AREQUIPA AND COLCA CANYON
Arequipa (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾeˈkipa]; Quechua: Ariqipa) is the capital and largest city of the Arequipa Region and the seat of the Constitutional Court of Peru. It is Peru’s second most populous city with 861,145 inhabitants, as well as its second most populous metropolitan area as of 2016, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI)

Arequipa

Arequipa is the second most industrialized and commercialized city in Peru. Its industrial activity includes manufactured goods and camelid wool products for export. The city has close trade ties with Chile, Bolivia and Brazil.

The city was founded on August 15, 1540, by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal as “Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción”. During the Colonial period, Arequipa became highly important for its economic prosperity and for its loyalty to the Spanish Crown.

After Peru gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Arequipa acquired greater political significance and was declared the capital city of Peru from 1835 to 1883.

The historic center of Arequipa spans an area of 332 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historic heritage, natural scenery and cultural sites make the city a major tourist destination. Its religious, colonial, and republican architectural styles blend European and native characteristics into a unique style called “Escuela Arequipeña

History

The early inhabitants of the Arequipa City area were nomadic people who relied on activities such as hunting, fishing and gathering for survival. Later, pre-Inca cultures domesticated llamas and became sedentary with the development of agriculture. During this time, major irrigation channels were built within the valley of the Chili river, which allowed the development of agriculture by means of terraces built on both sides of the valley. The Yarabaya and Chimbe tribes settled in the city’s current location, and together with the Cabana and Collagua tribes they developed an agrarian economy in the valley.

When the Inca Mayta Capac arrived in the valley of the Chili river, he didn’t build cities; instead, he gave orders to his mitimae (settlers from lands within the Inca empire) to settle in the valley to gain control of the existing population, perform intelligence tasks and strengthen border enclaves as a way to control the unconquered villages. A Hispanic version of the events, detailed by chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, which has been described as historically inaccurate, suggests that around 1170 Huayna Capac stopped with his army in the valley of the Chili River, which he called Ari qepay – an expression meaning “let’s stay here”. Lands were then distributed among three thousand families who founded the towns of Yanahuara, Cayma, Tiabaya, Socabaya, Characato and others, towns that still exist nowadays.

The Spanish foundation of Arequipa was performed on 15 August 1540 by Garci Manuel de Carbajal in the valley of the Chili river as “Villa de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora del Valle Hermoso de Arequipa” in an area occupied by some Native American villages. At the time of its foundation, Arequipa had already a city council, because the foundation of the town occurred in part as a relocation of Villa Hermosa de Camana, a coastal city. The name was partially conserved as Villa Hermosa de Arequipa. Charles V of Germany and I of Spain gave the town a status of ‘city’ by Royal Decree on 22 September 1541. The relocation efforts were led by Garci Manuel de Carbajal, who was selected as the political authority for the foundation of the new town. Among the first public works carried out in the city are the Main Church, the City Hall, the bridge on the Chili River and the monastery of Nuestra Señora de Gracia.

After the occupation of Lima during the War of the Pacific, president Lizardo Montero arrived in Arequipa on 31 August 1882, declaring it the capital of Peru. Also, Montero installed a National Congress on 22 April 1883 which was located at the Independence College, also counting with military support from a local army and important financial support from quotas and taxes coming from the economic elite and the southern agricultural districts. However, on 25 October 1883, a popular uprising overthrew the government of president Montero, who managed to escape to La Paz; then, Chilean troops occupied Arequipa on 29 October, supported by authorities of the city, until August 1884.

The republican era brought many improvements to the city’s infrastructure. The economic development of Arequipa was boosted by the Southern Railroad built by Henry Meiggs, which connected Arequipa with the port city of Mollendo (1871) and with Cuzco and Juliaca (1876), The first telegraph system in the region of Arequipa, which connected Mollendo, Arequipa and Vitor, was established in 1908. The first drinking water supply system for the city and an aqueduct were built in 1914. In 1940 the city’s international airport, Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon, was opened.

In 2000, the historic centre of Arequipa was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. However, an 8.4-magnitude earthquake, on 23 June 2001, damaged several of the historical buildings.

Location

The city is located at 2,328 metres (7,638 ft) of elevation above sea level, with the lowest part of the city being at 2,041 metres (6,696 ft) above sea level in the area called Huayco Uchumayo while the highest is located at 2,810 metres (9,220 ft) above sea level.

The central part of the city is crossed by the Chili River from north to south; to the north and east of Arequipa are the Andes mountains, while to the south and west there are minor mountain ranges associated to the Andes. The valley of Arequipa, open toward the coast, plays a key role in allowing Arequipa to be a city that strategically links the coastal and highland regions of southern Peru

A series of volcanic cones dominate the city skyline: Misti, and the extinct volcanic groups Pichu Pichu and Chachani. The western slopes of the Andes in the region feature thick layers of volcanic lava that cover large areas

Sights and attractions

The Old Town:

In its 332 hectares has 5817 properties of which 500 are categorized as heritage properties, generally have been built in the nineteenth century, on the site of earlier colonial buildings destroyed by the earthquake of 1868. The houses, usually made in ashlar, are characterized by semi-circular arches and vaulted ceilings. Ashlar structures always have thick walls: 1 to 1.5 meters for rooms, 2 meters for churches. Through the use of lime mortar, the walls are shown homogeneous image that is reinforced with brick vaults or ashlar that are justified in the rarity of the wood.

In the city itself is a stylistic school called “School Arequipa” of crucial importance in the region and whose influence reached Potosi. This school is characterized by profuse decoration planiform textilográfica and the open spaces and the design and size of their covers, which differ in these aspects of Cuzco and Lima covers.

The architecture in the historic center is characterized by the prominence of ashlar, the use of which begins in the last third of the s. XVI. This volcanic stone, white or pink exceptionally soft, lightweight, and weatherproof, emerged as a seismic structural solution. The ashlar was unable to take the early years, except for the covers of the main church and some houses. The original city was built with adobe, masonry, sticks and straw roofs or mud pie. Houses of this type were made until the nineteenth century and were common in the eighteenth century, some remain in the original district of San Lazaro. Later came the brick and tile houses with tile found in the Monastery of Santa Catalina. The cataclysm of 1582 settled these systems and raised the earthquake reconstruction. Then came the ashlar as prime structural solution.

Major earthquakes which milestones in the formation of Arequipa architecture. You can mention five periods:

  • Founding and village (1540–1582),
  • Splendor of Baroque (1582–1784),
  • Rococo and Neoclassical Reviews (1784–1868),
  • Empiricism and modernizing
  • Evocations neo colonial (1868–1960) and
  • Contemporary.
Religious Monuments

In historical existence is accounted for 14 churches or temples, four chapels, five convents and 3 monasteries, among the monuments of this type include:

  • Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

It is the most important neoclassical ediicio Peru, product reconstruction started in 1844 and finished three years later and led by architect Lucas Poblete. Its interior is faced with trs ships with one of the side walls of the main square which fills a side façade is divided by Corinthian columns.

  • Church of the Company

It is the monument maximum Arequipeña School, is one of the most splendid creations of Peruvian Baroque and starting point of this school, in its façade has an inscription inscribed with the year 1698 which shows that the beginning of the eighteenth century this regional art had reached its peak, therein lies a more exaggerated baroque altar.

  • Convent of Santa Catalina
Civil-Public Monuments

There are 10 buildings that origin were engaged in civic purposes, such as Phoenix theaters. and the Municipal Theatre, the Goyeneche Hospital and the Hospital of Priests of St. Peter, bridges Bolognesi and Grau, the Instituto de la Rosa Chavez, Railway Station, Mercado San Camilo and the Molino de Santa Catalina.

Military Monuments

The historic center of Arequipa lacked a wall as we had the city of Lima, they persist despite military monuments as Twentieth Century Prison and Penal Fundo El Fierro women.

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru, located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. It is Peru’s third most-visited tourist destination with about 120,000 visitors annually. With a depth of 10,725 ft (3,270 m), it is one of the deepest in the world, second in Peru after the Cotahuasi Canyon and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots, and towns founded in Spanish colonial times, still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. The local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.

History

The Quechua-speaking Cabanas, probably descended from the Wari culture, and the Aymara-speaking Collaguas, who moved to the area from the Lake Titicaca region, inhabited the valley in the pre-Inca era. The Inca probably arrived in the Colca Valley around 1320 AD, and established their dominion through marriage, rather than through warfare. The Spaniards, under Gonzalo Pizarro, arrived in 1540 and in the 1570s the Spanish viceroy Francisco de Toledo ordered the inhabitants to leave their scattered settlements and to move to a series of centrally located pueblos, which remain the principal towns of the valley. Franciscan missionaries built the first chapel in the valley in 1565, and the first church in 1569.

No passable roads existed between Arequipa and Chivay until the 1940s, when a road was completed to serve the silver and copper mines of the region. More roads were built in the 1970s and 1980s by the Majes Hydroelectric Project, a program to divert water from the Colca River to irrigate crops in the Majes region. Access today is usually via Arequipa.

In May 1981, the Polish Canoandes rafting expedition led by Jerzy Majcherczyk, made the first descent of the river below Cabanaconde, and proclaimed the possibility of its being the world’s deepest canyon. It was so recognized by the Guinness Book of Records in 1986, and a National Geographic article in January 1993 repeated the claim  The joint Polish/Peruvian “Cañon del Colca 2005” expedition verified the altitudes of the river and the surrounding heights via GPS.

Tourism has increased since the 1980s and 1990s from a few thousand visitors annually to nearly 150,000 visitors in 2010

Geography

Colca-Arequipa 14 plains of Majes, it is known as the Majes River, and then is known as the Camana before reaching the Pacific Ocean at the town of that name. The Majes River was believed by the Incas to flow directly into the Milky Way. For this reason, they often put sacrifices and gifts to the gods in the river for it to flow to them. Within the province of Caylloma it is known as the “Colca Valley” between Callalli and Pinchollo/Madrigal. Down to Huambo it is known as the Colca Canyon. The town of Chivay is located at the midpoint of the Colca valley. Above Chivay, at an elevation of 12,000 ft (3,650 m), agriculture gives way to livestock raising, principally alpacas and llamas, with some sheep and dairy cattle as well. Below Chivay the valley presents intensely terraced landscapes, continuing for many kilometers downstream. Within the deepening valley downriver, a series of small villages is spread out over the approximately 35 miles (56 km) between Chivay and the village of Cabanaconde. The canyon reaches its greatest depth in the region of Huambo, where the river has an elevation of 3,497 ft (1,066 m). In contrast, about 15 miles (24 km) to the southeast of Cabanaconde rises the 20,630 ft (6,288 m) high Ampato, a snow-capped extinct volcano.

Attractions

The canyon is home to the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), a species that has been the focus of worldwide conservation efforts. The condors can be seen at close range as they fly past the canyon walls, and are a popular attraction. The Andean Condor typically lives about 60-70 years, and has a wingspan of about 7-9 feet. It is commonly referred to as the “Eternity Bird,” as the bird is a symbol of long life and eternity. ‘Cruz del Condor’ is a popular tourist stop to view the condors. At this point the canyon floor is 3,960 feet (1,200 m) below the rim of the canyon.

Other notable bird species present in the Colca include the giant hummingbird, the largest member of the hummingbird family, as well as the Andean goose, Chilean flamingo, and mountain caracara. Animals include vizcacha, a rabbit-sized relative of the chinchilla, zorrino, deer, fox, and vicuña, the wild ancestor of the alpaca.

The La Calera natural hot springs are located at Chivay, the biggest town in the Colca Canyon. Other hot springs, some developed for tourist use, are dotted throughout the valley and canyon.

Archeological sites include the caves of Mollepunko above Callalli where rock art (said to be 6,000 years old) depicts the domestication of the alpaca; the mummy of Paraqra, above Sibayo; the Fortaleza de Chimpa, a reconstructed mountaintop citadel that looks down on Madrigal; ruins of pre-Hispanic settlements throughout the valley; and many others.

Cultural attractions include the Wititi festival in Chivay, named as a “cultural heritage” of Peru. The Colca is also well known for crafts: goods knitted from baby alpaca fiber and a unique form of embroidery that adorns skirts (polleras), hats, vests, and other items of daily wear and use.

The most distant source of Amazon River is accessible from the Colca valley via Tuti, a one-day trip to a spring at 16,800 feet (5,120 m), where snowmelt from the Mismi bursts from a rock face. Other attractions include the Infiernillo Geyser, on the flanks of the volcano Wallqa Wallqa, which is accessible on foot, horseback, or mountain bicycle, and a number of casas vivenciales where tourists can stay with a local family in their home and share in their daily activities.

Autocolca, an autonomous authority created by law in the 1980s, is responsible for tourism promotion and management in the Colca Valley

Climate

The climate of the city is predominantly dry in winter, autumn and spring due to the low atmospheric moisture and an effective precipitation corresponding to that of a cool desert climate (BWk, according to the Köppen climate classification). Arequipa has also 300 days of sunshine a year on average. Throughout the year, temperatures do not exceed 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely drop below 5 °C (41 °F). The wet season lasts from December to March and is marked by the presence of clouds in the afternoon and low rainfall. In winter (June, July), weather gets a little cooler and the low temperature drops to an average of 6 °C (43 °F).

The average relative humidity is 46%, with an average high of 70% in the summer season and a minimum average of 27% during autumn, winter and spring, according to data from the weather station at Goyeneche Hospital.

The winds are influenced by a system of local winds and the passage of frontal systems of low atmospheric pressure, which are conditioned by the topographical surrounding the valley where the city is. These winds occur mainly in the evening and early morning; mountain breezes flow in a north-east direction and in the course of the day valley breezes dominate with a South-West direction. The wind velocity along the day fluctuates between 1.5 m / s and 2.5 m/s

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