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Published: April 5th 2008
the Cathedral at night
Cathedral at the Plaza de Armas. The panoramic is of the same Cathedral, but I can't put any comments with the panoramic for some reason.
Locals sometimes say ´when the moon separated from the earth, it forgot to take Arequipa.´
This beautiful city has grand colonial buildings, built from a light-coloured volcanic rock called sillar that is simply stunning. The modern city of Arequipa was founded on 15 August 1540, by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, an emissary of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Today, Arequipa is the 2nd largest city in Peru with a population of approximately 750,000.
Throughout history Arequipa remained relatively isolated during colonial and early republican times, but that changed in 1870 when a Southern railroad to the coastal port of Mollendo was inaugurated, opening trade via the Pacific Ocean. The building and expansion of more roads in the 1930s also led to a direct connection with the Pan-American Highway, strengthening Arequipa's links to the rest of the Americas. Since then, the city has remained the center of commerce between Lima and all of Southern Peru.
The city of Arequipa served as a bastion of nationalism during Peru's struggle for independence from Spain in the early 19th century. Later, it served as a rallying point during the War of the Pacific (1879 - 1883) with Chile.
The city has 2
principal universities (the Universidad Nacional de San Agustín de Arequipa, the local state university (founded 1828), and the Universidad Católica de Santa María (founded in 1961)), a private institution.
Perhaps as a result of the high student population, Arequipa has a booming nightlife and live music scene. All of this is within 2 blocks of where I´m staying at the Hostal Reyna, a somewhat quiet place with excellent views of the monestary and the mountains from right outside my rooftop room.
The Plaza de Armas and the Monasterio Santa Catalina are wonderful places to visit (and very photogenic). Additionally, the local restaurants are very stylish yet quite inexpensive. All in all, I really like this place.
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