Arequipa is the capital and largest city of the Arequipa Region and the seat of the Constitutional Court of Peru. It is the third most populous metropolitan area of Peru and according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics is the second most populous city with 861,145 inhabitants.
Arequipa is the second most industrialized and commercial city of Peru. Its industrial activity includes manufactured goods and camelid wool products for export. The city has close trade ties with Chile, Bolivia and Brazil.
The city was founded on August 15, 1540 by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal as 'Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción». By Royal Decree of September 22, 1541, King Charles V of Spain granted Arequipa the title of 'City'. During the Colonial period, Arequipa became highly important for its economic prosperity and for its loyalty to the Spanish Crown.
After Peru gained its independence from Spain, the city acquired greater prominence in politics, being the center of uprisings. Many Peruvian intellectual, political, and religious figures became prominent in this era. Moreover, it was declared the capital city of Peru in 1835 and 1883.
The historic center of Arequipa spans an area of 332 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historic heritage, natural scenery and cultural sites, make the city a national and international tourist destination. Its religious, colonial, and republican architectural styles blend European and native characteristics into a unique style called «Escuela Arequipeña».