Arequipa is the second most important city of Peru. It is on the south of the country on a fertile valley and on the shade of the Misti Volcano, which is the emblem of the city. Arequipa was founded in 1540 and is a magnificent work of art. It has one the most beautiful main squares of the country and many beautiful monuments of baroque, neo-classic and renaissance styles.
Arequipa is known as the “Cuidad Blanca” (White city), due to the color of the volcanic rock sillar, used in the construction of churches and colonial houses. The Cathedral is on the Main Square and has two magnificent towers. In the nearby streets, is the Santa Catalina Monastery, a wonderful work of art in convent construction. This cloister housed many young female nobles and was kept closed for more than 400 years until 1970 when it was opened to visitors.
The most outstanding religious complexes are La Compañia and San Francisco. The first was the home of the Jesuits in the 17th Century. San Francisco has a church, a convent, a small temple and a handicraft fair called Fundo El Fierro. In the outskirts of the city is the Mansion del Fundador (a colonial house), and also La Campiña. Other very important places are the Colca and the Cotahuasi Canyons, and the Toro Muerto petroglyphs.
The city also has several museums, among which is the one of the Juanita mummy, an Inca virgin discovered in 1995. Recently UNESCO declared the city as Mankind’s Historical Monument. Arequipa is a clear blue-sky city where many poets and important political people have been born.