The San Lazaro neighborhood, the oldest in Arequipa
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The San Lazaro neighborhood, the oldest in Arequipa

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The San Lazaro neighborhood, the oldest in Arequipa

San Lázaro was the first neighborhood that the White City had and around 40 families lived there, who built a small temple.

To be located in the historic center of the city of Arequipa is to appreciate all the architectural beauty of its mansions, temples, museums, theaters and the Plaza de Armas, built of ashlar.


However, one of the places that impresses and that is currently also visited by tourists is the neighborhood of San Lázaro, which was the first and one of the oldest neighborhoods that the White City had before its founding in 1540.


Its narrow streets, its ashlar mansions, its small temple and its round plaza make San Lázaro a friendly little neighborhood located in the historic center of the city, considered a World Cultural Heritage Site.


This neighborhood is located between Jerusalem, Puente Grau and Juan de la Torre streets, and has currently been almost completely recovered.


Its architectural beauty stands out, which not only impresses with its infrastructure; but also because of the small size of its temple that makes it look like that of missionaries, and the name of its alleys, among which Violín Alley, Cristales, Desaguadero, Ripacha, Calienes, Combate Naval, Bayonetas, among others.


The historian Juan Carpio Muñoz narrates that the San Lázaro neighborhood was a hamlet located in the highest part of the city (at that time), where between 30 to 40 families lived, who built the temple, and that before the arrival of The Spanish, this place was presumably called Llallinhuayo.


He also asserts that despite the age of the neighborhood, the city of Arequipa was not founded there as some writers assert, but rather the foundation of the White City was in the Plaza de Armas, and this August 15 its 471st anniversary is celebrated. Anniversary.


Therefore, we invite you to visit the city of Arequipa and learn about its history, architectural beauty and its oldest neighborhood. Saint Lazarus.



The San Lázaro neighborhood is located in the Historic Center of the city of Arequipa, about 850 meters from the Plaza de Armas. It is located on the banks of the Chili River, between Juan de la Torre, Puente Grau and Jerusalem streets.


How to get?

To get to the San Lázaro neighborhood you only have to walk approximately 15 minutes from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa.



The history of the San Lázaro neighborhood is very old. In pre-Inca times, the site was occupied by the Yarabas cultures as well as Collas, Lupacas, Tiahuanacos, Carumas, Ubinas and more. At that time the site was probably called Llallinhuayo. After the Inca occupation, the Spanish arrived and founded the city of Arequipa in 1540. Then, the first mansions that were born in the city were located in this neighborhood. It is believed that its name is due to the chapel of 'San Lázaro', run by the Dominican order. Others believe that it is due to the resurrection of one of its inhabitants.


In its beginning, the neighborhood was home to the Spanish and Dominican monks. It also served as a market. Some houses and streets in the neighborhood were damaged by successive earthquakes that occurred in 1555, 1582, 1784, 1821, 1948, 1958, 1960, 1979 and 2001. In the 20th century, the neighborhood was preserved and protected. In 1972, the INC declared it a Monumental Urban Environment. Because it is part of the Historic Center of the city, it is considered a World Heritage Site (2000) by UNESCO.


The streets and squares

The streets of the San Lázaro neighborhood are narrow, paved with black cobblestones and white walls made of ashlar. Some of the most famous streets are Bayoneta Alley (with a narrow passage), Crystals Alley (which does not have sidewalks) as well as Naval Combat Alley. Also notable is the Camporredondo square (in homage to the Spanish general who lived there), which was a market and today is called the Matorral square.


The ashlar

Sillar is a volcanic stone abundant in the mountains of Arequipa, which was widely used for the manufacture of temples, palaces and houses in the city of Arequipa during the colonial era. Most of the houses in the San Lázaro neighborhood are made of this material. There is a bridge made entirely of ashlar, which connects the hermitage and the square with the other streets. Due to the proliferation of constructions with this material, Arequipa is called 'White City'. There is even a tour called 'The Sillar Route'.


How much does it cost to go?

The visit to the San Lázaro neighborhood is free. Walking through its streets and squares has no cost. It is also possible to hire the services of a tour guide who will explain to the visitor everything they need to know about this historic place.


Some advices

In addition to the San Lázaro neighborhood in Arequipa, don't miss the opportunity to get to know some of the most traditional neighborhoods in the city, such as the neighborhoods of Yanahuara, Cayma, Selva Alegre, Vallecito and more.


Some of the city's most famous celebrations take place in the traditional neighborhoods of Arequipa, such as the 'Burning of Judas'. This religious festival is celebrated every Easter Sunday by burning a doll that represents Judas. Before being consumed by ashes, a will is read criticizing the errors of society.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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