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Arequipa Travel Guide

Arequipa History

The modern city of Arequipa was founded on 15 August 1540, by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, an emissary of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

Arequipa was named "The White City" (La ciudad Blanca). This led Arequipa to develop a large Peruvian Mestizo population as its demographics changed and grew over the centuries.

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.

Arequipa is influenced by both Andalusian and Spanish Colonial ideas and architecture, such as the popular Santa Catalina Monastery, the Goyeneche Palace and the Casa del Moral. The city of Arequipa has several valuable archaeological and touristy resources including the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world and an ideal spot for observing the magnificent Andean Condor.


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