July 11th, 2012
The city of Arequipa is located in southern Peru, and in the year 2000, the historical center of the city was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The city was given this designation in part because of the decorative nature displayed in the architecture of the buildings. The architecture represents an exquisite combination of European and native cultural influences.
Arequipa is known as “The White City” because the buildings are constructed of a material called sillar which is a white rock of volcanic origin. One of the most popular tourist attractions for visitors to the city is Santa Catalina Convent which was opened up to the public in 1970. The cloister was built about 400 years ago, and in its heyday it housed about 500 nuns, all of whom were the daughters of wealthy Peruvians. It has been completely restored to its original grandeur and decorated with furniture and paintings that reflect its 16th century origins.
Sightseers in Arequipa also seek out the Plaza de Armas with its palm trees, beautiful gardens and many cafes and restaurants. The cathedral on the Plaza dates back to 1612, and features two elegant towers.