Capital: City of Puno
Altitude: 3.830 m.a.s.l.
Distance: not available
The province of Puno is embedded in the extense plains of El Collao at the shore of Titicaca Lake. South-east region of Peru.
The view of the city is severe and Andean; its houses with gray tin roofs stress its austere aspect. At present, it is an important agricultural and cattle-holding region. And it has a great archeological and touristic potential.
The real wealth of the zone is in the natural beauty that surrounds the city, in the beautiful waters of the Titicaca (decorated with its floating islands), in the Tower of Tinajani (with its huge stones that make it resemble a city) and in the old pre-incaic monuments (chullpas of Sillustani).
Besides, Puno is the folklore capital of Peru for the variety and beauty of its music and dances (it has more than 300 different dances, among which: La Diablada, La Morenada, La Llamerada, La Marinera Puneña and La Pandilla Puneña.
It is interesting to visit:
- The Cathedral
- Balcony of the Conde de Lemos
- Museum Carlos Dreyer
- Popular Art Museum
- Little Hill Huajsapata
- Pino Park
- Handycraft Markets from the Cahuide St. and Laykakota Av.
The Titicaca Lake and the floating islands are the biggest tourist atractiveness of the Province of Puno. The splendid landscapes and fascinating life of its inhabitants make a visit to the islands Taquile and Amantani a must.
Titicaca Lake is the highest, navigable lake in the world. It has a surface of 8.560 square kilometers and a maximun depth of 227 meters. There are 36 islands, being the most important one Taquile, Amantani, Soto, Anapia and Uros.
The Chullpas of Sillustani offer an imposing and barren landscape at four thousand meters of altitude. Around a lagoon you can behold pre-incaic circular towers that were used as tumbs for the noble people of the Aymaras.
Titicaca: A great Lake
Titicaca Lake is the highest, navigable lake of the world. It is located at 3.809 m.a.s.l., with an approximate surface of 8.560 square kilometers, a length of 194 kilometers and an average width of 65 kilometers. Its waters bear an extraordinary fauna: ducks, fish like suche, the carachi and trouts.
In its flora, the totora stands out (it serves as food for men and cattle, as well as to build houses, rafts and typical boats like the little horses of totora).
Titicaca Lake, that unites Peru with Bolivia, has 41 islands. The most important ones in Peruvian territory are: Taquile and Amantani.
These are floating islands inhabited almost completely by Aymaras mixed with the last descendants of the Urus. The inhabitants fish with rudimentary nets and live in huts built with totora.
The floating islands of the Urus are located at 5 kilometers from Puno and at an altitude of 3.810 m.a.s.l., with a cold and dry climate. It is a group of 40 big, floating islands of totora where the inhabitants still live like their ancestors.
Each island is inhabited by between 30 and 50 people.
It is considered one of the oldest towns of America, keeping its customs and traditions.
The Urus call themselves "kotsuña" = people of the lake. Their origin goes back to the time before the Inkas. They still keep their fishing traditions, especially for fish and hunt.
Juliaca is the most important city of the province. And is considered and trade center of llamas and alpacas.
On Mondays, important handicraft fairs are set up. Chucuito, located 19 kilometers away from Puno. It has a beautiful church Nuestra Señora de Asuncion and a small Inka temple dedicated to fertility.
The Juli Port, from where you can cross over to Bolivia, was an important missionary center for Dominicans and Jesuits. Excellent churches with a marked barroque stile are well conserved.
Amantani Island, located at 36 kilometers from the Port of Puno, across the peninsula of Capachica. The island is characterized for its bushes. It is interesting to visit the two natural view-points where you can see the remains of the pre hispanic temple of Pacha Tata, Pacha Mama, Incachincana, Ikca Tihana and the cementary of the mummies.
Taquile island, located at 35 kilometers from Puno, in the Chunchito bay. The place was used as a political prison until the first years of the 20th. century.
Esteves island, located at 65 kilometers from Puno. It has important archeological vestiges of the cultures Tihuanaco, Colla and Pucara. Many centuries later, during the war of Independence, it was used as a prison by the Spanish (1823 - 1824).
Archeological remains of Inka Uyo, located at 18 kilometers from Puno. Also known as the "Temple of the Fertility". The construction with 2 meters high walls and carved stones is characteristical. According to some researchers, it used to be a ceremonial center of great importance.
Archeological site of Cutimbo, located on the 22nd. kilometers of the road from Puno to Moquegua. Pre-hispanic cementery that belonged to the domain of the Lupacas and Collas. There are tracks from the times of the Inkas, besides of the cave paintings of 800 years of age.
Acheological site of Sillustani, located at 34 kilometers from Puno. Famous for the Chullpas: circular towers of stone built to keep the remains of the principal authorities of the old people from Collao. Not far away from the site, is the museum of Sitio where various pieces of the Colla, Tihuanaco and Inca cultures are kept.
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