extension and population
| Brief historic
Main attractions in the capital city |
Other attractions of the department of Puno
Typical dishes and beverages |
EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Puno is located in the south eastern region
of the country. It has a rough topography with most of its
cities located in the Sierra. It limits to the north with
Madre de Dios, to the south with Tacna, to the east with Bolivia,
and to the west with Cusco, Arequipa and Moquegua
Puno has an extension of 72,382
km² (27,947 sq ml) and a population of over 1'000,000
The weather is cold and dry,
with an annual average temperature of 9°C (48°F),
going down to 3°C (37°F) during the winter.
The capital is Puno,
located on the shores of Lake Titicaca and at 3,827 m.a.s.l.
(12,555 ft). Juliaca, Azángaro, Huancané, Lampa
and Yunguyo are among the most important cities.
In ancient times, the Collao plateau
was inhabited by Aymara groups (Collas, Zapanas,
Kallahuayos and Lupacas). The Quechuas
According to chronicler Garcilazo
de la Vega, these ancient times coincide with the legend of
Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, who emerged from the waters
of the Lake Titicaca to found the Inca empire.
The Aymara culture, also
known as Putina, was the most important and influential
pre-Hispanic culture in the region.
During the Viceroyship, Puno
was the obliged route for travelers going to Potosí.
In 1668, viceroy Conde de Lemos established San Juan Bautista
de Puno as the capital of the province of Paucarcolla.
Later, it was called San Carlos de Puno, in honor of
ruling king, Charles II of Spain.
In 1870, the railway route Arequipa-Puno
was installed and navigation in Lake Titicaca started.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE CAPITAL CITY
is the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface
of 8,560 km² (3,305 sq ml) and a maximum depth of 227
mt (744 ft). It also stands out for the transparency of its
waters. There are 36 isles, the most important being, Taquile
and Amantani. It houses a great variety of birds (flamingos,
huallatas, keles, and tiquis), and fishes
(trouts, carachis, pejerreyes, suches
and ispis), among others.
The Floating Islands of the
Uros. A group of 40 floating islands formed by
totora reeds, where the people are part of one of the
oldest cultures in the continent. They live the way of their
ancestors, strictly keeping their customs and idiosyncrasy.
Isla Esteves, another
isle with a very good hotel and a most spectacular view.
Isla Taquile. The
local people are farmers and have developed an original form
of communal tourism. They receive visitors and share their
food, housing, customs and traditions.
Isla Amantani houses archeological
ruins located in the top of the hills. These were sites for
religious rites and adoration.
Chullpas de Sillustani.
An archeological area 34 km (21 ml) from the city of Puno.
It is one the most important necropolis in the world. It stands
at 4,000 m.a.s.l. (13,123 ft) in an esplanade surrounded by
the beautiful Umayo lake. Built by the Collas, the
chullpas are gigantic funerary monuments. They are
quadrangular and circular edifications of over 12 mt (39 ft)
The Cathedral. Finished
in the seventeenth century, it stands out for the quality
of its structure and the engravings in stone.
Arco Deustua. This
arched gateway built in memorial to the heroes of the independence
Battles of Junín and Ayacucho, it is
also the gathering site for the end of the Fiesta de la
Cerrito de Huajsapata
is a small hill with a monument to Manco Cápac. From
there it is possible to enjoy a complete view of the city
of Puno and the Titicaca lake.
Other city attractions include,
Museo Municipal Dreyer, Casa del Corregidor, Casa del Conde
de Lemos, Fuerte de San Luis de Alba, and Santuario de Chancharani.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUNO
an important commercial city. Santa Catalina, a church from
Viceroyal times, is one of its main attractions.
Lampa is a city with an
untouched Colonial influence. The Viceroyal church of Santiago
Apóstol stands out. It has a replica of the Pietà
by Michelangelo. Visitors can also go and see the house of
the famous deceased Peruvian painter, Víctor Humareda,
a chinchilla breeding ground, and the Lensora rupestrian
Desaguadero is a frontier
city and a crossing point to Bolivia. Close to Desaguadero
are found the 10,000 years old Pizacoma rupestrian paintings.
Chucuito is rich in archeological
vestiges, such as the phallic temple of Inca Ullo,
a place for fertility rites. Many of the Chucuito houses and
churches maintain their Viceroyal past.
where the Gran Templo de Pucará is located.
The local people are wonderful artisans and potters, famous
for their toritos de Pucará (Pucará bulls).
Yunguyo. This is a frontier
town that limits with Copacabana in Bolivia. This is a location
where several folkloric and religious festivals take place.
Chimú and Ojerani.
These are farming communities and their people are expert
Ilave. An important commercial
center, with two interesting Colonial churches. Every Sunday
there is a local fair.
Juli is an important tourist
center in the region. Its churches house very valuable pieces
of Cusqueño and Italian style paintings.
Pomata. The churches
of Santiago Apóstol and Nuestra Señora del Rosario
stand out in this location. They were constructed in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries in pink granite and with gold leaf
Zepita. A town
with beautiful churches, such as the eighteenth century Iglesia
de San Pedro, completely built in stone.
Tinajani. Located in Ayaviri,
this canyon, formed by two huge masses of rocks, is also known
as Baño del diablo (Devil Bath) because, when
it rains, very loud and terrifying sounds are heard coming
from the bottom.
Other interesting places to visit
include, Taraco, Huancané, Vilquechico, Moho, Conima,
Santa Rosa and Sandia.
DISHES AND BEVERAGES
The popular Puneño cuisine
include soups and stews based on red meat and potatoes.
Virgen de la Candelaria. Date in which the 10-day
celebration in honor of the patron of Puno starts. This first
day hundreds of dance groups from the neighboring towns pay
their tribute to the mamacha, showing the best of their
folklore and wearing their finest costumes. This is the time
to see the famous and colorful diablada where, to the
rhythm of the sikuri or panpipe players, groups of
dancers dressed as devils parade worshipping their patron.
The image of the Virgin is taken out in procession crossing
the main streets of the city of Puno. The following
days are celebrated throughout the area with fairs, festivals,
drink and dancing day and night.
Last Week of February and
First Week in March. A celebration in honor of the compadres
(godfathers) and comadres (godmothers) takes place
in Ayabaca, Juliaca. It is a festivity in which the compadrazgo
ties are renovated in every house. At the same time, people
are dancing in the streets to the rhythm of the various local
bands, and drinking incessantly.
Carnivals. Villages and
towns choose different Sundays to celebrate carnivals. The
most beautiful dances are seen during these celebrations.
The pandillas or dancing groups swing through the different
city quarters, as well local people who dance to the rhythm
of the zampoñas (rustic flutes) and bombos
March 8. Fiesta de
San Juan de Dios. The local church is surrounded by music
bands and groups of dancers who, to the rhythm of the sicuris,
pay homage to their patron saint. Devotees take an offering
with them and put it in place while they dance.
May 2 through May 5. Feria
de las Alasitas. A traditional miniature fair. On May
3, merchants sell miniature houses, cars, airplanes, money,
appliances, and any imaginable thing. After people buy their
miniatures, they take them to be blessed in front of expert
challadores. It is said that during the year, people
will get in full-size what they bought as a miniature.
July 15. Fiesta de
la Virgen del Carmen in Cabana.
August 15. Fiesta de
la Virgen de Asunta, patron of Cabana.
September 24. Fiesta
de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. It is celebrated
in the city of Juliaca, where there are also colorful fairs
of livestock, farm and commercial products, which last eight
October 8. Fiesta de
San Francisco de Asís. In Yunguyo, the local people
honor the Tata Pancho with folkloric dances, abundant
food and drink.
October 24. Anniversary
of the city of Juliaca.
November 4. Anniversary
of the city of Puno.