extension and population
| Brief historic
Main attractions of the capital |
Principal attractions of the department of Arequipa
Typical dishes and beverages |
EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Arequipa is located in the south western
part of the country. It limits to the north with Ica, Ayacucho
and Apurímac, to the south with Moquegua, to the east
with Cusco and Puno, and to the west with the Pacific Ocean.
Since part of its territory is Coast and part Sierra, the
weather is varied (intense heat in summer and low temperatures
Arequipa has an extension of
63,528 km² (24,500 sq ml) and a population of almost
The capital is the city
of Arequipa, located at 2,335 m.a.s.l. (7,600 ft),
with a beautiful architecture, based in ashlar stone, an extraordinary
landscape and countryside, and a dry climate with mild temperatures.
The department of Arequipa has
a past that goes back to primitive times. It is estimated
that the first settlements date from six to eight thousand
years BC, during the Paleolithic Period. Evidence of this
is found in the Yarabamba region, at Pampa Colorada and Sumbay,
behind the Misti volcano. There it is possible to see Rupestrian
paintings in caves of pre-historical times.
The Incas conquered Ayacucho,
building an administrative provincial center of great importance
in the zone of Vilcashuamán.
When the Incas, around the fifteenth
century, expanded their domains in this region, they found
two well-established ethnic groups in the region of the Colca
valley, the Callaguas and the Cabanas, who were
outstanding for their farming, seen still today in the their
terraces or andenerías and irrigation systems.
August 15, 1540, the Spanish, under the command of Captain
Manuel García Carbajal founded the Villa Hermosa
de Arequipa. One year later, King Charles V of Spain gave
it the rank of 'city' and the coat of arms that remains until
The so called Ciudad Blanca
or White City, due to the white color of its buildings constructed
with sillar or petrified organic ash from the Chachani
volcano, was a very important bastion during the struggle
for independence in the nineteenth century. Most outstanding
among the precursors were Juan Pablo Vizcardo y Guzmán,
author of the Letter to the Spanish Americans; Francisco
Javier Luna Pizarro, head of the First Constitutional Congress
in 1822; and the poet Mariano Melgar, executed in Humachiri.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE CAPITAL
Monasterio de Santa Catalina.
This is the most important and spectacular religious monument
in Perú. It was founded in September of 1579 by the
name of Santa Catalina de Siena and shut to the world until
Square, Cathedral, Town Hall, beautifully architecture
and surrounded by ashlar arcades.
Iglesia de la Compañía.
Founded by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century.
Church and Monastery of La
San Francisco. A Colonial
architectural complex from the sixteenth century.
Franciscan Monastery of La
Recoleta. Founded in 1648.
Colonial mansions. The
most important are Casa del Moral, Casa Tristán
del Pozo, Casa de Irriberry, Casa del Pastor,
and Casa Goyeneche.
Yanahuara. At 2 km (1.2
ml) from the city, this quarter is famous for its churches
built in Andalusian style.
Cayma. At 3 km
(1.8 ml) from the capital, this district is very well-known
for its picanterías (typical
local hot food restaurants). There is also a beautiful seventeenth
century church, and an extraordinary panoramic view of Arequipa.
Yura Thermal Baths.
Located at 30 km (18.5 ml) from the city, the waters come
from inside the Chachani volcano. Near the city of Arequipa
the curative water springs of Jesús and Socosani
are also found.
Sabandía, a valley
with the most crystalline natural waters of the region. There
is a seventeenth century mill still working.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AREQUIPA
Cañón del Colca.
This is a canyon located in the province of Cailloma. It has
a depth of 3,400 mt (11,000 ft) and is one of the deepest
in the world. To get there one must go behind the Misti and
Chachani volcanoes, as well as through the vicuña
reserve of Pampa Cañahuas.
Valle de Majes, in the
province of Castilla. The Toro Muerto petroglyphs are
located in this valley, with 5,000 large stones representing
geometric figures, flora and fauna.
Valley of the Volcanoes.
Located in Andahua at 337 km (235 ml) from Arequipa, this
valley has an incredible landscape formed by approximately
eighty small volcanoes, resembling the surface of the moon.
Santuario Nacional de Lagunas
de Mejía. Located in the Coast at 20 km (12.5 ml)
from Mollendo, this national sanctuary of 690 hectares includes
waters of different grades of salinity, swamps, cat-tale fields,
salt pits, and gramadales or grama grass fields. It
is possible to find almost 157 bird species.
Sumbay Caves. These
caves are located at 88 km (55 ml) from the capital. In spite
of time, inside these caves there are valuable rupestrian
paintings of the Paleolithic period. Human figures, Peruvian
ruminants and pumas, among other designs, are represented
in the rocky walls.
Imata Stone Forest. This
very original rocky formation, located in the road to Puno,
is a complex of natural stone columns, giving the appearance
of a mysterious, enchanted and petrified forest.
DISHES AND BEVERAGES
The food in Arequipa has reached
international fame. It has the greatest variety in relation
to the rest of the departments of Perú. It is distinguished
by its good flavor, seasoning and the use of chili, which
is why restaurants are called picanterías.
Its food is so diverse that there
is a different soup each day, presented as a broth or chupe
(a thick soup).
The following dishes, based on
either shrimp, pork, guinea-pig, cheese and hot pepper, are
among the most well-known: chupe de camarones, ocopa
arequipeña, rocoto relleno, adobo de
chancho, soltero de queso, pastel de papa,
costillar frito, cuy y conejo chactado, cauchi
and chaque. As dessert, the iced cottage cheese
is recommended, and to drink the chicha de jora, the
local beer or anise of the region.
Anniversary of the port of Mollendo and the celebration
of the Bajada de Los Reyes (Epiphany) in the district
February 2. Fiesta
de la Virgen de la Candelaria. Celebrated in the district
February 3. Fiesta
de la Virgen de la Candelaria, celebrated in the districts
Cayma and Characato. In Caravelí, the Virgen del
Buen Paso is celebrated with festivities that last four
days, with cockfights, bullfights, and Peruvian gait horse
Holy Week. Religious acts
in the whole department, with processions and spiritual retreat.
Men and women keep mourning.
May 1. Pilgrimage to the
sanctuary of the Virgen de Chapi at 45 km (30 ml) from
the capital. Pilgrims from all over the country and
South America arrive to venerate their patron.
August 15. Anniversary
of the capital city of Arequipa. Civic and religious festivities
that last a week, with different artistic and cultural activities,
such as, cockfights, sports, fireworks and parades. Foreign
artists are also invited to participate in these events. In
Castilla, the Virgen de la Asunción is honored
with festivals, parades and tournaments among districts.
August 30. Fiesta de
Santa Rosa de Lima. Religious festivity celebrated
in Caravelí with masses, processions, and churches
profusely arranged with flowers and a variety of decorations.
In Castilla, there are popular night festivals, contests and
September 8. Fiesta
de la Virgen de las Peñas, also celebrated in Castilla.
Great folkloric display, specially in Aplao. The majordomos
do everything to please the visitors.
November 1. All Saints'
Day. Family and friends visit the cemeteries to recall
their dead, taking music and food with them.
November 9. Jubilee
Day in Camaná. The whole city goes into the streets
to dance, sing and enjoy.
December 8. Fiesta
de la Inmaculada Concepción, celebrated in Chivay