The amazing city of Punu was founded in the year 1668, by the then viceroy with the long name; Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro. Puno used to have as long names as its founder, when it was once the capital of the Paucarcolla region.
Today, the city houses 149,064 inhabitants and is an important agricultural region. Therefore, the typical Peruvian animals llamas and alpacas are also an important part of everyday life. Another large part of the city’s economy comes from the Black Market , where cheap goods are smuggled in from Bolivia.
The city of Puno is located in southeastern Peru, where it acts as the capital of the region of even the same name. Behind the beautiful city, the mountains tower high while Lake Titicaca dances beautifully in front.
The climate in Puno is strongly influenced by the otherwise amazing nature that surrounds the city. Furthermore, the elevation in Puno is so steep that in some areas cars can not drive at all. These factors are the reason for the city’s low average temperature of just 8.4 degrees.
Experiences in Puno
Los Uros (Floating Islands)
In Lake Titicaca just outside Puno, 86 islands float around. All are made of reeds and were created to avoid the dominant behavior of the Incas on the mainland. On the islands, the inhabitants have formed their very own cultural form. It is both unique, unique and extremely admirable.
Not all islands are possible to visit, but the vast majority are. Tourism has become a mainstay for many of the residents, who have made a living out of selling souvenirs to the visitors. Furthermore, totorasiv, hunting and fishing are the livelihoods of the inhabitants.
However, you no longer have to fear floating away on a lake when you visit Los Uros. All islands are attached to the bottom with anchors. To the surprise of many, the inhabitants live relatively modern on the floating islands. Among other things, several cabins have solar cells on the roof, so that they can watch cable TV.
The coca plant, which is best known for being the main ingredient in the drug cocaine, has its origins in South America. Especially for Peru and Bolivia, but also for the rest of South America, the plant has a very special historical significance.
The Indians and Inca people worshiped the special plant, and considered it to be a blessing to the country. They chewed the leaves in difficult times, when working days were relentless and hunger unbearable.
In the 16th century, when the Spaniards came into being, they took advantage of the population’s dependence on the coca plant and turned it into a pure business. During this time, the Coca plant was a large part of the churches’ income.
The Coca plant is still used in South America, and its timeline from ancient Inca times to the present can be experienced at the Coca Museum in Puno. Despite the museum’s modest size, it is both interesting and enlightening. If you are making your way through Puno, you should also visit the Coca Museum.
The oldest steamship on Lake Titicaca is the British cannon ship Yavari , which is located near the city of Puno. Whether you are a ship enthusiast or not, the Yavari is definitely an experience worthy. The ship today functions as a museum and dormitory.
Yavari’s history begins in Birmingham, England, where the ship and its sister ship Yapura were built in 1862. However, the ship was shipped to Puno in parts. The trip went around northern Chile, by train to Tacna and finally by mules across the Andes to Puno. The long arduous journey took a total of six years.
On Christmas Day 1870, the huge ship was finally launched at Lake Titicaca. Back then, coal was in short supply, which is why the ship was fired up with the llama’s’ excrement. Although it is many years since the ship was retired from the Peruvian Navy, Yavari continues to sail across Lake Titicaca seven times a year.
About three kilometers drive from Puno you will find the historically famous area of Sillustani. Here belonged the old and somewhat shy colla people. They had a tradition of burying their leaders in chullpas , which were a kind of tomb built of stone, shaped like small towers.
Food and gifts were always placed in the graves for the last journey of the deceased. These treasures are all gone today, but in return, several of the chullpas remain well-preserved. In addition to the historic construction, there is also plenty of nature to see in the area.
The Sillustani peninsula juts out into the beautiful lake Lago Umayo, where a varied plant and animal life takes place. Here are lots of exquisite waterfowl to watch. Here you can also experience the endangered llama-like species vicuña.
Just a short half hour drive from Puno, lies a small but incredibly exciting village called Chucuito. The city has a modest population of about 7,913 inhabitants. Here is a rather unique tourist attraction called “Templo de la Fertilidad” .
In the area, several phallus figures of stone of all sizes vary. Some are up to 1.2 meters high. The stories of these are many. One of the things that really makes people turn a deaf ear is that women traveled here and sat on the figures. They believed that this behavior would increase their fertility.
The modest village of Chucuito, is located in beautiful surroundings and a walk in the town can clearly be recommended. As many as two magnificent colonial churches have also found a place in the city. Both Santo Domingo and Nuestra Señora de la Asunción can be visited.
The dominance of the Inca Empire
In Puno, it was not only Inca people who settled. Native American tribes also lived in the Puno area. However, they were not confident in the dominant behavior of the Inca tribe. Therefore, the Indians fled from the harsh mainland of Puno, and instead moved out to the floating islands, Los Uros.
The islands are artificially constructed of reeds, and are fastened to the bottom with anchors. All 86 islands continue to float around Lake Titicaca, just as the Native American tribes continue to live here. They have done business out of the tourists’ visits, as well as fishing.
The city’s long name
Inside the city, things also happened. After the arrival of the Spaniards in Puno in the 16th century, the city was named San Carlos de Puno in honor of King Charles II of Spain. It took several years before the city’s long name was shortened to Puno.
Also during the Spanish rule in Peru, several churches were built in Puno. These were used to serve the Spanish people, as well as to convert the natives to the Catholic faith. Many of the churches still stand and throne beautifully in Puno.