convent, and a smaller church known as La Tercera Orden (the Third Franciscan Order). What catches the attention inside the church is the bas-relief decorated Baroque pulpit and the silver front of the main altar. Besides these, a short passageway, named Manguillo de San Francisco, has been added to the complex to separate the church from what was the first girls’ school and later a women’s jail. Today, it has become a commercial art center known as “Fundo El Fierro” (Iron Ranch).
Saint Kathleen Monastery
Constructed to shelter the daughters of the wealthiest families of the city with a religious vocation, the monastery was inaugurated on October 2, 1580, under the name of Santa Catalina of Siena to be an absolutely cloistered religious center, and it remained that way until August 15, 1970.
It occupies an approximate area of 20.000 m2 (215 285 feet2), and its placement is similar to the first neighborhoods of Arequipa.
The building exhibits rooms of very different architectural design. One of the areas has been established as a gallery for exhibiting the canvasses of the Cusco, Quito, and Arequipa Schools. There are other rooms, or sectors, to visit as well like el Claustro de la Portería (the Gate Cloister), el Museo Precolombino (the pre-Colombian Museum), el Claustro de San Francisco (the Cloister of Saint Francis), etc.
La Recoleta Convent
A Franciscan convent founded in 1848, it was opened to the public in 1978. It features various styles that include Romantic and Neo-gothic due to its different remodeling campaigns (the last was in 1940). It has four cloisters and eleven sectors, as well as two pre-Colombian art rooms, two others dedicated to the Amazon Rain Forest, and another to religious art. It likewise has a gallery exhibiting canvasses from the Cusco and Arequipa Schools and a valuable library that protects more than 20,000 volumes and ancient books.
Holy Sunday Church
Architecturally, the church is characterized by a bell tower, its entrance with a corner pedestal, and its impeccable arch under the choir loft. Inside, one can appreciate paintings and other pieces of sacred art. Equally, it is known for its side entrance as being the oldest in Arequipa. The upper cloister of the convent was constructed around 1734.
An eighteenth century house, it constitutes one of the oldest and most important architectural monuments from the Arequipa Baroque period. The house owes its name to an ancient blackberry tree that grows in its main patio. Inside, furniture from Peru’s Colonial and Republican epochs is on display. The main entrance of white sillar stone is a work of art in which it is possible to admire carefully carved figures. For example, there is a crown suspended above a coat of arms that is held up by two angels with the coat of arms being composed of tinier carvings of a castle, a bird, a puma, and two crossed keys. In the same way, the room of sixteenth century “antique” maps of America also stands out.
Saint Lazarus neighborhood.
This neighborhood of alleys, narrow passageways, small plazas, and large homes is the most representative of old Arequipa. This place was established by Dominican priests in 1538, who built a sanctuary to evangelize the natives of the area and to prepare the land to found a new Spanish city. The small bridge that joins the Church of San Lázaro and its small plaza with the rest of the quarter is a must see.
This sixteenth century house of white sillar stone is completely designed in the Colonial style. There, prints from the Cusco and Arequipa Schools are preserved and so are sculptures from the Granada School of the seventeenth century. The name comes from Mr. Juan de Goyeneche y Aguerreverre, who bought it in 1782. Presently, it is headquarters to the Central Reserve Bank of Peru in Arequipa.
Saint Augustine Church
Built in 1575, the church displays a façade that dates from the first half of the eighteenth century and is considered one of the best of its time. In architectural terms, it belongs to the mixed-origin Baroque and the main construction material was white sillar stone. Inside, the church’s main highlights are the dome, its Neoclassical altars, especially the major one for the precise carvings and gold leaf.
Its construction began in 1551 and finished in 1607. It has an attractive side entrance, which features the image of the Virgin of the Mercies accompanied by two saints of mercy. Important works of art like the “Aparición de la Virgen a San Pedro Nolasco” (Saint Peter Nolasco Recovering the Image of the Virgin) are preserved in its sacristy as well as a series of paintings related to the Virgin de la Merced in the main hall. The church and the convent, the latter constructed in the city, were built using the white sillar stone from Arequipa. The cloister maintains a library that dates back to the Vice royal period.
Tristán del Pozo house
This traditional, colonial house has a façade that is carved in mixed-origin Baroque. In addition, it was made with wide, unique patios inside. It was built in 1738 for General Domingo Tristán del Pozo. Today, it is the property of Banco Continental.
University of San Agustín Archeological Museum
A varied collection is exhibited here including stone items, bones from human sacrifices, ceramic pieces from the Nasca, Tiahuanaco, Huari, and Inca, and objects of gold and silver from the Colonial and Incan epochs.
University of Santa María de Arequipa Archeological Museum
The museum has around 1,000 pieces (ceramics, textiles, mummies, stone, wood, and metal) from the different cultural groups that inhabited the Department of Arequipa beginning in the year 12,000 B.C. up to the time of the colony: Nasca, Tiahuanaco, Wari, Churajón, Acarí, Aruni, and Inca as well as transitional and colonial materials.
Saint Mary’s Catholic University Museum of Andean Sanctuaries
Here, they exhibit la Dama de Ampato (the Lady of Ampato), an Incan mummy of a twelve to fourteen year old girl found at the top of the Ampato volcano by the climber Miguel Zárate, the archeologist José Chávez, and the anthropologist Johan Reinhard on September 8, 1995. According to the specialists, it is very likely that the girl, whose remains were found frozen, died from blow to the temple from a five pointed granite mace. It seems that she was an offering to the Ampato Apu (protector god) and probably died 500 years ago.
Selva Alegre suburb
Considered the “garden of the city” for its large parks and huge trees that live in harmony with the modern houses of the area, Selva Alegre was constructed as a monument to Juan Pablo Vizcardo y Guzmán, predecessor to Peruvian independence. The Molino de Santa Catalina (Mill of Saint Kathleen) is a featured site, completely restored and located on the mall of this zone.
It was built in the nineteenth century and is composed of a series of sillar stone arches where the words of famous Arequipa citizens have been engraved. This spot has a wonderful view of the city and Mount Misti volcano.
City of Sabandia
Wide terraces and three volcanoes, the Misti, the Chachani, and the Pichu Pichu, provide the scenery around this traditional town. Some of the houses still preserve characteristic styles of the Viceroyalty or of nineteenth century Republicanism. A recreational area with two swimming pools that use the cold river waters of the surrounding region has been built.
Constructed in 1785, it represents the typical architecture of the region where the use of sillar stone predominates. It is characterized by solid supports and rustic balconies. Stone grinding wheel techniques for processing wheat can be viewed here as well.
Built with sillar stone at the edge of a cliff, it is one of the most important and traditional mansions or houses in the region. According to the story, Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, founder of Arequipa, had it built for his son. Later, in 1785, Mr. Juan Crisóstomo de Goyeneche y Aguerreverre was its proprietor and remodeled it, giving it the distinguished characteristics that are seen today. The main entrance is composed of a foyer with an arched ceiling, followed by a wide principal patio over which the windows and doors of the bedrooms open.
District of Cayma
The village of Cayma is known as the “Balcony of Arequipa” for its advantageous location that allows the entire city to be seen. Its central plaza houses the church of San Miguel Arcángel (Saint Michael the Archangel), built in 1730 and considered an architectonic jewel because of its mixed façade. In the rectory annex, the “Comedor de Bolívar” (Bolivar’s dining room) is preserved where, according to legend, the Liberators lunched during their say in the town.
The Misti volcano, 5 825 m.a.s.l., / 19111 f.a.s.l. is the guardian of the city. From the summit, it is possible to see the city of Arequipa, the Chili River valley, and the Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.
Yura Hot Springs
These are wells of thermal waters in the foothills of the Chachani volcano, 2575 m.a.s.l / 8448 f.a.s.l.. The therapeutic properties of the waters, whose temperature fluctuates between 23ºC/ 73.40ºF and 28ºC / 82.40ºF , are celebrated. Between 1810 and 1831, Mr. José Nogal y Noguerol built the wells that are still maintained today.
Sumbay Caves – Rock Art
Located within the boundaries of the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, this area boasts over 500 rock art figures. These representations, possibly made by the first inhabitants of the area, are approximately 6,000 to 8,000 years old.
From there, an approximate 6 hour hike will take you to the summit. This snow covered peak, towering over 6 075 m.a.s.l./ 19931 f.a.s.l. is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in Peru. It is also an inactive volcano, but lava is still visible, and there are depressions and moraines. It takes two days and one night to ascend.
District of Yarabamba
The name of the district comes from two Quechua vowels: “yaro” or “yara”, a native bush of the area, and “bamba” which means pampas. Visiting the mansion of Arenas y Pinto and the colonial house of Rivera y Echevarría are excursions in the town.
District of Quequeña
This area has been inhabited by the Lupacas, Aymaras, Quechuas, Collaguas, Puquinas, and, at the middle of the fifteenth century, the Incas. The name of the town probably comes from the Puquina word, “quequeña”, which means “rocky and solid place”. The main places of interest are la Alameda de los Sauces (Willows Walk), la Alameda de los Muertos (Path of the Dead), and Guanaqueros Gorge. There is also a recently restored church to see.
District of Chiguata
Chiguata was founded on January 22, 1540, by the steward, Diego Hernández. The name of the city is a combination of two Quechua words, “chiri” (cold) and “guata” (year), and means “cold all year long”. Among the main attractions, one can visit the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo (Church of the Holy Spirit) and the archeological centers of Tambo de León and Infiernillos.
District of Tiabaya
The valley is completely agricultural and is believed to have been inhabited by the ethnic groups of the Kuntis from Cabana, the Yanahuaras, and the Chumbivilcas. On November 8, 1870, it was given the title of “city” and is famous for its rustic restaurants.
District of Characato
This locale has plenty of vegetation and abundant water, so it is ideal for farming. Very close to the town is a spring of water called “Ojo de Milagro” (Miraculous Spring). There is also a beautiful colonial church. Historically, the inhabitants of this area went to work at the southern salt licks, now territory of Chile. When the people of this place were asked where they were from, they would say “from Characato, sir”; from that comes the nickname for the people of Arequipa – “characatos”.
Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve
Its area is almost 367,000 hectares, including territory from the Provinces of Arequipa, Caylloma (Arequipa Region), and General Sánchez Cerro (Moqueqa Region). It was created for the purpose of preserving important associations of flora and fauna, protecting the natural environment that was deteriorating and in the process of being destroyed, as well as caring for the vicuña through a repopulation program. The reserve is located between 2800 and 6050 m.a.s.l. (9186 and 19849 f.a.s.l.) and the Misti (5825 m.a.s.l. / 19111 f.a.s.l.), Chachani (6075 m.a.s.l./ 19931 f.a.s.l.), and Pichu-Pichu (5664 m.a.s.l./ 18583 f.a.s.l.) volcanoes are found there. Among the Reserve’s most representative species are the vizcacha, the fox, the condor, and the Andean flamingo or parihuana. Scientists have determined the existence of 169 animal species, 23 of which are mammals (including two forms of domesticated South American camelids), 138 species of birds (the blue billed ducks, eagles, and kestrels are the trophies), 3 reptilian, 4 amphibious, and 3 fish species. Salinas Lake is considered a special spot to observe flamingos during their migration period.