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Colonial Mansions - Historical Building Arequipa - Peru

Arequipa boasts some of Peru's best preserved and finest colonial architecture. Because most casonas were built as single story structures, they have withstood earthquakes that leveled other buildings in the city. A way to distinguish colonial architecture from Republican-era buildings is by the ceiling: Colonial buildings have barrel vaults and Republican, flat ceilings.

On one corner of the Plaza de Armas is the beautiful Casona Iriberry (Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-8 p.m. Ca Santa Catalina 101. Tel: 204-482. Entry: Free). The house, built in 1793, has been converted into the Centro Cultural Chávez de la Rosa, hosting temporary exhibits and other events.. The house’s spacious rooms open onto a series of elegant stone patios, and the doorways don carved messages in Spanish.

Also near the plaza is Casa Tristán del Pozo, home of Banco Continental / BBVA (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Ca San Francisco 108. Entry: Free). Its Sala de Exposiciones Pedro Bescia Cafferata has bilingual displays about the history and architecture of the mansion, and a permanent exhibit of Arequipeña painting.

One of the best houses is the Casa del Moral (Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ca Moral 318. Tel: 285-371, URL: Entry: adult $2, student $1.50), which dates back to around 1700. The house gets its name from the graceful mora (mulberry tree) that graces the courtyard, paved with river stones and surrounded by gorgeous ochre walls. Perched on the front doors of the house are elaborately carved pumas and serpents. The interior of the house is decorated with art and furniture from the period. Also on display is a numismatic collection that includes Peru’s oldest Peruvian currencies.

Casa Goyeneche
, constructed in 1558, features the ecclesiastical coat-of-arms of José Sebastián Goyeneche (1784-1872), the former bishop of Arequipa (Monday-Friday 9:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Ca La Merced 205. Tel: 211-101, E-mail:, URL: Entry: free, but tip guide). Within the house are exhibits of coins, pre-Columbian ceramics, 18th century paintings of the Cusqueña School.

Arequipa’s three-hour campiña (country) tour also gives travelers a chance to see some other fine examples of colonial houses.

Arequipa, Peru

Historical Building Types:
Colonial architecture, Site of historic significance, Historic architecture, Garden, cenote

Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: beginner/easy.

Currencies accepted
Peruvian nuevo sol

Here are other activities in and around Arequipa that may be of interest: Catedral, Museo Santuarios Andinos, La Compañia and Monasterio de Santa Catalina.

01 May 2012

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