Arequipa Landmarks and Monuments

(Arequipa, Peru)

Photo of the Plaza de ArmasThe history of Arequipa is extensive and its set of very individual landmarks provides a taste of its importance over the century. Some of the most important landmarks in Arequipa include the Plaza de Armas, the Iglesia de la Compania church, the Monasterio de la Recoleta monastery, the Convento de Santa Catalina monastery, and the plentiful colonial mansions, which are often built out of white, volcanic 'sillar' rock.

Always impressive is the city's majestic cathedral (La Catedral), which stands next to the Plaza de Armas, in the very heart of Arequipa. The cathedral is one of the city's most important landmarks and really cannot be overlooked. Interestingly, La Catedral is actually the only cathedral in the whole of Peru to stretch the entire length of a plaza, and also it is only one of some 100 basilicas permitted to fly the Vatican flag.

Additional image of the Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Address: Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru, PE
The Plaza de Armas serves as the main square and public space in central Arequipa and its surrounded by impressive sights, attractions and landmarks, such as the cathedral, pavement cafes, and historic buildings, many of which were built using white 'sillar' stone and feature innumerable balconies. This really is a very pleasant place to take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee, although you will certainly be paying a little extra for the sheer convenience and appealing views.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Picture showing La Catedral (Cathedral)

La Catedral (Cathedral)

Address: Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 054 23 2635
Originally built in the middle of the 17th century, the cathedral of Arequipa suffered considerable fire damage some 200 years later and was subsequently rebuilt. However, just after its completion, the cathedral was once again devastated, during the earthquake of 1868, resulting is considerable renovation work. As recently as 2001, Arequipa's cathedral yet again was at the hands of an earthquake, with one of its towers collapsing. However, today, everything is once again in perfect order after must restoration.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 07:00 to 11:30, 16:30 to 19:30, Sunday - 06:30 to 13:30, 16:30 to 19:30
Admission: free, guides will expect tipping

View of the Iglesia de la Compania

Iglesia de la Compania (Compania de Jesus Church)

Address: Calle Alvarez Thomas, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 054 21 2141
The Iglesia de la Compania stands just next to the south-easterly corner of the Plaza de Armas, along the Calle Alvarez Thomas and off the Santo Domingo. Established in the latter part of the 16th century, this Jesuit church is amongst the oldest landmarks of its kind in Arequipa and famed for both its elaborate architecture and carved altarpiece. Next to the altar, the San Ignacio Chapel features a decorated cupola, with jungle-like images of animals, birds and flowers.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 12:00, 15:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Photograph of the Casa de Moral mansion

Colonial Mansions

Address: Arequipa, Peru, PE
The imposing colonial-style mansions of Arequipa have become important local city landmarks and with their pale, pristine and elegant architecture, inject a very distinctive character into the city. Some of the most notable mansions include the:

Open hours: daily - hours vary
Admission: charge for admission to some mansions

Image of the Convento de Santa Catalina

Convento de Santa Catalina / Monasterio Misterioso (Monasterio de Santa Catalina / Monastery of St. Catherine)

Address: Calle Santa Catalina 301, Cercado, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 054 21 0121
The city's biggest and most breathtaking of all its religious landmarks, the Monasterio de Santa Catalina is simply enormous and dates back to 1580. Filled with over 400 nuns from only the wealthiest of Spanish families, this historic convent is famous for its frivolous past, since rather than living a life of poverty and minimalism, the nuns each had a number of slaves and servants, and regularly had parties, inviting local musicians to provide the music and entertainment. This situation was halted in 1871, after Pope Pius IX heard of the goings on, and today the Monasterio de Santa Catalina is open as a museum, allowing visitors to freely explore its cloisters and layout, although in one area a small group still continues to live here.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, guides will also expect tipping

Monasterio de la Recoleta (Franciscan Recoleta Monastery)

Address: La Recoleta 117, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 054 27 0966
Just a short taxi journey from the centre of Arequipa, the Monasterio de la Recoleta was founded in 1648 by Franciscan friars, and stands on the westerly banks of the Chili River. The monastery's library is a particular highlight and contains more than 20,000 books, maps and documents, some of which are more than 500 years old. Expecting just a small tip, guides are available and speak various languages, being happy to show you around the Monasterio de la Recoleta and its fascinating museum, where various Amazonian displays await, showcasing artefacts collected by missionaries many years ago.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: donations suggested