Arequipa is the capital city of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. With a population of 836,859 it is the second most populous city of the country. Arequipa lies in the Andes mountains, at an altitude of 2,335 meters above sea level; the former snow-capped volcano El Misti overlooks the city.
The city has many colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock, from which it gets the nickname La Ciudad Blanca ("The White City"). Reportedly, it first acquired this nickname in the colonial era, because most of its inhabitants were Creole of Iberian descent. The Historic Centre Of Arequipa was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, in recognition of its architecture and historic integrity.