2016 Arequipa, Peru
Nominated as Knowledge City-Region, Arequipa, Peru is the second largest city in Peru and the capital of andine touristical sites.
Arequipa is located at an altitude of 2325 m in the desert mountains of the Andes. This beautiful city is practically completly built out of sillar, a kind of white volcanic stone. This is why Arequipa is called the White City. With its one milion inhabitants, Arequipa is the second biggest city of Peru. The main square, the Plaza de Armas is the most beautiful of the country. The magnificent Catedrál and the shopping malls are in colonial style. It is the city of eternal Spring. (Wikipedia).
There are two theories about the origin of the name Arequipa. Long ago the Aymara Indians founded on this place a settlement. In their language, Aymara, "ARI" stands for "summit" and "QUIPA" for "laying behind". Indeed, the majestic volcano "el Misti" is seen from Arequipa. The second theory says that the name comes from the language of the Inca's, Quechua. The legend tells the story of Inca Mayta Capac, the fourth Inca, travelling through the valley. A column of militaries, sacred virgins and nobles escorted the Sapa Inca. Mayta Capac saw the settlement that was never before visited by any emperor. He was amazed by the beauty of this place and the strategic importance as a connection between the ocean and Cusco in the center of the Andes. He said: "Ari, quipay!" translated as "Yes, stay!" This was the answer on the desire of some of the fellow travelers the settle down on this place and to develop the area as an important city in the Inca empire. Arequipa was totally destructed in 1600 by a heavy earthquake and volcanic eruption.
The Spanish reestablished the city on the 15th of August 1540. This date is still remembered by festivities in and around Arequipa with carnivals and fairs in the evening during one week. The climax of the festival is on the 14th of August with a splendid firework on the Plaza de Armas.
El Misti (the Gentleman) is not the only volcano around Arequipa, but the most famous and elegant and in the middle of two smaller volcanoes, the "Chachani" (the Beloved) and the steep "Picchu Picchu" (the Top Top). The pressure between the tectonic plates of Latin America and the Pacific created some memorable dates in Arequipa. In 1687 and 1868 earthquakes destroyed almost every building in the city. Also the Catedrál and the San Francisco church were pretty damaged. The biggest part of these churches date beyond 1868. The renovation of the Catedrál finished in 1898. This is maybe why the church looks quiet cool inside in comparison with other cathedrals in Peru. The Catedrál looks impressive from the outside in the in Peruvian so beloved baroque style. (http://www.infoperu.com/en/view.php?p=61)