Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO
The city has a line to the usage of the old Spanish cities, with square
blocks, as an immense chessboard.
Arequipa conserves one of the best
architectural treasures in the colonial time of Peru, expressed maybe in its
best way in the temples and religious convents and also in its beautiful elegant
largehouses. The features and architecture of this city were due to five
factors: the isolation of the communication roads, the telluric movements
(tremors and earthquakes), the ashlar, the wooden absence due to be located in a
deserter area and their people's unbroken spirit. The nickname of the city
"Ciudad Blanca" (White City) was given because of the
whiteness of their houses and buildings made in white ashlar, contrasting with
the bright blue sky.
The ashlar is a volcanic stone, easy to handle and of great resistance, which
can be found a lot in this area of the country.
The Main Plaza:
One of the most beautiful plazas from
Peru. In the center of this plaza is located a fountain with the statue
"Tuturutú" on the top, which is an important symbol of Arequipa.
Around it you can find important buildings with beautiful portals, such as the
Town Hall, the Cathedral of the City and an important church named "Iglesia
de La Compañía".
Santa Catalina de Siena Monastery
(1621-1656) Located in the north front of the
Main Plaza. Neo-renaissance style temple, designed by Andrés de Espinoza,
built in ashlar, with Gothic vaults of brick, two stylized towers, in their
interior there are jewels of great value such as the seat of the choir, the
sacristy and a great organ. In 1844 a fire destroyed all the ornamentation of
its interior and in 1868 it suffered serious damages caused by an earthquake,
then it was restored.
Iglesia de La Compañía
(1573) Old Jesuit
Temple, one of the most beautiful of the city. The strength of this construction
had allowed it to resist almost all the earthquakes. Its main front is an
artistic work, carved stone, filigree in ashlar, in a mixture of styles and with
indigenous influence, it has lots of ornamentation. A temple of a unique nave,
two laterals wings, a sanctuary and a high choir. In its interior altarpieces,
three Baroque and golden altars, colonial pictures and a carved beautiful wooden
pulpit of the XVII century exists.
Claustro de la Compañía
(1660) Located at
one side of the Iglesia de la Compañía, with arches of sculpted
ashlar, beautiful corridors; also called Pasaje Romaña, and at the moment
occupied by commercial establishments.
Convento de San Francisco
(1569) Designed by Gaspar
Báez, temple built in ashlar and brick, of a single arched nave and a
sanctuary with a dome. It has a beautiful choir made in stone in a mixture of
Templo de la Tercera Orden
(1775-1777) Located to the
side of San Francisco's Temple, it has the shape of a Latin cross with a dome.
Its front is beautiful adorned with sculptures.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo
(1649) Temple built in a
beautifully carved stone, with a polygonal tower. It was almost totally
destroyed by the earthquakes of 1958 and 1960 and then restored.
Iglesia de San Agustín
The Temple has a beautiful
sacristy, its dome is decorated in a mixture of Spanish and old Peruvian style,
and in its interior you may find pictures with the characteristic style
developed by the Escuela Cusqueña (Painting style created by artists from
Cusco). Its main entrance is also sculpted with decorations and figures made
Iglesia de La Merced
(1607) Temple and convent, its
front is finely carved in ashlar, it has a magnificent room of two naves,
beautiful pictures, it is the largest of the whole city; it is annexed to
Convento de la Merced. It has a very valuable Colonial library.
They are all built in ashlar, of lengthened fronts, which only had one floor
and vaulted roofs, big patios, and doors with artistically sculpted lintels.
Many of them have been acquired by private institutions and they are beautifully
restored and maintained, we recommend to visit the following large houses:
- Casa del Moral, one of the most beautiful and representatives of the
- Casa Ricketts, (1738) old headquarters of the Seminar of San
Jerónimo, also called Palacio Tristán del Pozo.
- Casa Goyeneche
- Casa Irriberry (1793)
- Casa de La Moneda (1798)