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Published: April 15th 2011
Tuesday 12 April & Thursday 14 & Friday 15 April– Arequipa
After our 1st overnight bus, which was pretty comfy (it was referred to as a semi-cama bus which meant seats semi-reclined), and after a shower, settling into the los Andes Bed & Breakfast, we went on a city orientation walking tour. We went to the local markets which were massive. We started by ordering a fresh fruit juice of pineapple, banana, orange and mango. We got about 750 mls for 6 Soles. The lady who made it was really lovely.
We saw in the markets all the meats, hardware, clothing etc. One of the really strange thing at these markets was the carcases of Llama foetuses hanging up. The Shama (medicine men) used them in their ceremonies. They looked pretty gross ... and pretty sad. Oh well, different cultures have their own ideas of spiritual beliefs and powers, we need to respect.
We then walked around the Plaza de Armas, and typically Spanish designed, the Square was lined with the Cathedral, Government buildings, restaurants and shops. This one also had many tour companies, with employees spruiking for our business for city tours etc. The garden part of
the Square had hundreds of pigeons who were being encouraged to stay as several people were selling seeds to the tourists. There is a lane-way behind the Cathedral which looked like an Italian street full of cafes and chairs shaded by umbrellas.
The Main Square, the Cathedral and Town Hall, with beautiful architecture and surrounded by arches of ashlar frequented by tourists. The facade of the cathedral, with neoclassical architectural style with French influences, occupies one side of the Main Square of Arequipa and shows three covers, plus two big bronze medals.
Other important constructions are those made with religious influence. Those include the Santa Catalina Monastery (the most important religious monument of Peru), which we spent 2 hours visiting. It was opened to the public in 1970 after being inaccessible o9ther than to the nuns, for 391 years. It is a city within a city. There are many streets and they have displayed religious statues, paintings etc throughout the buildings. Many of the buildings are :”cells” where the nuns lived, which included a kitchen, bedroom and dinning/lounge area. All these cells are still set up as the nuns used them.
The other significant buildings in the
CBD are Company Church and its cloisters, founded by Jesuits on the 17th century (which sometimes hosts different cultural and fashion events), the Church and Convent of La "Merced", the Colonial Architectural "San Francisco" (16th Century), the Franciscan Convent "La Recoleta".
Arequipa (Spanish pronunciation: are’kipa) is the capital city of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. With a population of 909,000 it is the second most populous city of the country. Arequipa lies in the Andes mountains, at an altitude of 2,335 meters (7,661 feet) above sea level; the former snow-capped volcano El Misti overlooks the city. We can also see Pichu Pichu and further away, not seen from the town, Chachani.
The city has many colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock, from which it gets the nickname La Ciudad Blanca ("The White City"). Reportedly, it first acquired this nickname in the colonial era, because most of its inhabitants were Creole of Ilerian descent. The historic centre of Arequipa was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, in recognition of its architecture and historic integrity.
Soon after its founding, the city became a major commercial hub of southern Peru, accumulating commercial and
administrative functions. In times of the Viceroyalty of Peru it was an important economic hub in southern Peru. It played a significant role in the history of the Republic of Peru, declaring itself "Capital of the Republic" during the government of Montero. Arequipa has also been home of many of the outstanding intellectual and political figures, as well as religious icons, in the country. In recent decades it has become an important industrial and commercial center in Peru, now being the second most industrialized city in Perú.
In the town there are lots of wonderful restaurants, a number of which we sampled. Starbucks Cafe, and the usual take-away outlets were also found in the city centre. Many of the buildings include a Patio, with entrance that have big, heavy, wooden doors at their entrance. The city is very clean. This is my favourite city so far. It is safe as well. The Patios often have red geraniums in pots around the edges, sometimes a fountain, and sometimes a feature wall may be painted an ochre colour. Sometimes they have religious statues. Wonderful.
We had a great time in Araquipa. After our Coco Canyon trip, we came back to
stay for another night (on 14 April and the day of 15th). The weather here at the moment is about 20 degrees during the day, clear skies, with cool nights needing coats. The hotel we were is was really large with geat beds but showers were a bit ‘on-and-off’. They are expanding the hotel to include a bar and restaurant. It has a rooftop sitting area and many lounges and TV rooms so we all had a chance to sit about and chat or use the free Wi-Fi. I would recommend this hotel. It is also very close to the Central Plaza, which also had a well stocked supermarket. For the 1st time, we made our own breakfast and lunch, which was a great change.
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