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AREQUIPA, the white city

  • 2 min read

Among Inca legends, the most popular one says that when the Inca Mayta Capac arrived at the Valley of Chilli during the empire’s expansion times, his army, fascinated by the place, asked him if they could stay. Mayta Capac then answered: “Ari, quepay” which means: “yes, stay”.

The truth is that the beauty of this valley and its pleasant weather all year long make Arequipa one of the most beautiful cities in Peru.

Classy Arequipa main square

Arequipa city, built in a volcanic area, is flanked by three volcanoes: Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu. The highland city, located at almost 2400 meters above sea level, is better known as “The white city” because most of the buildings are made of a white volcanic stone called sillar.

Classy Arequipa Sillar

Photo: Catherine Chu / Unsplash

The sillar is not the only element that represents the architecture in Arequipa. The “Arequipa School” architecture style is a result of indigenous and Spanish influences characterized by abundant and intricate details. The best example of this style is the Company of Jesus Church. Other impressive buildings include the Cathedral Basílica de Santa María, and the Santa Catalina Convent, both of which are highlights of the city. This impressive architecture gave the historical center of Arequipa the UNESCO title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Classy Arequipa Arequipa Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus

Photo: Unukorno / CC BY

Besides architecture, Arequipa has some other treasures. It houses Juanita, the well-preserved Incan mummy, a sacrifice to the mountain gods, who was found in the volcano Ampato. More recently, other important characters were born in Arequipa, influent political leaders and famous intellectuals and writers. The most representative, Mario Vargas Llosa, was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature in 2010.

Classy Arequipa Llosa and book

Photo of Llosa: Arild Vågen / CC BY-SA

Around one million inhabitants −making Arequipa the second most populous city in Peru− are proud of their heritage and role in our history. They take great pride in the natural and handmade beauty of their city, having the widest variety of traditional dishes in the country −more than five hundred including desserts−, and the best chocolate!

Another source of great pride is their expertise in Andean camelids. They have been domesticating, raising, and protecting these animals since before Incan times, making them the owners of the highest quality Andean camelids textile industry.

Classy Arequipa alpacas

Photo: travelcutie / Pixabay

Enjoy the majesty of a volcano-framed city brightened by the blue of a shining sky contrasting with the white of the sillar while having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on the terrace of a cozy bistro. Get lost in the streets colored by the fancy stores showcasing the best alpaca garments, the exact same quality material Classy works with.

Feel the fibers of Peru by wearing the fine and beautiful Classy’s knitwear!

Sincerely yours,



Classy Ara virtual tour guide Ara was born and raised in Peru. Since she was a little girl, she has written skillfully and always loved to travel. In recent years, he has worked in translation studios and in the travel industry. Ara says her work is a passion and a way of life, which is also reflected in the Peru-themed "virtual travel" articles for Classy.