City of Arequipa
Arequipa, The White City, spreads at the foot of the majestic Volcano Misti, sheltering an impressive architectural wealth. Its historical center has an urban configuration in the Vice-regal and Republican styles, and its beautiful squares, streets, parks, mansions, temples and monuments are well preserved, since most of its constructions are built with “sillar” (White volcanic stone).
Finally, Arequipa was declared as Humanity’s Cultural Patrimony, by the UNESCO, in 2000.
It is located 18 km. north of the city of Arequipa. It covers a surface of 200 km², with a height of 5,823 m.a.s.l. and is active. It is the icon of the Region of Arequipa, for its beauty which gives a special look to the city, the Chili Valley and Arequipenian countryside. It is a place of great tourist attraction and for practices of adventure tourism.
Convent of Santa Catalina
The Convent of Santa Catalina is part of Arequipa´s religious history. Built in the 16th century, it was closed to the public during more than 400 years. It is a small city, with a layout in the Spanish style, old little streets and secret passages. For centuries, it was inhabited by nuns who were secluded from the outside world.
It is one of Peru’s most beautiful squares, in the Colonial style, on which stand out the archways and buildings that surround it, such as the Cathedral and City Hall. It maintains the original architectural harmony of its buildings, in relation with the square, as well as that of its monuments and adjacent streets.
In the center of the square, there is an ornamental bronze fountain, composed of three dishes and crowned by a personage called “Tuturutú” who, says the story, was the person in charge of informing the population regarding any important event.
Cathedral of Arequipa
It is one of Arequipa´s most emblematic places. It was built in 1621, affected by the 1668 earthquake, partially destroyed in 1844, by a huge fire, and one of its towers fell during the 2001 earthquake. After its reconstruction, it is presently in good condition. On its façade, two towers stand out and inside, it shelters an interesting cultural, religious and artistic patrimony.
The Company’s Church
It was built in 1650 and is located nearby the Main Square (Plaza de Armas). Its carved façade and sculpted wooden pulpit are true artistic jewels, as well as the Sistine Chapel, altars and oil canvases of the great Bernardo Bitti and Diego de la Puente, along with beautiful paintings of the famous Cusquenian School of Art.
The imposing cloister that surrounds it is an architectural work which presents a set of arches, with half-breed relief in “sillar” volcanic stone, along with cut and finely carved columns.
Andean Sanctuaries´ Museum
In this museum, there is one of the region’s greatest attractions: The Mummy Juanita or Lady of Ampato who was discovered in 1995, in Arequipa‘s snow-capped volcanoes´ area, and who might have been given as an offering by the Incas, to the Apus (Tutelary divinities of the mountains), around 1466. It was one of the last important discoveries made on the snow-capped Mount Ampato, situated in the District of Cabanaconde, Province of Caylloma, in the Department of Arequipa.
Yanahuara’s Vantage Point
It is an enchanting place; a picturesque square, with its church cut in “sillar” stone, surrounded by trees and buildings with archways, of Colonial style, which allows an impressive view over the city and its volcanoes. It is Arequipa´s tourist district, for its countryside, hotels, restaurants and tourist “picanterías”, where Arequipa´s typical dishes can be enjoyed.
Sachaca’s Vantage Point
It is a district characterized by its narrow streets and typical “picanterías” (Popular restaurants), with their Arequipenian food. Its imposing vantage point stands out, offering a spectacular view over the whole city of Arequipa, its countryside and volcanoes.
The Founder’s Mansion
In the District of Socabaya, in the Arequipenian countryside, there is the mansion of Don García Manuel de Carvajal, founder of the Colonial city of Arequipa (Foundation in 1540). The Colonial style countryside residence is one of the most beautiful and best preserved in the region.
This famous mill built in stone, works with hydraulic power and is located 10 km. from the city. It dates from 1622 and is still functioning, to the visitors´ admiration.
It is located in the Province of Chivay, 165 kilometers away and about a 4 hour trip from the city of Arequipa. The canyon is more than 100 km. long and its deepest spot is at a depth of 3,400 meters. It is accessible by means of a compacted (Not asphalted) dirt road, that goes by beautiful places and picturesque Andean villages; mainly Collaguas of Tiahuanaco origin (Pre-Hispanic culture from the high plateaus) and Cabanas, of Quechua roots, such as Coporaque, Lari, Cabanaconde, Yanque, Achoma, Maca Pinchoyo, Chumpa, Antahuillque, Madrigal, etc. At present, its benched terraces of Incan origin are being worked on by the area’s farmers.
From Choquetico’s Vantage Point, one can appreciate the canyon and a set of pre-Incan tombs, halfway up a huge vertical rocky wall. What these ancient men did is admirable and mysterious, as their deep religiousness to honor their dead, is, by all means, worthy of respect.
One of the most privileged places to observe the great canyon, is the Cruz del Condor (Condor’s Cross) Vantage Point which is the tourists´ favorite spot, because, from there, one can see the huge condors flying out of the precipices´ abrupt walls, to lose themselves in the depths of the canyon. However, one can observe the bottom of the canyon, with a better perspective, from Tapay’s Vantage Point.
Canyon of Cotahuasi
The Cotahuasi Canyon is located in the Province of La Unión which is probably the most distant from the city of Arequipa, as there are 379 kilometers covered in 9 hours, by van or 12 hours by bus. It is the world’s deepest canyon (3,585 meters), and it has been declared as Landscape Reserve and National Tourist Reserve.
Near that valley, are located the snow-capped Coropuna (6,425 m.a.s.l.) and Solimana (6,117 m.a.s.l.) mountains. Likewise, it is the natural habitat of the Condor, vicuñas, tarucas, etc., and its geography propitiates a diversity of adventure sports, such as hikes, rafting, gliding, rock escalade, mountain biking, horseback riding and rappel. The closest village is Cotahuasi.
From the natural Vantage Point of Allhuay (3,950 m.a.s.l.), one enjoys a panoramic view of the Cotahuasi Canyon and Valley. Crossing a hanging bridge, one gets to the Cataracts of Sipia which are a 150 meter drop, forming an eternal rainbow which makes the place even more beautiful. The journey takes us through spectacular places, pre-Incan and Incan archaeological complexes, picturesque villages, in the canyon’s depth, and pre-Hispanic benched terraces in current use.
Glyphs of Toro Muerto (Dead Bull)
Toro Muerto is a set of designs appearing on nearly 6,000 volcanic rocks, and carved by the ancient Waris, between 900 and 1200 a.D. The rock carvings represent mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, anthropomorphic beings, plants and geometrical figures, on a surface of about 5 km. in length and 250 meters wide. It might very well be the world’s largest stone carved art deposit, and it has been catalogued as Humanity’s Patrimony.
Querullpa (Dinosaures´ Tracks)
These tracks are situated in the locality of Querullpa. There are about 68 tracks which measure between 50 and 90 cm. in length, by 10 cm. in depth, and these are about 180 million years old, which would correspond to the tracks of a biped dinosaur of the teropod family, which would have lived in the valley, in the Jurassic period. Furthermore, paleolithic pieces, as well as marine and plant fossils were found in the place.