Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa

800px-arequipa_centre

Arequipa (Hugo Zea/Wikimedia, CC0 1.0).

Province of Arequipa
S16 23 54.071 W71 32 12.397
Date of Inscription: 2000
Criteria: (i)(iv)
Property : 166.52 ha
Buffer zone: 165.47 ha
Ref: 1016
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The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic sillar rock, represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons. This combination of influences is illustrated by the city’s robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades.

The historical centre of Arequipa, located in the Province of Arequipa at the foot of three snow-covered volcanoes, represents the integrated response of native hands and building techniques and characteristics with European designs, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and native masons. This combination of influences, and the response to an unstable ground due to earthquakes, is illustrated by robust walls, archways, porticos, vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and a strong indigenous influence in the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades.

With its buildings built mostly in white or pink volcanic rock (sillar), the historical centre of Arequipa has a distinct character resulting from natural causes and historical context. The pre-existent indigenous populations, the Spanish conquest and the evangelization, the spectacular natural setting and the frequent earthquakes, are all main factors in the definition of Arequipa’s identity. The city is the result of its people’s endurance against natural processes and the capacity of cultures to overcome crises. Arequipa was founded in 1540 in a valley that had been intensively farmed by pre-Hispanic communities. The layout of an indigenous hamlet has survived close to the Historical Centre in the district of San Lázaro. The World Heritage site consists of 49 original blocks of the Spanish layout. In addition there are 24 blocks from the colonial period and the 19th century.

Major earthquakes have marked the key moments of change in the development of Arequipa architecture. It is thus possible to identify five periods of development: foundation as a village (1540-82), Baroque splendour (1582-1784), introduction of Rococo and neoclassicism (1784-1868), modern empiricism and neoclassical fashion (1868-1960), and contemporary design. The core of the historic town is the Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) with its archways, the municipality, and the cathedral. At one corner of the plaza there are the church and cloisters of La Compañia, the most representative ensemble of the Baroque mestizo period at the end of the 18th century.

The Monasterio de Santa Catalina is a spectacular religious citadel, integrating architectural styles from the 16th to 19th centuries. The complex of San Francisco includes a small square, the main church, the convent, and the cloisters of the third order. The chapels and convents of Santo Domingo date from the 16th to 18th centuries: San Agustín, La Merced and the church of Santa Maria; Santa Teresa and Santa Rosa; Puente Real (now Puente Bolognesi) and Puente Grau are also built from sillar.

The merit of Arequipa architecture is not limited to the grandeur of its religious monuments. It is also in the profusion of dignified casonas, characteristic well-proportioned vernacular houses; the centre contains some 500 casonas. The urban space penetrates the interior of the city blocks through large doorways and hallways into the courtyards, where the carvings of the facades are reproduced, thus accentuating spatial continuity. Doorways and windows are flanked with pillars and crowned with protruding pediments that blend with the large walls. The ornamental economy of the porches harmonizes with the shape of the vaults, the projecting cornices and the carved corbels. Narrow window openings allow light to enter the semi-circular arches or vaulted roof spaces. Together with the monumental ensembles, streets, and squares the casonas ensure the harmony and integrity of the townscape and give the city exceptional urban value.

The historical centre of Arequipa is therefore characterized by its originality and presence, respect for tradition, influence in the settlement region, privileged geography, foundational layout, its urban scheme and its creation, its materials, construction and decoration systems, and the rich social and cultural mixture.

Criterion (i): The ornamented architecture in the historical centre of Arequipa represents a masterpiece of the creative integration of European and native characteristics, crucial for the cultural expression of the entire region.

Criterion (iv): The historical centre of Arequipa is an outstanding example of a colonial settlement, challenged by the natural conditions, the indigenous influences, the process of conquest and evangelization, as well as the spectacular nature of its setting.

Suggested Bases:

Arequipa is a city in the Southern Coastal region of Peru just below the edge of the Altiplano, at 2,380 m (7,810 ft) above sea level and surrounded by three impressive volcanoes. It’s Peru’s second most important city (after Lima), and the second most popular among tourists (after Cusco). The city is part of the so-called “Southern Peru Tourist Corridor”, together with Nazca, Puno and Cusco. In contrast to these other cities, Arequipa is an example of the Spanish and mestizo culture developed in Peru. There are no Inca artifacts or ruins in the city. In the winter it is warmer than in the summer. It is nicknamed the ‘white city’ (la ciudad blanca, in Spanish), because many of the buildings in the area are built of sillar, a white stone. This rock was quarried from the many volcanoes that surround the city, including the towering El Misti. Ask for local help to identify Misti, Chachani and PichuPichu, the three volcanoes surrounding the city [read more].

Mollendo is a town bordering the Pacific Ocean in southern Peru. It is located in the Arequipa Region and is the capital of both the Islay Province and the Mollendo District. Mollendo was the main port in the Peruvian southern coast until Matarani was developed about 50 years ago; the port of Mollendo only serves fishermen for the local economy currently and all the commercial shipping is done through Matarani 12 kilometers north; the old port is in ruins. From about 1830 to 1880 it was important in the Guano trade. The railroad used to run a passenger train daily, but a good highway connects Mollendo to the Panamerican Highway now and the train now only runs the summer express that goes down from Arequipa on Saturday and returns on Sunday; the beach is the main attraction, even though it is visited by the Humboldt Current that brings cold water from Antarctica. In the summer months, which run from December to April, the population more than doubles as people from the largest city in the region Arequipa use Mollendo and its beaches as a vacation spot, especially on weekends [read more].

Juliaca is a city in the Peruvian Altiplano. Lampa, 35 km northwest of Juliaca on Carr Lampa-Juliaca, has an impressive colonial church and catacombs with an exact replica of “La Pieta” of Michelangelo, and South American camelids [read more].

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