Arequipa, Peru - Polarsteps

Arequipa, Peru: population: about 1,200,000. "The White City." Arequipa sits in a high mountain valley, the Chili Vally, with Andes on two sides and high coastal hills on the other two sides. In the Andes Mtns are three volcanos - The Misti (an active volcano), and Pikchu Pikchu and Chachani which are extinct volcanos. The Chili River runs through the center of the city. The Pacific Ocean is 129 kilometers (80 miles) to the west. The city was founded in August 1540, with the name "Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunta." But, in 1541 the Spanish monarch Carlos V decreed that it should be renamed, the "City of Arequipa." Arequipa is also called "the White City" because of the construction material used for most of the historical and some newer buildings - sillar. Sillar is a white volcanic stone that is mined outside of the city. Arequipa is also a pedestrian-friendly city and has very good bus and taxi services. Arequipa is number 2 to Lima in Peru. It is the second largest and second most industrialized city in Peru. Industries include wool/textile production, mining, agriculture, and tourism. The historic center is a "Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO and covers some 332 hectares (820 acres). Many of the buildings are more than 300 years old and some of the churches and monasteries are more than 400 years old. UNESCO lists more than 5800 properties as historic and about 500 as heritage. Arequipa has at least 14 museums. There are several theories about the origin of the Arequipa, with no real hard evidence for any of them. Long before the arrival and conquests by the Incas the area of Arequipa had been inhabited by various hunter/gatherer groups. These early groups of people built the first canals for irrigation and farming. Several groups worked together to settle the area and develop an agrarian economy in what is now called Arequipa. Then came the Incas who conquered the indigenous groups. Then came the Spanish who conquered the Incas. There were severe earthquakes in 1868, 1878, and 1913, which greatly damaged the city. In 1908, Arequipa got its first telegraph, 1914 saw the first drinking-water aqueduct, and in 1931 its first highways connected Arequipa to other cities. In 1940 the airport was opened. In June 2001, an 8.4 magnitude earthquake struck Arequipa and caused major damage to or destruction of many historic buildings. So, my impressions: Arequipa is definitely a place to visit, the city's historic center, the monasteries, churches, etc, are incredible. Out in the neighborhoods, one can find even more very old houses. There are many parks throughout the city and many plazas with sculptures or monuments at the center. It's a beautiful area, this valley, and there are many places outside the city to explore and do tours to. But, because of its size, I will not be considering it as a place to live.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Arequipa