The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa is one of the Catholic religious monuments of all time in Peru, being one of the first to be built in the seventeenth century, it is located in front of the Plaza de Armas as usual. Its construction style is Neo-Renaissance and Gothic, being used for its construction a volcanic stone called Ignimbrite together with bricks and ashlar.
The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa was built in ashlar (stone of volcanic origin), with brick vaults; It is the main church of the city that occupies the entire north side of the Plaza de Armas. Built entirely in ashlar, it exhibits a neo-Renaissance style with a certain Gothic influence. Its facade is made up of seventy columns with Corinthian capitals
The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa has suffered various earthquakes, the most notable of which are 1666, 1668, 1687, 1784 and 2001, which caused damage of various degrees to the Cathedral of Arequipa without seriously affecting its structure. After each earthquake, the damage was repaired. But the 2001 earthquake caused one of its towers on the left to completely collapse, but in 2002 the cathedral and the plaza were reopened due to the damage done in the earthquake.
Located on the north side of the Plaza de Armas.
Its construction began in the year 1540, in the same year that the city of Arequipa was founded, it was built in ashlar (stone of volcanic origin) and brick vaults, reflecting an eclectic style that encompasses the neoclassical, neo-renaissance and gothic.
Throughout its history it was destroyed by fires, earthquakes and volcanic explosions. Being restored after each destruction, the last of these in 2001.
In the facade of the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa we can find two arches and towers, seventy columns and three main entrances. Inside we can find the wooden pulpit with a Christ finishing with the serpent, the marble high altar, an organ brought from Belgium, among many other religious things.
After La Villa Hermosa de Arequipa was founded, on August 15, 1540, a parochial church was provisionally built with the title of Señor San Pedro, a title given to the parish by the Most Illustrious Bishop of Cusco, Don Fray Vicente de Velarde, this The church is located where today is the cathedral that was built on the foundations of the previous colonial cathedral, which was completed in 1656 and destroyed by fire in 1844.
The department of Arequipa and especially the city suffers from constant tremors for which many times it has had to be partially rebuilt, one of the last earthquakes that affected the building was in 2001. Among the problems that the cathedral had, some of them it suffered a fire in 1844 which caused it to be repaired until 1868 by the architect Lucas Poblete, born in Arequipa itself.
Important information about the Cathedral:
Its construction began together with the founding of the city in 1540 by Garci Manuel de Carbajal on behalf of Francisco Pizarro, originally the church called Señor San Pedro was built.
It is one of the few Catholic Christian institutions that have permission to put up the Vatican banner, as only 70 have the privilege worldwide.
On February 14, 1544, Pedro Godínez, regent of the city, together with carpenters named Gregorio Álvarez and Juan Rodríguez, signed the contract to build the cathedral.
On January 22, 1583 an earthquake occurred which almost completely destroyed the building, in 1590 Gaspar Báez began its reconstruction. Unfortunately, in February 1600, the Huayputina volcano erupted destroying part of it, and in 1604 another earthquake occurred, destroying everything that was being built.
On January 27, 1621 Andrés Espinoza was hired to build the cathedral again, he died before finishing in 1628 and finally in 1656 the construction was completed, which had three sections.
As we had said in 1844, on December 1, a fire occurred that destroyed a large part of the church with its things that were inside, on December 15 of the same year its reconstruction began with Bishop José Sebastian de Goyeneche where it had great importance the architect Lucas Poblete. This same bishop ordered jewelry from Francisco de Moratilla, who at that time was the official jeweler of the Queen of Spain. At this same time, around the year 1850, his nephews of the bishop gave the main altar as a gift.
Already around the year 1854 the organ and 12 large wooden sculptures of the apostles from Belgium were brought, the clock was also placed in one of the towers which was brought from England. In 1879 the pulpit was brought from the town of Lilie in France, the Goyeneche family being the main donors and promoters of all these things.
It consists of five rooms, this was opened to the public in July 2010 with many Christian objects from the region. In the first room we can find many religious objects from the colonial era, in the second there are photos of the archbishops and the Catholic Church, in the third we can find liturgical objects such as the silver tabernacle and jewels of considerable Monterarian value, in the fourth In the room there are various Christian clothes belonging in some to local priests, finally in the fifth and last room there are paintings dating from colonial times.
The visit begins inside the temple, where the main altar made of Carrara marble is shown, brought from Italy in 1850 by Felipe Moratilla. In the central dome stands out the motto in Latin that says: «Only Goddess nhonor and glortia for ever and ever» – 1845. Also highlights the pulpit, of French origin and made in 1879, carved in cedar, which in its lower part It has satan with a scaly body, sharp wings, horns and a serpent’s body.
It is impressive to observe the giant symphonic organ, made in Belgium, which has remained in the Cathedral since 1854, considered the second largest in South America, is 12 meters high and currently works by air system and has 1,218 tubas or pipes (tin, zinc) of the 3,400 of the original. The organist Hugo Cueto is in charge of it and guarantees its tuning.
Inside the museum, on the first level there is a room with gold and silver liturgical objects, used in the past in Catholic masses and festivals, where the silver tabernacle from 1750 stands out, which was made in Arequipa and is used every Holy Thursday. Likewise, the 1.10 meter gold and silver custody, used for three days for the Eucharist at Easter. The Silver Pelican, which represents the love of Christ, made in Madrid, Spain in 1850, by the artist Francisco Muratilla, keeps the consecrated host that was deposited, as in all the monuments of each temple, for the adoration of Jesus and the Eucharist on Holy Thursday.
On the second level you can see the room of ornaments and liturgical objects. Room of clothing and objects used by high religious positions in masses, processions, funeral collaterals, throughout its history (the Colony), all made with precious metal threads and valuable stones. Among the vestments, the one made with gold and silver filaments stands out, worn by Monsignor Sebastián Goyeneche, archbishop of Arequipa in 1818.
The visit includes the third level through narrow ashlar steps, from where you can see the city and especially the Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.
Finally, the interesting and old bell tower that is located at the base of the towers (2), the roof of the church. There are six bronze bells, made in Arequipa, the largest or main weighing six tons. They date back to 1841. They have a strong, sharp sound that is heard for many miles.
The control, administration and protection of the museum is under the responsibility of the Metropolitan Council of Arequipa of the Archbishop of Arequipa, in charge of the Archbishop Javier Del Río Alba and the direction by Lucía Pastor de Chirinos.
Visiting hours are from Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. On Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
If you travel to Perú, we also recommend you to visit another impressive destinations in the city of Cusco like the tour to rainbow mountain peru or the humantay lake tour from cusco, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Cusco, other archaeological places you can know will be the choquequirao trek peru, the salkantay trek to machu picchu, and the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights.