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Peru - a country of rich cultural heritage

Published: 25.11.2008
The traveller finds in Peru all - fascinating archaeological finding-places, delightful Amazon rain forests, endless desert coasts, variegated population as well as wild nature and also one of best kitchens of South American continent.

In Lima, capital of Peru, there live approx. one third of 27 millions of Peru-inhabitants. This fact causes naturally problems connected with over-population. Lima is a changeable town, full of contrasts, you can watch past beauty of colonial architecture and pre-Inca pyramides, including  ultramodern shopping centres. The churches of Lima, museums as well as buildings from colonial time-period, keep the visitor in admiration for weeks, especially museums belong to best objects of the country. Museo de la Nacion offers imaginary walking through numerous Peru pre-historical civilizations. You can find here excellent models of most known Peru-ruins and three floors of exhausting expositions regarding all types of Peru heritage. Plaza de Armas, or Plaza Mayor, was „heart of Lima“ in past times. The oldest element here is bronze fountain of 1650, and the oldest building there is Cathedral (La Catedral) of 1746. Originally, it was constructed in 1555, but it was destroyed with several earthquakes. Just beside, there is situated Archbishop Palace and Palacio de Gobierno (seat of President of Peru). The philatelists will not be disappointed with Museo Postal y Filatelico, enabling investigation, purchase and change of Peru postage stamps. To further interesting churches belong also San Francisco (1687), Santo Domingo (1540), San Pedro and San Augustin. Further, it could be recommended also Art Museum, Museum of Gold, Museum of Weapons, Car Museum, Museum of Ceramics and Nature-Historical Museum.

South coast of Peru-plain is consisted of vast areas of arid desert terrain, cut by oasis, which are established near to rivers, flowing from west Ands slopes towards the ocean. This area is very famous, thanks to its wines and, of course, thanks to pisco, Peru national drink. As far as most visited localities of this part of the country is concerned, there is to be mentioned Nazca and Huacachina. First mentioned locality was ignored till 1939. Nevertheless, Paul Kosok, American scientist, flew over the desert and saw many extended lines and pictures carved on the base. On the other hand, Nazca is overcrowded with travellers who arrive here, in order to admire mysterious pictures. Now, these pictures form part of UNESCO, World Heritage Fund. These pictures are spreaded on incredible space of 500 square kilometres of arid, with boulders covered plain of Colorado and remain as one of most archaeological mysteries of the world. Most worked out pictures present the animals, including 180 m long lizard, monkey, condor (with wings-spread of 130 m), iris or humming-bird, and along hill-slope there is a man with owl-head, reminding astronaut´s figure.

Huachina is a village, where enormous sand-dunnes are arising in backround, and they are nestling against small lagoon (this is pictured on back part of 50-sol value banconote). Lagoon is surrounded with well-grown palms, coloured flowers and coloured buildings. The area around Titicaca Lake is the next tourists´ place of interest. The lake is situated in an altitude of 3820 m above sea level, its length is more than 170 kms, and width makes 60 kms, and it presents the highest located lake of the world, where regular vessel transport is effected (it is also the greatest South American lake). Port of Puno is a base. You can visit from here remote islands of the lake, from artificial reeds islands, (constructed by Uru culture) up to most isolated lake communities, where the inhabitants live in the same way, as it was standard many centuries ago. Most famous island on Titicaca Lake, there is those of Isla del Sol (Sun Island). It is, according to the legend, native place of Manco Capac, first Inca. You find here Incas ruins, sandy beaches and interesting museum.

In the neighbourhood of the town of Cuzco, there are to be found Sacsayhuaman, Quenco, Puca Puala and Tambo Machay ruins. Sacsayhuaman is amazing finding place, important from religious as well as military point of view. Long name in Ketchua language means „satisfied falcon“. Although this finding place works in enormous way, the tourists can see only 20% of original buildings. Soon after conquista, the Spaniards destroyed most of walls. Stone blocks were used at construction of their own houses. Anyway, those greatest and most impressive stones remained - one of them weights uncredible 300 tonnes. Nevertheless, for many visitors of Peru and South America in general, there is main target only, to see Machu Picchu, lost town of Incas. Except of several aborigine Ketchuans, nobody had about existence of Machu Picchu any idea till 1911, when this place was discovered by Hiram Bingham, American historian. To those most popular elements of ruins belong: a cottage of administrator of „Funeral Rock“, Ceremony Bath, Sun Church, Snake Window, King´s Tomb, Holy Plaza, Three Windows Church, Sacristy, Central Plaza, Production Area, and Inhabitated Part. Thousands of people walk through most famous South-American Inca Trail each year. It is 33 kms long and turns up and down throughout mountain hill-sides and crosses three mountain passes. Anyway, it offers beautiful views on mountain peaks, covered with snow and rain forests. Huaraz and Cordillera Blanca are most important centres of mountaineering and trekking in Peru.

The mountains offer wide spectrum of attractions. These are, first of all, mountain peaks,permanently covered with glaciers, arising up to the peaks of 6000 m. Flora and fauna us extremely unique, you can see here vikunya (evenhoofed animal, resembling to lama), viskatchi (small rodents) and marvellous Ands-condor. Amazon basin, taking half of Peru territory, is a home of many sorts of animals and birds. Nevertheless, there are accsessible four main regions in Amazonia,for travellers, such as: Puberto Maldonado (in southeast), Manu National Park (in north, in an extention of 20000 square kilometres), Chanchamayo (in eastern direction from capital Lima) and La Merced.

Text: Jakub Štantejský

Photo: Jana Štantejská

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