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Arequipa: World Cultural Heritage


Tambos are strategically placed lodging establishments built along the Inca Empire’s network of roads and dating back to pre-Hispanic times. On the main roads, they were used by the Inca and his entourage, while on secondary routes they were intended as lodging for the state’s administrative officials. Resting spots for messengers were known as chasquiwasikuna. The system of tambos endured during the Colonial period as rest stops, staging posts for mule drivers, and storage spaces for goods. Later on, they were converted into multifamily dwellings.

In its early days, Arequipa was not like what we see today. There was another city beneath this one, and another below that, made of sun-yellow sillar and packed dirt streets in which our ancestors grew up and lived. Today, we live often without any sense of belonging, home, or community, lacking connections between the present and its historical past. Fortunately, tambos still offer us spaces that challenge the grind of “city life” with which today’s world is so concerned.

A group of collective living quarters in the historic center, the Matadero, El Bronce, and La Cabezona tambos are located primarily on Calle Puente Bolognesi. They were recovered thanks to a painstaking restoration process by the Municipality of Arequipa’s Office for the Historic Center and Landmarks, with the financial support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

Arequipa’s residents and visitors hope to give priority to revitalizing spaces passed down from generations past. The tambos of Arequipa will remain archetypes of life in community, marked by the sharing of wisdom and artistic creation. This makes them ideal not just for a visit to contemplate their beauty, but as forces to help build a collective identity as a city that coexists with the timeless nature of its landscapes, its art, and its traditions.

Through collective reappropriation, the tambos allow us to reaffirm our nature as an energetic, socially-oriented, and creative people, and offer us the chance to show these qualities to the world.

How to find us

We are in the main Google maps and Waze.
Important information

Main Hospital nearby:

  • Emergency center of Social Insurance.
  • Clinical Arequipa.


Closest police station:

  • Police Station Old Palace.