Arequipa is the capital and largest city of the province of Arequipa and the seat of the Constitutional Court. Arequipa is the Second city of Perú by population with 861,145 inhabitants according to INEI projections. It is center of the third most populous metropolitan area in year 2014.
Arequipa is the second most industrialized and commercial city of Peru. Its industrial activity includes manufacturing and the exporting of high quality wool. The city has close trade ties with Chile, Bolivia and Brazil. In the Colonial period it became higher important for its economic role and it was noted for its faithfulness to the Spanish Crown.
The city was founded on the 15th of August, 1540, under the name of ‘Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción” in the name of the Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro. In the Royal Decree of September 22, 1541, King Charles V of Spain ordered that it be called the “City of Arequipa.”
In the Republican history of Peru the city acquired greater prominence in politics, being the focus of popular rebellions. Many Peruvian intellectual, political, and religious figures became prominent in this era. In the Republican era, a decree issued by General Orbegoso ordered that the department and its capital city be denominated “Department of Law” and “heroic city of free Arequipa”.
General Orbegoso installed his government from the 13 January 1835 in the city of Arequipa, and consequently General Felipe Santiago Salaverry named himself Supreme Chief of the Republic, with the pretext that the country was leaderless, i.e. without President, as Orbegoso was outside the capital.
Its historic center is spread over an area of 332 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historic heritage, along with its many scenic and cultural sites, make the city a national and international tourist destination. Its religious, colonial, and republican architecture blends European and native characteristics into a unique style called “Escuela Arequipeña”.
The central part of the city is crossed by the River Chili from north to south in a valley called the Valley of Arequipa or the Valley of Chili. To the north and east of Arequipa are the Andes mountain while to the south and west are intermediate mountain highlands. The valley opening to the coast plays a decisive role in allowing Arequipa to be a city in the middle, strategically connecting the two regions.
A series of volcanic cones dominates the skyline from the city. These volcanoes form mountains like the Misti, Pikchu Pikchu and Chachani. This rugged Andean western edge of South America is characterized by thick layers of volcanic lava that cover large areas.
In Arequipa tourism is a factor of the economy energizing establishing itself as the third most visited city in the country after Cusco and Lima, in 2010 arrived in the city a total of 1.395 million visitors according to the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism.