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Arequipa Peru


Arequipa, Main square

Arequipa is a large city in southern Peru and the nation's second most important city. It is also the capital of the Arequipa Region and the Arequipa Province, and is 633.8 miles from Lima. The city lies in the highlands at the foot of the snow-capped volcano El Misti. El Misti is currently non-active, but erupted strongly between 1438 and 1471. Several smaller eruptions have occurred since then, most recently in 1870. Arequipa has over 80 volcanoes which can be found in The Valley of Volacanoes.

Founded as the Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de Asunta (the Beautiful Villa of Our Lady of Asunta), Arequipa was recognized as a city in 1541. Throughout its history, Arequipa has also been the cradle of leading thinkers and politicians. It is the main commercial centre for the south, and its people resent the general tendency to believe the everything is run from Lima. It has been declared a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO.

Arequipa is also called "Ciudad blanca" - the white city - because the historical centre is built from white, volcanic stones. One of its most famous sights is Santa Catalina Monastery, right in the city centre.
The beautiful Plaza de Armas, with its gardens and central fountain, is the focus of urban life and evening social activities, framed by impressive colonial arcades and architecture and the elegant white façade of the huge Cathedral. One of the city’s highlights is the remarkable Santa Catalina Convent, a complex enclosing a complete city within a city, and one of the country’s most fascinating colonial religious buildings

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

One of the principle attractions of a visit to the Arequipa region is a trip to the second deepest Canyon in the world averaging 3400m in depth. The roads on either side of the canyon are at around 4,000m. In the background looms the grey, smoking mass of Sabanacaya, one of the most active volcanoes in the Americas, and its more docile neighbor, Ampato (6,288m).

Unspoiled Andean villages lie on both sides of the canyon, inhabited by the Cabana and Collagua peoples, and some of the extensive precolumbian terraced fields are still in use. From January to April is the rainy season, but this makes the area feen, with lots of flowers. This is not the best time to see condors. May to December is the dry, cold season when there is more chance of seeing the birds.

 

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