Wandering around the streets of Arequipa, it’ll become apparent that many of the colonial buildings are constructed in white rock. Due to its proximity to volcanoes, many are made of sillar, a volcanic white stone. The local material gives the city a unique character, and is used for everything from simple walls to ornate cathedrals.
Start in Plaza de Armas, near where most of the almost 250 colonial UNESCO World Heritage buildings are located. Most notable is the plaza’s Cathedral, originally constructed in 1656 and considered the city’s most important church. It is also known as one of Peru’s most unique cathedrals since the Spanish conquest. The facade, which takes up an entire side of the plaza, can be described as majestic and ornate, and tall wooden sculptures, a bell tower and ancient relics add to the ambiance. Moreover, inside you’ll find the largest organ in South America, donated by Belgium in 1870.