Arequipa's music, gastronomy, dances, literature and architecture are unique in the world. Learn more about all of them.
The White City, as Arequipa is known for its ashlar stone constructions, was born at the foot of a volcano: the Misti. Although it was founded by Francisco Pizarro on August 15 in 1540 its history dates back to pre-Hispanic times. Today, it is the second most populated city in the country and has a unique architecture that has allowed its Historic Center to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In this text, you will learn more about the city, its history and traditions.
A GASTRONOMY THAT HAS BECOME PART OF THE NATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE
In 2015, the Ministry of Culture declared Arequipa's picanteria as National Cultural Heritage, for being a space of interaction between citizens of different social classes, and where the preparation of typical food and beverages of this region stands out. Among the most outstanding dishes are the Rocoto relleno (stuffed red pepper), Solterito (Chopped salad) Adobo, Escribano, Chupe de camarones (Shrimp soup), among many others.
This festivity takes place between the end of February and the beginning of March. The celebration includes floats, water balloons, gastronomic fairs, parades and typical dances. The most outstanding of them is the dance that bears the name of the festival: the Arequipa carnival. It is a courtship dance that is mainly danced by young singles looking for a partner.
THE ASHLAR, MUCH MORE THAN JUST A STONE
This is a stone of volcanic origin of intense white color that, when used as a construction material, gives a special shine to the building. The numerous churches, monuments and mansions in Arequipa that use this special stone are the reason why Arequipa is known today as the White City. Its use dates back to pre-Inca times, as even the Wari settlements in the area already used ashlar for their constructions.
YARAVÍ, POETRY OF THE ANDES
Music and literature, Spanish and Andean at the same time. Yaraví is both a musical and literary genre, as it fuses elements of the Inca harawi -typical musicof the Tahuantinsuyo - and Spanish troubadour poetry that was born in medieval times. The Arequipa poet and precursor of the Independence, Mariano Melgar, was the one who popularized this genre, thanks to his exceptional literary production.
THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE CHAPI VALLEY
Every May 1, the first day of the month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Arequipa faithful make a pilgrimage to the Chapi valley, in the district of Polobaya, 6 km from the city of Arequipa. The image of the Virgin is carried on a platform to her main sanctuary, where it is received with fireworks and a mass in her honor. The image is believed to be miraculous, as it has survived two major earthquakes that destroyed the chapel that guarded it: one in 1868 and the other in 2001.