About the Creative City: 

Home to over 1000,000 inhabitants, Arequipa extends through the basin of the Chili River and into the western slopes of the Misti volcano. In 2000, Arequipa was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city’s gastronomy is regarded by many as the best in South America. Arequipa traditional cuisine can be traced back nearly 3500 years, to when its countryside was shared by several ethnic groups that produced and exchanged a large variety of agricultural products. Corn was the main crop and used for the popular local drink “chicha”. Centuries later, Arequipa is famous for its Picanterías, social spaces where the traditional cuisine and contemporary modern food are combined, creating an innovative gastronomic scene for all to experience. The economic contribution derived from the gastronomic sector is significant within the region, providing over 80,000 jobs and accounting for 11.5% of the GDP.

To celebrate its cuisine and passion for food, Arequipa hosts over 150 gastronomic events and festivals every year, with large-scale commercial events such as the Festisabores, and cultural events showcasing traditional cuisine, such as the Festival de la Chicha. Both events bring together and exhibit a variety of international and traditional food from picanterías, which can provide numerous opportunities for knowledge sharing within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the chance to promote local cuisine.

To encourage the recognition and safeguarding of the culinary tradition within Arequipa, a number of training workshops and research initiatives are funded by the Provincial Municipality, local universities and gastronomic societies, with the aim to promoting social and cultural strengthening and economic development with creative sector. Technical training and workshops for women and young people with limited economic resources are also provided by the local government, with the aim of greater connecting and integrating gastronomy within the local community, as well as developing new creative talent within the city.

Added Value: 

As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Arequipa envisages:

  • developing the Programme for the Promotion of Healthy Eating, Food Security based on Arequipa culinary in vulnerable populations;
  • organizing the International Gastronomy Festival, as an international cultural exchange platform with the participation of other members of the UCCN;
  • implementing the Gastronomic Identity Complex, to strengthen the gastronomic community of small and medium agricultural producers;
  • creating the Digital Platform for Gastronomic Promotion, Culture and Business, to articulate the city’s creative economy in line with UCCN’s objectives; and
  • opening the Gastronomy Research Center that will provide a platform for knowledge exchange amongst Creative Cities.
Member since: 
Sergio Juan Salas Yaro, Focal point of Arequipa, creative.city.arequipa@gmail.com