Arequipa, Peru: View of the Cathedral main church at the morning
Arequipa, Peru: View of the Cathedral main church at the morning

Arequipa “The White City”

When you travel to Perú, there are so many places that are worth visiting, so we understand if choosing and coming to a decision might become of an issue. We got you, that is why one stop that is definitely worth visiting is Arequipa, also known as the White City

Now, you may be wondering why Arequipa is known as the White City. For us to really understand, and grasp an idea of why this beautiful Peruvian city is known as the White City of Peru, it is crucial for us to stop and go back in time. This historic city, beautiful to the eye was built with a volcanic origin stone called ashlar. You will be able to see many buildings with this type of stone, and the iconic Cathedral is no exception The beauty behind this volcanic stone is that it takes on a beautiful white hue. This happens due to the accumulation over time that has eroded to the stone and created multiple layers of ash from previous volcanic eruptions. As time passed, the collected ash set and turned into this beautiful white tone.

Nowadays, the sillar makes the city take on beautiful shades when the sunrays pass through in the afternoon. The beautiful sunsets and sunrises make it possible for locals and tourists to witness a wonderful work of art; the elegant contrast of the sun with the carved rock and its wonderful detailed decorations.

So we told you about its architecture and its beautiful natural design, now it is time to tell you about Arequipa´s historical value. Arequipa is a historic city of Peru from the colonial period that along with the unique characteristics of its construction, has been declared a World Heritage Site. Not only do these constructions and building serve as living proof of the power of nature and humans in our society, but it reminds us about the true value of our Earth, our culture and our people.

Furthermore, one can also experience the beautiful culinary traditions that keep the city alive and vivid.  Arequipa is known for its picanterias (typical food restaurants or hideouts), which are gastronomic establishments that use a great deal of chili, which gives a spicy flavor to all their meals. But they are not necessarily spicy, sometimes they are often considered places to gather and eat a simple yet nutritious meal. As far as illustrious personalities are concerned, the White City is not far behind with a world-class character; that being said, the famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa who comes from this city, was awarded with a   literature Nobel prize, putting the city´s name up high in the map

Now, it is time to learn more about its attractions. As you might have already guessed it, without a doubt, the White City is set to surprise us also with its wide offer of attractions. When touring its historic center, you can visit the imposing White Cathedral of Arequipa, whose history began in the seventeenth century; an architectural work with neo-Renaissance style. And the White Cathedral is living evidence of the power of religion in the city and the strength of faith of its cititzens, as it has withstood several natural disasters and fires, yet has remained as beautiful as ever. Once inside the Cathedral, it is impossible not to mention the renowned Plaza de Armas, which is also one of the highlights of Arequipa with its great historical value. The Plaza de Armas stands out for being surrounded by the Cathedral and three large portals: The Portal de la Municipalidad, the Portal de las Delicias and the Portal de las Flores or Regocijo. While on the square you can highlight the sculpture of a curious character called Tuturutu, which the story tells was responsible for communicating new news to the city.

Continuing the tour of Arequipa, visitors should visit the Monastery of Santa Catalina, which is part of the historic center of the White City. This building is another architectural jewel of Arequipa. The monastery is unique with its colorful and winding alleys. And along with these colors, there are more than 300 religious paintings that reflect the combination of Spanish and Latin American art. Among so many attractions full of history, the way to close the tour in this beautiful White City you can go a little away from the center to the colonial district of Yanahuara and walk through its cobblestone streets. Once you have walked through these quiet streets, you can have the best view of Arequipa from the viewpoint of Yanahuara; at this place, you can see not only the city but also the three surrounding volcanoes Misti, Chachani, and Pikchu Pikchu. Arequipa, the White City, is just one of the stops to make on a Peru 360° Tour tailored by Voyagers Travel company.

Andre Robles
Andre Robles

Is an expert in everything South America, his passion for the region and exploring off the beaten path makes his travel writing both useful and interesting. He has written for several mainstream publications and you can read his guides on Ecuador, Peru, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon. Andre is also an accomplished photographer and has been recognized as one of the best wildlife photographers in the region, his photos have been featured in National Geographic and other journals. As a travel agent Andre specializes in curating unique experiences, crafting tailor made itineraries and helping visitors make the best of their vacation, always putting the experience first

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