Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru. It was the first city where I spent some “real” time, since I arrived in Peru.

Arequipa

Wilmar, who guided me on this part of the trip, waited for me at the airport. He brought me to my hotel in Arequipa. That was the Hotel San Agustin Posada del Monasterio. It’s conveniently located in the heart of this city. I  dropped my bags in the room, started charging my batteries for the cameras, and went to visit Arequipa!

Lima is considered a dangerous city. Arequipa has a way better reputation. During my visit Arequipa seemed to a safer city. It’s still Peru, and it’s still South America, so I take the regular precautions.When you visit Arequipa, you will not flash cash or valuables. I never felt in danger or harassed.

Visit Arequipa

Arequipa

Plaza de Armas

Arequipa is built in the same way so many towns and cities in Peru are. The Spanish had a center square, called Plaza de Armas, where the people would gather, with their weapons (armas) when danger was expected. The main church of the town can be found on that same square. A fountain stands in the center of the square. When you visit Arequipa, you’ll see it’s not different here. Especially at the end of the day, this place is crowded. Tourists taking their pictures, couples on their date, families reuniting after work. It’s the hub of the social life in Arequipa.

Plaza de Armas in Arequipa, Peru

Plaza de Armas in Arequipa, Peru

South side of the Plaza de Armas

South side of the Plaza de Armas

Cathedral, Basilica

The whole north side of the Plaza de Armas is occupied by the Cathedral of Arequipa. The history of this building starts shortly after the Spaniards make it here, and reads from then on as: an earthquake happens, the church gets damaged or destroyed, and again rebuild, and a new earthquake starts. The most recent earthquake, that damaged one of the towers, happened in 2001.

Visit Arequipa, and the Cathedral

The cathedral – basilic in Arequipa, Peru

Cathedral of Arequipa, Peru

Cathedral of Arequipa, Peru

A Belgian Organ

Being a Belgian, I’m always extra curious when I see influences that link back to my roots. It was a surprise to find that the organ in the Cathedral of Arequipa has Belgian roots. The organ was built by the famous organ builder Loret. Francois Bernard Loret made no less than 300 organs. Most of his instruments can be found in the low countries.

The scienistst Don Mariano Eduardo de Rivero and Ustáriz, who came from Arequipa, was appointed to the position of Consul of Peru in Belgium in 1850.  (some sources say 1851). He seems to have met Loret in 1852, and that was the start of the history to get an organ from Belgium in Arequipa.

I’ve been looking for further details in the church and later online. Not many information found so far. I will update here, or make a separate article if I get lucky. If you know more about this, please use the comments section below.

Organ in the Basilica Cathedral in Arequipa. The organ was donated by Belgium in 1870

Organ in the Basilica Cathedral in Arequipa. The organ was donated by Belgium in 1870

Church of the Company

When you walk to the South east corner of the Plaza des Armas, and you take the Santa Domingo street, you’ll immediately see on your left a church with a stunning amount of detail in the outside decoration. This is the Church of the Company (La Compañía). You cannot visit Arequipa and not take the time to see this church.

Church of the Company - La Compañía - Arequipa, Peru

Church of the Company – La Compañía – Arequipa, Peru

Monastero Di Santa Catalina

North of the Plaza de Armas is the Monastry of Saint Catherine (Monastero Di Santa Catalina). Walk up in thein the Santa Catalina street: it’s on the left. I visited it after I returned from my trip in the mountains. You can see my images and my review of the Monastero Di Santa Catalina here. The convent is still in use. The parts you can visit are the historical parts. The nuns live in a sperate part of the convent.

Monastero Di Santa Catalina

Monastero Di Santa Catalina

Paseo de la Catedral

There’s a small street behind the cathedral. Very popular among tourists and young hipsters in Arequipa. Coffee bars, restaurants, and terraces.

view on the pedestrian walkway behind the cathedral

view on the pedestrian walkway behind the cathedral

Outside the historical center

Once you leave the historical center when you visit Arequipa, you’ll find that not all areas in this city are as safe or as pretty. Take a taxi (pre-ordered!) to discover these areas.

 

 

 

Visit Arequipa - Peru

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