Puno, Folkloric Capital of Peru
The altiplano city of Puno is a city that possesses the highest sailable lake of the world, Lake Titicaca, a jewel in the Peruvian high plains. Lake Titicaca has various cultures that still exist to this very day and that live surrounding the lake.
The city of Puno is also known as the folkloric capital of Peru. In the month of February, this city celebrates the festival of the Virgin of the Candelaria. A magical festival full of lights and colors with the participation of hundreds of different dances devoted to the Virgin. The cultures, traditions and modernity of this city impulse by its main axis make this city, an attractive trip for travellers.
Lake Titicaca holds on its waters mystical floating towns that far from modern society manage to preserve all their traditions.
The Uros tribes are the more famous inhabitants of the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. These islands are renewed every year with reeds that grow from lake. This community lives the whole year on the lake in their floating islands. They have schools, health centers and different commodities for travellers such as hostels and restaurants.
Despite the fact, that the islands of Lake Titicaca are located within the same region. The tribes living on the lake do not speak the same language nor do they have the same customs. The islands of Taquile, Amantani and Uros speak different languages like the Quechua and Aymara tribes.
The city of Puno and surrounding area of Lake Titicaca are located in the Meseta del Collao, a high plain located approximately at 4000 meters above sea level. The weather in these regions can be cold and freezing; many times at nights temperatures can go below zero degrees.
The flora and fauna from these regions are perfectly acclimated to the low temperatures. The South American camelids considered being llamas, alpacas, and vicunas are at home in this harsh cold environment. Lake Titicaca is home to many species of freshwater fishes that are abundant and consists as the main diet among the islands.
The economy of the city of Puno is based on trade and informal mining, which is becoming an influential economic activity in the towns of the high plains of the Altiplano. In the smaller towns that do not possess mining activity, the main economic activities are cattling and agriculture.
The history of this beautiful city starts before the apparition of the Incan culture with civilizations as the Collanas, Lupacas and Pucaras. These civilizations gave way to the advancements of the most important in the history of Peru and of South America. The Tiahuanaco culture is considered to be one of the most important and influencing civilizations from this part of the South American continent.
This mysterious and ancient culture was the one that influenced in the construction of the great Incan empire. The cyclopean constructions of great size were the heritage of this culture which includes the structures of Chullpas of Sillustani, an architectonic monument of great size that served as mausoleums for the dead.
Legends state that Lake Titicaca was the origin of the Incan Empire. It was in this lake that the sons and daughters of the sun and moon emerged out of the water to build the city of Cusco and the mighty ancient structures of the Incan Empire.
Some historians speculate that these gods did not emerge from the lake but were in fact the people who lived in the surroundings areas of the floating islands on the lake. When a civil war occurred within the Tiahuanaco civilization, they migrated towards the valley of Cuzco.
During the colonial period, the Peruvian high plains became a place of exploitation from the people living in Andes. The descendants of the great Lords of Tawantinsuyo ruled and ordered their people with strength. These lords’ orders their people to mine in nearby mountains to hoard the riches found.
After the colonial period, the city of Cusco grew into its so called renaissance period imposed by the Spaniard settlers. The existing towns and the city itself dedicated themselves to ceramic, metal work and paintings of religious figures related to God instead of the natives’ original deities.