Sister City Relationship Established 1962 - Charlotte's First Sister City
Arequipa is located in Peru's southwest region at 7,660 ft above sea level. It has 762,000 residents and the main language is Spanish with a few dialects from the surrounding areas. Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and the most important of the Andean region. It is know as the La Ciudad Blanca (The White City) because of its many beautiful buildings made of silar (volcanic stone) and ashlar (petrified volcanic ash), both of which come from the nearby Chachani volcano.
Arequipa is nestled between the sea and the mountains in the foothills of three volcanoes -- Chachani, Pichu Pichu and Misti. The city has a mild climate where the sun shines most of the year.
The population of the region reflects Arequipa's rich heritage with its mixture of white, mestizo and aboriginal peoples. The economy is predominantly tourist-related because of the geographical diversity and historical importance of the region. Arequipa also functions as a critical center for communications, economic growth and cultural and political leadership in Perú. Other products of the region include textiles, agrarian goods and metallurgical products. Arequipa has been working progressively to create international markets for these goods.
Arequipa's history dates back as far as 5000-6000 BC, as recorded in cave paintings and some 400 archaeological monuments. Conquered by the Incas in the 15th century, Arequipa served as an important supplier of agrarian products to the Inca Empire. In 1537, the first group of Spanish conquerors came to Arequipa and founded the "Villa Hermosa de Arequipa" in the old district of San Lazaro.
Arequipa remained relatively isolated from colonial times until 1870, when the rail system arrived to create a link with the other cities of the coast and the highlands. Arequipa served as a bastion of Perú's independence in the early 19th century and has extended that tradition into the 20th and 21st centuries as Arequipanians continue to play major roles in the country's political and cultural circles.
Things to Do and Sights to See:
Considering that Arequipa is located quite close to Peru's Incan trails and is the country's second largest city, it is relatively easy to reach. From Lima, you can get to Arequipa by bus or plane. While the plane ride is only 45 minutes, the $15 bus ride takes about 16 hours. A flight from Cuzco to Arequipa also lasts about 45 minutes; however, taking the bus from Cuzco results in a 12 hour trip.
The Colca Canyon: At over 60 miles long, the Colca Canyon offers stunning views for visitors and residents of Arequipa. The canyon is located in Peru's most volcanically active region and is twice as deep as Arizona's Grand Canyon. The nearby Cotahausi Canyon is believed to be the deepest canyon in the world. Most tourists take a 2 to 3 day trip from Arequipa with a tourism company.
Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. A trip to the pre-Columbian ruins allows you to see the Incan Trail, the Amazon Rainforest, and many other Andean ruins.
El Misti Volcano: El Misti is a relatively easy climb that beginners can do without any equipment; most climbers are able to make it to the volcano's crater. El Misti peaks at about 19,100 feet, so we suggest letting your body adjust to the altitude before climbing.
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