Orientation & Geography

South America, Peru, Arequipa

Arequipa (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾeˈkipa]) is the capital city of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. With a population of 904,931 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. 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 Iberian 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. It has several industrial parks, as the city has close trade ties with Chile, Bolivia and Brazil; it also has links with cities connected by the Southern Railway and with the port of Matarani.