The fascinating history of the Convent of Santa Catalina could have been written by Garcia Marquez or another great Latin American writer. Dark, secret, full of mysteries, the [poi = 107016] Arequipa [/ poi] Nunnery keeps in its heart the memory of women belonging to royal families or very wealthy families who lived life as saints or - in some cases - courtesans. The monastery looks like a fortress, is a beautiful maze of courtyards and alleys with small houses-come-cells, some of them equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and chapels. The Convent of about 20,000 sq ms, is painted blue, ochre and white, and is furnished with period furniture and objects. Some of the spaces leave you speechless. Behind the walls, the nuns lived in great luxury surrounded by a retinue of slaves and servants.
The Colca Canyon is a beautiful valley near the village of Chivay, in southern Peru. To go, you have to take a guided tour with a car, privately or as part of a group. The canyon is more than 3,000 feet deep, the deepest in the world, and is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. With the tour, you can see the canyon from the top and the condors flying through the neck of the canyon and the mountains. The nearest village is Chivay, a nice stop after a day walking through the canyon. It has a few small hotels, which is ideal because it's 4 hour drive from Arequipa, and almost all travelers will need to spend a night. We were there on New Year's Eve, and people were setting off fireworks, singing, and dancing until the early hours of the morning. We celebrated with them, it was very nice to participate in the local festivities. We then continued up the canyon, admiring the amazing terraces and man's domination over nature.
Built entirely in ashlar, this Renaissance Cathedral contains some Gothic influence. Its facade is made up of seventy columns with Corinthian capitals, three portals and two lateral arches, all surmounted by two tall Renaissance towers. In the interior stands the altar made of Carrara marble. The pulpit of the central nave has a carving of Christ defeating a snake. It hosts one of the largest organs in America, which was built in Belgium. It was hard hit by the 2001 earthquake that seriously damaged its towers.
A couple of months ago I was lucky to make a trip we had planned for a long time. We visited Chile, Peru (Machu Pichu bound) and discovered one of the most beautiful cities. Arequipa, also called the White Town, is a major city that has preserved its magnificent colonial architecture. Highly recommended, allow several days to travel, the food is impressive in its small restaurants and colonial hotels. It is seen as very safe, and the people are extremely friendly. Enjoy it.
Yanahuara Arequipa is a district located approximately two miles from downtown. It is a set of 19th century ashlar arches in which the words of famous Arequipa are recorded. It has great views of the city and the Misti volcano in clear weather. The viewpoint is next to the main square of Yanahuara.
Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru, high in the Andes mountain range. One of the most interesting things I found in the city is the cultural heritage, the stories about the Misti volcano, similar to the stories of the volcanoes Iztacíhuatl and Popocatepetl, Mexico.
This is a beautiful natural vantage point, located 3,287 meters above sea level, from which you can see condors flying and a spectacular view of the canyon. This canyon is considered the second deepest in the world. A large cross and a small stone wall for the safety of tourists have been built here.
It is the town's only building that has been preserved like in colonial times. Built in 1660 as part of the monumental complex of the former convent of the Society of Jesus, this complex is made up of buildings constructed by the Jesuits for religious and living purposes. The Church of the Company, designed in 1573 by Gaspar Baez, was the most obvious, and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1584. The current structure dates from 1650. The cloisters are three consecutive buildings with high arches and richly decorated columns with gargoyles to drain the rain water. Today, after its last restoration, different craft shops, jewellery stores and offices are located in its arcades.
Tiny village in the Colca Canyon, used to stay overnight when visiting the zone. It is Best known for the thermal baths of Calera, which are within 4 kilometers outside the village. These thermal baths, consisting of 5 pools, are a place to relax after a day of hiking through the Colca Canyon. Chivay also has an 18th century church, Our Lady of the Assumption, and a bridge of Inca origin, which are worth seeing. It is the link between both sides of the canyon.
Teh Bolognesi Bridge is one of the three bridges over the River Chili Arequipa, also known as the "Old Bridge." Its construction began in 1577, designed by the by the architect Juan de Aldana and was not completed until 1608. Cross the river by the bridge and follow Bolognesi Street and you come to the main square, the sides of the road are different 'tambos' (group of houses) and also warehouses, particularly saddlery. From the bridge there is a beautiful view of Arequipa, the river, and of course, the Misti volcano.
The Iglesia de la Compania is one of the many churches located in the historical centre of Arequipa, is located between the Portal de la Municipad and Portal de Flores. Erected by the Society of Jesus in the Peruvian city of Arequipa, this is one of the most prominent examples of the so-called mestizo architecture. Inside, you can see wooden altarpieces covered with gold leaf.
On the road from Arequipa to Colca Canyon, there is the National Reserve of Vicuña de Aguada Blanca. In Peru there are 4 types of camels, with the main difference being that the vicuña and guanaco are wild species, while the llama and alpaca are tamed. They also have differences in morphology like their size and their ears. From here, you start to climb in altitude, potentially causing the dreaded "altitude sickness". It's about 3,000 meters above sea level.
The Yanque district is in Caylloma province and forms part of the Colca Valley. It is an ancient Inca settlement, but in its time has been one of the capitals of the province of Collawas. It is an area rich in livestock, agriculture and mining activities. It is impressive that the square occupies four-block area.
The buildings and roofs were designed by renowned French engineer Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. This market is one of his works in the city of Arequipa. It's one of the oldest markets in the city, having stood for over 130 years. You can enjoy fresh, homemade juice at many of the stalls.
The Colca Canyon is a very lovely valley near the town of Chivay in southern Peru. To go, you have to take a tour, forming a group or your own, with a guide and a car. The 2nd stop is on the plateau of Chivay, to see the mountains, and the beautiful landscape, with the Andes in the background. We're going up a lot, from Arequipa which is about 2000 meters above sea level, we'll get up to 4000 feet, and the body is affected by it. If you feel you are going too fast, you must take at least a stop, or stay overnight in a village before going up more. In the highlands, everything is green. The Peruvians still use the same irrigation system that thousands of years ago their ancestors Incas used to bring water from the mountaintop to the valley. The scenery is amazing, and the higher we climb, the more pretty it becomes. It took about 4 hours on the road, which in a mini van is a bit uncomfortable, but you forget about it soon enough when you take a look out the window, the mountains are amazing to look at!
Get there early enough, because practically the only possible sighting is first thing in the morning, when they hunt. Also, hopefully, avoid rush hour at the lookout (http://www.Minube.Com/rincon/mirador-de-la-cruz-del-condor-a234411), which begins to fill with tourists coming from Arequipa where tours depart daily. We got there quite early and we were lucky to see about 12 examples flying over the impressive canyon, about an hour later they suddenly disappeared, what bad luck for the coaches that we could see arriving when we were on the way down!
A mandatory stop when you go to the Colca Canyon from Arequipa. On a good day you can see up to 6 volcanoes from here. I'm not sure if it is a custom for tourists or the locals, but at the top there are plenty of stones piled on top of each other. It is 4900 meters where this beautiful viewpoint is located, so you have to be careful with altitude sickness.