Arequipa is a city in southern Peru and the nation's second most-important city. It is also the capital of the Arequipa Region and the Arequipa Province. The city stands at the foot of the snow-capped volcano El Misti, in the highlands. Arequipa has many fine colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock used extensively in the construction of the city, from which it gets its nickname La Ciudad Blanca ("the white city").
It is known as the White City because of the white porous volcanic rock (sillar) that was used to build most of the its buildings. The city is surrounded by mountains and snow capped volcanoes such as the Misti (5820 m.), Chachani (6096 m.) and Pichu Pichu. Arequipa City lies at 2400 meters above sea level but it has a very pleasant climate, its days are mostly warm and sunny, and its nights are cool.
Its main attractions include:
The Convent of Santa Catalina (Saint Catherine of Siena), is one of the most interesting samples of colonial religious architecture in Peru. The whole complex is a real town inside Arequipa City. Its construction began by 1579 and took many decades to finish it. It housed about 450 nuns who were secluded for their lifetime. The convent was opened as a museum in 1970. The City Tour in Arequipa always include a visit to this convent, the Cathedral and a ride around the picturesque landscape near the downtown area.
Other attractions near the city include Yanahuara, a famous district having a nice colonial church and a lookout with arches carved in volcanic rock.
Cayma is a couple of miles away from the city and has another nice church and an beautiful view of the city as well.
The Colca Canyon, is considered as the world's deepest canyon (even deeper than the Colorado canyon), located about 170 Kms. away from the city. On route you will be able to appreciate small interesting towns with friendly people dressed very colorfully; there are also lots of South American Cameloids including llamas, alpacas and even vicuñas on the highlands.
Around there you will probably see some condors flying around the mountains. Besides, you will be able to see stone carvings, cave paintings and thermal baths.
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