MUNDO ALPACA, LIVING THE ALPACA EXPERIENCE

¿WHAT IS MUNDO ALPACA?

Mundo Alpaca is a splendid ecological -tourism complex, located right in the centre of Arequipa city in the historical area called San Lázaro, where the city was founded. In one single place there can be found Andean colonial architecture and green areas, a live exhibition of alpaca processing – from raising the animals through to handcrafting and industrial manufacture – and an appreciation of alpaca’s direct relationship with the rich textile culture of our country.

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Inaugurated in 2006, on the 75th anniversary of Michell & Company, Mundo Alpaca constitutes a cultural contribution to the city of Arequipa, the world’s alpaca capital, and seeks to enrich the city’s tourist attractions.

Mundo Alpaca was designed with a view to offering visitors, free of cost, the chance to enjoy and “live the alpaca experience” while interacting directly with these animals in beautiful natural surroundings.

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Moreover, visitors are able to watch live demonstrations of traditional fibre-sorting techniques and traditional weaving with backstrap looms, in addition to visiting the interesting Museum of Textile Machinery, the only one of its kind in Peru.

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Mundo Alpaca also has a Grupo Michell factory-outlet store and a boutique which offers the exclusive Sol Alpaca line.

¿WHAT WILL YOU DISCOVER?

Alpacas and Llamas

Mundo Alpaca enables the visitor to get to know alpacas and llamas and their different breeds; a special attraction is the exhibition of baby alpacas and baby llamas born recently at the complex.

The characteristic, natural surroundings of the exhibition allow the visitor to interact directly with the animals, which is an unforgettable experience.

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Sorting the fibre

Mundo Alpaca provides a live demonstration of the age-old traditional process of alpaca sorting. This is the first and fundamental operation for the industrial processing of the fibre.

As soon as the greasy alpaca is received from the herdsmen and Andean communities, it goes to the sorting centres where it is classified by hand according to origin, grade, colour and staple length. This task is carried out by expert women who apply sorting techniques handed down to them by successive generations of fibre-sorters from times predating the Spanish conquest.

Sorting cannot be mechanized; the variable characteristics of the fibre can be assessed only by experienced hands and eyes.

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De-hairing Vicuña

Mundo Alpaca presents a demonstration of how vicuña is de-haired.   The coarse guard hairs which occur naturally among the fine fibre of the fleece are removed manually.

This manual task is first carried out in the rural communities where the fibre originates.  It is then perfected at our company’s de-hairing centres; skilled hands carry out this task to 100% perfection using the ancient traditional techniques still employed by the Andean people.

The de-haired fibre is then very carefully washed by hand in lukewarm water and set out to dry naturally without the use of any forced ventilation.

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Textile Museum

This interesting and unique Museum of Textile Machinery presents the visitor with a view of the origins of the world’s alpaca industry, exhibiting interesting machines dating from the early years of the past century.  A clear explanation is provided of the industrial processing of alpaca fibre from sorting through to the finished product – more than a century of history.

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Art Gallery

Since 1981, Michell & Company has been holding its annual Art Competition, the longest-established of any in Peru, with the participation of hundreds of painters. The results are widely disseminated by means of exhibitions in different parts of the country, making it unequivocally the most important art contests in Peru and one of the most prominent in America.

In addition, since 2008, the contest has included a section for traditional textiles, inviting dozens of handcraft artists and rural communities from the Peruvian Coast, Highlands and Jungle, thus contributing to the dissemination of this traditional art form.

Mundo Alpaca has three exhibition rooms displaying the prizewinning works of the competition sponsored by Michell & Company, in both watercolours and oils, and traditional textiles. This permanent exhibition presents Peru through a highly sophisticated artistic experience.

This year, the 34th Michell National Art Competition is to be held, once more encouraging the hand-woven textiles category, reinforcing the uninterrupted support for the Peruvian artist and opening up a world of opportunities for him or her.

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Boutique and Factory outlet

Sol Alpaca is an exclusive brand from Michell & Company, the world’s leading industry in the production and export of alpaca items since 1931, and the name of the chain of stores located in Peru’s main cities.

Sol Alpaca presents annual, exclusive collections of very sophisticated contemporary garments for men and women; there are also accessories and articles for the home. Products can be found in the following lines: Seasonal, Hand-made, Eco, and Premium – all of which are made with Peru’s finest fibres, such as alpaca and vicuña.

The mission of Sol Alpaca is to maintain the Peruvian textile tradition, producing garments and accessories that harmonize our ancient legacy with the latest high technology.

The collection uses solely natural and noble fibres and the production processes are completely friendly to the natural environment.

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  1. Pingback: Exploring Arequipa – Tourist Style – Reading Bones – Anthropology in Practice

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