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Arequipa's mansions, churches and convents are theAREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPA Historic Centre'sAREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPA main attraction. Try not to hurry as you walk through its cobblestone streets, so you can properly appreciate its unique architecture, be astonished by the brilliance of the 'sillar' and feel the energy of the Misti, the ever present volcano eternally watching over the city.

You should also visit the outlying areas of the city to enjoy the verdant beauty of its countrysideAREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPA and to take a breath of fresh Andean air. However, if it's adventure you're looking for, a trip to the provinces is a must so you can discover the many attractions the region has to offer.


La Catedral - The Cathedral, AREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPA occupies a whole side of the Plaza de Armas Main Square of Arequipa. It is built in sillar – a white stone of volcanic origin and is of neo Renaissance style, with two streamlined towers and one Gothic vault. In its interior, there is an organ from Loret in Belgium. The carved wood pulpit stands out in its interior made by Boisini-Rigot, of Lille (France), in 1879.
It is one of the most representative monuments of Arequipa and one of the maximum expressions of the neo Classic architecture in Peru. Its construction began in 1621, although it was only finished in 1656.
Its original design was seriously affected by a voracious fire in 1844 and several later earthquakes. These events forced a deep restoration of the temple in 1868, done by the architect Lucas Poblete. After the works the temple maintained its beautiful façade with white sillar (slates of volcanic stone), crowned by two streamlined towers of 28 metres of height.
The architectonic set makes an impression by its great dimensions (It occupies an entire length of the Plaza de Armas Main Square) and invites to discover its interior richly ornamented with wood carvings, marble from Carrara and a splendid ashlar masonry.
In June of 2001 a strong earthquake damaged its towers seriously, so much that one of them irremediably collapsed, causing stupor and sadness in the frightened population. The faithful arequipeño people with their indomitable character and iron fighting spirit hurriedly reconstructed their city, including the beautiful bell tower.
The Cathedral of Arequipa is located on the Plza de Armas Main Square and opens its doors from Mondays to Saturdays from 7:00 hours to the 11:30 hours and from 17:00 hours to the 19:30 hours; Sundays from 7:00 hours to the 13:00 hours and from 17:00 hours to the 19:00 hours.

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Majestic Arequipa
La Iglesia de la Compañía - the Church of the Company, which was built by the Jesuits in the XVIIth Century, makes an impression by its carved façade that was finished in 1698. Its pulpit in carved wood and its old sacristy, well-known as the so called Sixtine Chapel AREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPAof Arequipa, was the fruit of the work of anonymous indigenous artists, who imprimed in the work their own colour, their own motives and their own spirit. The Church of the Company was one of the first temples of Arequipa in which sillar was used. Its Plateresque facade of Mestizo inspiration is quite sumptuous, with colourful and streamlined ornaments with vine leaves, bunches of grapes, flowers, birds, angels and indigenous masks with hairdos adorned with long feathers.
The temple presents a structure of two levels, typical of the European churches of the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries. Other architectonic details of interest are the half point vaults and the half columns that hold up the superior floor.
Its interior is a display of luxury and ornamentación, with golden altars of Mestizo Baroque style, a beautiful pulpit from the XVIIth Century and more than 60 paintings of the Cusco School. The Church of the Company was originally erected in 1573, following the design of Gaspar Báez. But the religious AREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPAstructure did not resist the earth quake of 1584, being reconstructed at the end of the XVIIth Century.
It is located at the crossing of the Streets General Moran and Alvarez Thomas (facing the Plaza de Armas Main Square) and is open to the public from Mondays to Sundays from 9:00 hours to the 11:00 hours and from 15:00 hours to the 18:00 hours.

The Convento de Santa Catalina de Siena - the Convent of Santa Catherine of Siena was founded on the second of October in 1580 and has an extension of 20000 square metres and was constructed in the second half of the XVIth Century. The Convent, in which there are still nuns living in cloisters, is a walled small city with narrow streets, passages, stair cases and small squares.
The Convent, a city in miniature, closed to the public until 1970, combines the white colour of the sillar with other tonalities, like ochre, indigo and orange that go well with the otherwise austere style.
Santa Catalina de Siena AREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPAis one of the more important Colonial convents of Peru and the Americas. The history of its foundation relates the devotion of Doña Maria de Guzmán, a distinguished woman and devoted widow that, during 20 years, made petitions for the foundation of the Convent.
Doña Maria was the first nun in inhabiting the cells of "her Convent". In recognition to her formidable efforts and arrangements for the opening of Santa Catalina, the ecclesiastical authorities named her the prioress.
The grand architectonic work was especially built to accommodate cloistered nuns. Its design emulates a small city, with narrow and laberínth small streets. Surrounded by tall and thick walls of sillar ashlar, the monastery is divided into two great structures, called the "old convent" and the "new convent".
Within the "City of Sillar" there are architectonic enclosures of diverse styles and a valuable cultural legacy. Visitors enjoy its spaces of great beauty like the Claustro of the Naranjos - AREQUIPA PICTURE AREQUIPAthe Cloister of Oranges, the Patio del Silencio – the Patio of Silence, the Greater Cloister, the Zocodover Plaza and the quiet streets of Córdova, Sevilla and Burgos. Also its vast Pinacoteca catches the attention, with precious paintings of the Cuazco and Quito Schools, works that allow to discover the religiosity of the time; whereas when walking by the cells, the kitchen and the laundry of the nuns, a clearer idea of its self-sacrificing existence is had one more time.
Since its foundation, Santa Catalina received both poor and rich women. Money was not an issue to be admitted in its closters; although, in Colonial times, the nuns coming from families with great fortunes and high sounding surnames occupied greater and more comfortable cells.
In its long history, the cells of the convent have been inhabited by virtuous women like the very devout woman Sor Ana de Los Angeles de Monteagudo Ponce y León (1604-1686). She was chosen Prioress in 1648 and a series of miracles are attributed to her during her life and also after her death.
The process of canonisation of Sor Ana began the same year of her death, nevertheless, this is not yet finished. Should the result be positive, she would become the first Saint ever from Arequipa.
It is located on the Santa Catalina Street 301. The schedule of visits is from Mondays to Sundays from 9:00 hours to the 16:00 hours.

The Iglesia de San Agustin – the Church of Saint Agustine, is the best architectonic expression of the Mestizo Baroque style of the XVIIth Century. Constructed with white sillar ashlar, it makes an impression by its elaborate entrance doors with heavy reliefs and audacious iconographies.
Its interior is equally sumptuous, emphasising its profusely ornamented cupola, its neo Classic altars, its main altar with fine carvings and applications in gold leaf, and several Colonial paintings the adorn the main nave.
Erected in 1575, San Agustín practically was destroyed by the strong earthquake of 1868 (only its sacristy was left standing). In the XIXth Century a reconstruction process began, in which it was tried to maintain his original lines and details in a scrupulous way.
It is located on the intersection of the Streets San Agustín and Bolivar.

The Iglesia de San Francisco – the Church of Saint Francis, of Mestizo style with Mudejar influences, which construction was encharged to Gaspar Báez in 1569. Its original design included a single vaulted nave and a sanctuary with a cupola.
After the 1687 earthquake the temple was remodelled and enlarged, being one of the greater new features the use of the sillar ashlar stone. Several centuries later, in 1960 to be more exact, San Francisco was once more rebuilt, trying to recover its original design. Inside this church of sillar and bricks, the Baroque pulpit of shortened relief, its splendid altar of wrought silver and its beautiful stone choir with Baroque characteristics stand out. Its Colonial cloisters are part of a complex of the Franciscan order, which is formed by a convent, the smaller temple of the Third Order and the Square of San Francisco. At the moment it is the seat of an artisan centre.
Within the seat the library is worth a visit, an enclosure of knowledge that holds more than 20 thousand volumes, and an interesting pinacoteca.
It is located on the first block of the Zela Street. The Church can be visited from Mondays to Saturdays from 7:00 hours to the 9:00 hours and from 17:00 hours to the 20:00 hours. The Convent is open to the public from Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 hours to the 12:30 hours and from 15:00 hours to the 17:00 hours.

The Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo – the Church and Convent of Saint Dominic, the Dominican order was the first in arriving to Arequipa; therefore, its temple is one of the oldest, although the strong earth quakes of 1582 and 1604 would finish seriously affecting its structures. The situation would be repeated in 1958 and 1960, when the only things that were left standing were its ornamented lateral entrance - the oldest of the city and its bell tower. Both were recovered.
The façade of Santo Domingo emphasises elaborate stone carvings of vines and roses, cantuta flowers and angels with trumpets. In the interior there are outstanding religious paintings and fine images of saints and virgins.
It is located at the crossing of the Streets Santo Domingo and Rivero. It receives the public from Mondays to Saturdays from 7:00 hours to the 12:00 hours, and from 15:00 hours to the 19:30 hours. Sundays it opens its doors at 5:45 hours until the 13:00 hours and from 18:30 hours to the 19:45 hours

The Convento e Iglesia de La Merced – the Convent and Church of Mercy, this architectonic complex began to be constructed in 1548, although the works of the temple would conclude only in 1607. Erected with white sillar ashlar stone of volcanic origin – a typically Arequipa characteristic - this "House of God" stands out by its superb lateral door entrance, with an image of the Virgen de La Merced – the Virgin of Mercy - carved in volcanic stone.
In the interior an altarpiece of Churrigueresque style is just brilliant. Equally interesting is its capitular hall with two bodies, one of them shows a vault split in four and the other makes an impact by its Gothic style of the XVIIth Century.
Within the religious complex there are valuable piantings - several inspired by the Virgin of Mercy and an admirable Colonial library, authentic delight for the lovers of old books. Like the other temples of the city, the Virgen de La Merced was damaged by earthquakes, mainly with the ones of 1958 and 1960. A tedious work of restoration gave it back its former splendour.
It is located at the intersection of the La Merced and Tristán Streets.

The Convento La Recoleta Convent, its simple cloisters and areas present diverse architectonic styles, from the Romanesque one to the neo Gothic one, a peculiarity that is explained by the different processes of reconstruction made on this Franciscan jewel. At the present time, its rooms and four cloisters hold the collections of the Archaeological and Anthropological Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Religious Arts Museum; this last with a very nice collection of Colonial paintings of the Cusco and Arequipa Schools. Another point of interest is its library specialised in religious subjects, with more than 20 thousand volumes, among them incunables from the XVth Century. The convent was founded in 1648, but its doors were opened to the public only in 1978.
It is located on the Jirón Recoleta 117 and can be visited from Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 hours to the 12:00 hours and from 15:00 hours to the 17:00 hours.


The Casa de Moral Mansion, located between the Moral and Bolivar Streets, it was constructed in the XVIIIth Century. It owes its name to a over hundred years old Mulberry (Mora in Spanish) tree that still stands in its patio inner court yard. The façade of the Mansion shows motives from the Nasca Culture.
It is one of the most representative civil constructions in the Arequipa style Baroque. Its façade presents several figures worked in white sillar ashlsr stone of volcanic origin, emphasising the heads of pumas with serpents in its heraldic mouths and several figures (crowns, shields, angels and castles). The ornamental exuberance extends into its interior of Spanish peninsular airs, where the period furniture becomes the pillar of the luxurious decoration, whereas the remarkable carvings that adorn the doors and windows of the main rooms, are an inspired complement.
A singular detail is the maps of America, drawn in the XVI Century, which are exhibited in one of its rooms.

The Casa de Tristán del Pozo Mansion is located in the San Francisco Street an was constructed in 1738. It has a splendid facade and one massive door decorated with large iron nails and door knockers. In the interior, the ample and extensive patios interior court yards are decorated with stone carvings, guarded by gargoyles with feline characteristics. La Casa de Tristán del Pozo Mansion is a proverbial sample of the Colonial constructions of the City and one of the maximum expressions of the novo Hispanic civil architecture of Arequipa.
Of Mestizo Baroque style, in its delicate façade monogrammes, rosettes and flowers carved in sillar can be observed. Its interior surprises by its precious vaulted ceilings and its two elegant patio interior court yards.
The name of the mansion remembers one of its first owners, the General Domingo Carlos Tristán del Pozol; but the house is also well-known as the Casa Rickets mansion or the Casa Ugarteche Mansion, names of subsequent owners of this fine mansion.
At the moment the property belongs to a well-known banking organisation, being host to a Numismatic museum and an Art Gallery. Those interested will be able to visit it from Mondays through Fridays from 9:15 hours to the 12:45 hours and from 16:00 hours to the 18:00 hours. Saturdays it is open between 9:30 hours to the 12:30 hours.

The Palacio Goyeneche Palace a stately building located in the La Merced Street, it was reconstructed at the end of the XVIIIth Century. Its interior court yard patios and elaborate wrought iron railings represent the strong will of the people from Arequipa.
This showy large mansion of two floors has an attractive façade with false Doric square columns and flower ornaments and a large balcony with forged iron railings. When entering, one is struck by its elegant vaulted rooms; with doors and windows in Colonial style.
Another architectonic detail worthy to point out is its staircase of white sillar ashlar stone in the form of a snail shell that leads to the superior plant (where there are projecting balconies). Also, in the centre of its main interior court yard patio there is a singular fountain made in black stone.
The history of the Goyeneche palace goes back to the middle of the XVIth Century, when Martín de Almazán ordered the construction of a house. The house of one floor did not resist the earthquakes of 1582 and 1600, with another building being built on the same land property of Andrés Herrera y Castilla. The work was executed by Gaspar Báez. The house was extended in 1734, but the 1782 earthquake would damage it seriously; then, its new owner, Juan Crisóstomo de Goyeneche, ordered the necessary restorations.
Later, in 1840, the architect Lucas Poblete would make a series of modifications that would give to the palace the aspect that it maintains until now.
In present times, the centennial large house is now property of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru and in its interior brilliant paintings of the Cusco School and fine sculptures of the Granada School are on display.
The Palacio Goyeneche Palace can be visited from Mondays through Fridays from 9:15 hours to the 15:00 hours.

The Casona Irriberry Mansion has the thickest walls of all Arequipa and on the pilasters of its façade the initials of the Jesuita Order can be seen. The year of the start up of its construction is not known, but we know that the works concluded in 1793.
With elegant vaulted rooms and ample interior court yard patios, the large mansion is the property of the Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa - the National University of Saint Augustine in Arequipa (UNSA), and along with the Casa Arróspide Mansion - another magnificent Colonial building, it makes up the Centro Cultural Chávez de La Rosa Cultural Centre, where permanent samples of archaeology and regional history are exhibited.
In addition temporary exhibitions of art are made.
It is located at the corner of the streets Santa Catalina and San Agustín Streets.

The Casa Arróspide Mansion is called the "Talking Mansion" by the amount of inscriptions that exist on its walls. In one of those epigraphs one can read that the Mansion was finished in 1743.
It is the property of the National University of San Agustín of Arequipa, and is part – together with the Casona Irriberry Mansion - of the Centro Cultural Chávez de La Rosa Cultural Centre. Its Colonial rooms have been prepared for diverse samples of art, including the presentation of videos.


The Museo Arqueológico José María Morante Archeological Museum Archaeological Museum Jose Maria Morante of the National University of San Agustín, exhibits a valuable collection of stone objects, pre-Hispanic bone and ceramic remains, found in the archaeological investigations supported by this house of studies. In addition, the sample includes gold and silver pieces of the Colonial and Republican eras.
It is located on the second floor of the Pavilión de la Cultura of the University campus on Avenida Independencia without number.
It s open to the public from Mondays through Fridays from 8:15 hours to the 16:15 hours.

The Museo de Arqueología de la Universidad Católica de Santa Maria – the Santa María Catholic University Archeological Museum, which rooms are filled with more than a thousand pre Hispanic pieces of the local cultures and other Andean people like the Nasca, Tiahuanaco, Wari, Churajón, Acarí, Aruni and the Incas. There are also Colonial objects to be observed. Its ample collection includes pottery, textiles, mummy bundles, lithic objects and objects of wood and metal. Some of the pieces date from the yaer 12000 BC.
It is located on the Cruz Verde Street in the Colonial Centre of Arequipa.

The Museo Santuarios Andinos Andean Sanctuaries Museum of the Catholic University of Santa Maria has as its exclusive attraction in the Lady of the Ampato, the best preserved pre Hispanic mummy in the world. Kindly known by the people asJuanita, the mummy was in September of 1995 on the summit of the Ampato Volcano at 6288 metres above sea lebvel by the investigators Johan Reinhard and Jose Antonio Chávez, and the mountain climber Miguel Zárate.
Being surrounded, as it was, by valuable offerings (ceramics and gold and silver pieces), the investigators concluded that Juanita - a girl of 12 to 14 years old would have been sacrificed to honour the snow white Ampato, considered a sacred mountain or Apu, according to the cosmovision of the old Peruvians.
The studies made show that the young girl was sacrificed approximately in 1466, when the Inca Tupac Yupanqui governed. It is also thought that she would have been a so called Palla, that is to say, a woman dedicated to the service of the Sun and the Inca.
Before the sacrifice, the Lady of Ampato was fed with a special diet of grasses and cocaine leaf, to free her from the death pains; and, on the day of the ceremony, they wrapped her with fine articles of clothing and showy hairdos with feathers. After being studied and exhibited in diverse places around the world; Juanita was transferred to the museum Andean Sanctuaries, inaugurated on the 26 of March of 1997, to show the world the conclusions of the Project Andean Sanctuaries of the Andean South, led by the anthropologist Reinhard and the archaeologist Chávez. It is located on the La Merced street 110 in the Colonial Centre of Arequipa. It is open to the public from Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 hours to the 18:00 hours; and Sundays from 9:00 hours to the 15:00 hours.

The Museo Histórico Municipal Guillermo Zegarra Meneses Municipal History Museum shows a diversity of objects of the Battle of Dos de Mayo - Second of May of 1866 (the last Spanish attempt to recover its old South American Colonies) and of the revolution of Arequipa, an ill-fated stage in the history of the "White City", which took place between June of 1857 and March of 1858.
It is located at the Plaza San Francisco Square 407.


The Mirador de Yanahuara View Point is a complex of beautiful arches of white sillar ashlar volcanic stone constructed in the XIXth Century. By its excellent location it is a place you must visit, to get a bird point’s view of the urban geography of Arequipa and to obtain superb photographies of the Misti Volcano, the giant that guards the City.
The view point is next to the Main Square of Yanahuara and the Church of San Juan, a temple of Baroque façade and austere interior, erected in 1750.
Located to 2 kilometres from the Colonial Centre of Arequipa, Yanahuara is a showy district of narrow streets, large houses of ample orchards and flavourful so called picanterías (restaurants of typical food).

Cayma, called the "Balcony of Arequipa" because it offers excellent views of the City and its rural landscape surroundings. This district is famous for its numerous so called “Picanterías”, typical restaurants that adorn their tables with the best plates of the local gastronomy. In the Main Square of Cayma the beautiful Colonial Church of San Miguel Arcángel, constructed in 1730 must be visited. Next to the temple you will find the Casa Cural Mansion and the Dining Room of Bolivar, where the Liberator of America had lunch in 1825.
It is located barely three kilometres from the City Centre of Arequipa.

Sabandía Located at 9 kilometres from the City, it is famous for its Colonial mill that dates from the XVIIth Century, where formerly the grains were ground that soon were distributed in all the South of Peru. In this place, of beautiful countryside, is the House of the Founder of Arequipa, Manuel Garci de Carbajal. By its rustic airs, its showy pre-Hispanic agricultural terraces, its novo Hispanic and ten sided Republican large mansions, and the imposing presence of the volcanos Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu; Sabandía becomes an exquisite corner, with architectonic jewels of great historical importance, like: