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It is a city on the shores of the Titicaca lake at about 3800 meters above sea level. The Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and is shared by Peru in its western side and Bolivia in the eastern. The mythical Titicaca is the spot where according to oral tradition Manko Qhapaq and his wife, the founders of the Inka civilization appeared. Puno is located in the ancient Collasuyo of the Incas, the Altiplano (high plateau) a broad territory between 3800 and 4200 meters. The inhabitants of the Collasuyo speak mostly Aymara, the old language rivaling the Inkas’ Quechua. The air is somewhat rarefied due to the high altitude and its consequent lack of oxygen so try to take it easy when staying around here.

 

The Puno City was founded by the Spaniards in 1668 and was an important point serving the colonial administration. It has many remains of colonial architecture and specially churches like the one of Lampa that contains nice pieces of art. Today Puno is considered as the Folklore Capital of Peru due to the diversity of folk dances and music existing in the region; their top festivity is during the week of the Candelaria Virgin by February, a whole week of dancing, singing and drinking alcohol.

 

The main attractions in the area are:

 

The Uros Islands, they are small floating islands artificially built with totora reeds (the natural reeds growing in the lake). They are inhabited by small organized communities; the Uros people are mainly fishers and hunter of marine birds; but they even have small farmlands in those floating lakes for growing different vegetables.   

       

The Sillustani Chullpas, Chullpa is a circular shaped tower used as cemetery. As there were mummies inside those buildings they were looted in colonial times, so now it is somewhat difficult to know many aspects of those stone buildings. The quality of their walls is excellent having many characteristics of the Imperial Inkan architectural type. 

 

The Taquile Island, is a beautiful somewhat large island in the Titicaca Lake. Its inhabitants speak quechua and they still keep many aspects of the way of life of their ancestors, centuries ago. The visit to Taquile takes the whole day but it is possible to stay overnight in the island, getting lodge in the house of one of the local families (they were arranged for that purpose). The weavings produced in Taquile are very elaborate, they are hand made by the male weavers. 

 



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