Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas is the nerve center of this city in Peru. There the main buildings and institutions are concentrated and it is the place of meeting and celebration of the population. It is a space for walking and delighting, thus becoming a unique and majestic enclave. Are you coming with us to meet her?
The Plaza de Armas: place where Arequipa was born
Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas is much more than a beautiful urban and architectural space. There the founding of the city took place. In 1540 and by order of Don Garcí Manuel de Carvajal, a mass and the act of founding of this Peruvian town were held, with the corresponding procedure of drawing the streets by string.
Thus, this space became the center of the city and there the town hall and the cathedral were installed, as well as the jail, some chapels and the houses of the main characters who had participated in the creation of this beautiful city.
What to see in Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas
Today, it is still the main space of the city. It is a square that is 110 meters long on each side, thus coinciding with the rest of the original blocks or blocks. In it you will be able to delight yourself with the incredible views of the cathedral while you recharge your batteries to continue discovering what the beautiful ‘White City’ offers you.
1. Enjoy the impressive facade of the cathedral
Presiding over the east side we find the imposing cathedral of Arequipa. It is a neoclassical style construction that develops its façade on its side. And it is that this impressive building is accessed from the right side and not from the feet.
The façade has undergone many variations due to the multiple earthquakes that the city has suffered, but it still maintains its essence. All of it is framed by high towers and the atrium is delimited by impressive arches that have floral carvings.
2. Visit the portals of the Plaza de Armas
There are three portals or galleries open to allow the transit of people, protecting themselves from the impetuous sun or rain. They are called the Flores portal, the San Agustín portal and the Municipality portal. The last one, opposite the cathedral, is the only one on the sides that does not have one of these arcades.
In them you can enjoy restaurants, shops, silver shops and a popular handicraft market, the latter in the Flores portal. They are built in granite stone from the area and have multiple arches. Inside they have groin vaults and were originally on one floor, until the second floor was built at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.
3. Visit the flower market
In the Portal de Flores you will find the Flores market. It is a market where you can find the most characteristic artisan products from Peru, Arequipa and the nearby Colca Valley. You can buy anything from a bag to a poncho, through gloves or a silver jewel.
The market is installed in an old colonial house that belonged to the Flores del Campo family, one of the largest and most extraordinary in the city. Unfortunately, it is in a very sorry state, however, walking through the market will allow you to appreciate some of its rooms.
4. Meet the Tuturutu
The Tuturutu is a mythical character made in bronze that crowns the ornamental fountain in the center of the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa. According to legend, he was the official messenger of the Inca Mayta Capac who announced the distribution of parcels, food or seeds.
He announced it through his trumpet, which emitted a peculiar sound: Tuturutúúú. Tuturutu! One night, from so cold, he died frozen and woke up petrified. So they installed it over the sink, as they call the fountain. And since then he has constantly watched the square.