According to Mathgeneral, Puno is the administrative center of the Puno department, located in the southwestern part of the country at an altitude of 3827 m above sea level. The city is located on the shores of the beautiful Titicaca Lake, the highest navigable lake in the world. It was founded in 1668 by the Earl of Lemos and was once considered one of the richest cities on the continent due to its proximity to the silver mines of Laikakot. Today it is a trading center, the capital of the Peruvian Altiplano (highlands).
Puno is a small town with one-story houses. The city has about 100 thousand inhabitants, who are mainly engaged in weaving. Puno was the seat of the Tiahuanaco culture, one of the most important cultures of the pre-Inca era. Today, Quechua and Aymara Indians live here. The Spaniards who appeared here in the middle of the 16th century converted the local population to the Catholic faith, built beautiful churches in a new style.
Puno is considered the folklore capital of Peru. Colorful folk festivals are held here – for example, the feast of the Virgin Mary of Candelaria, during which competitions of dancers dressed in bright outfits are held, their faces are covered with fantastic masks, and they try to outdo each other throughout the performance.
The main attraction of these places is Lake Titicaca (Titicaca). It is located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, on the Altiplano plateau. The waters of the huge (about 8000 sq. km) lake are cold all year round, the constant water temperature is + 11 ° C, but near the shores the lake often freezes at night. The maximum depth is 304 m. More than 25 rivers flow into the lake, flowing from the glaciers surrounding the highlands, and the Desaguadero River flows out. The salinity of the water is about 1%, so Titicaca is considered a freshwater lake. It has been declared a national nature reserve because many of the species found here are endemic.
There is a hypothesis that Titicaca is a part of the ocean that turned out to be cut off from it after the rise of the Western Eastern Cordillera.
Titicaca is the sacred lake of the Incas. According to legend, it was here that the Inca civilization arose, the founders of the Inca Empire, Manco Capac and Mama Oklio, emerged from its waters. Lake Titicaca has attracted historians and adventurers for several hundred years since the Europeans arrived in the area. Legends about the underwater city of Wanaku and the lost gold of the Incas are associated with it.
One of the most interesting features of the lake are the floating islands built by the ancient inhabitants of these places – the Uro Indians. The Uro built islands from lake reeds and settled on them. The last full-blooded uro died in 1959. Now their descendants, Quechua and Aymara, live on the islands. They have preserved the traditional way of life, customs, beliefs and national costumes of their ancestors. They are engaged in fishing, bird hunting and handicraft. Coastal vegetation, including reeds, is used to build their houses and boats. Each of these islands is made up of several layers of dried reeds. Islands are constantly drifting across the lake. It was the Indians of Lake Titicaca who built a cane boat for Thor Heyerdahl, on which he went to Easter Island.
The inhabitants of the coast and the islands are famous as skillful weavers. Especially rich is the choice of products from magnificent, brightly colored llama and alpaca wool on the islands of Amantani (Amantani) and Taquile (Taquile). You can get to the islands on a British ship, which was delivered to the lake by train in parts more than half a century ago. This ship “Ollanta” stops at the islands of Amantani, Taquile, Soto (Soto) and Esteves (Esteves).
28 km north of Puno, on the shores of the Humayo lagoon, you can see a large number of burial towers called “chulpas”. They were created by the Kolya people, who owned these lands long before the arrival of the Incas. Chulpas are stone structures in the form of round and conical towers, the height of which reaches 12 meters. Wealthy Indians were buried in them along with valuable things and family members, which, according to legend, provided a worthy transition to the other world.
Puno is located 1300 km from Lima (flight to Juliac – 1 hour, then bus or car to Puno – 1 hour 30 minutes), 260 km from Arequipa (travel by train takes 8 hours).
Due to the altitude, the climate in Puno is cold. There are 2 climatic seasons. In the winter season (from May to October) there are sunny days and cold nights (about 0 C and below). Summer (November to April) is the rainy season. The average temperature for the year is +9 C, the maximum temperature in the year is +24 C, the lowest temperature is +2 C.
The best time to visit Puno is from May to October.
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