- General Information
- Unique Country
- More Records
- Political System
- Brief History
- Legacy of Milenary Cultures
- Peru: A country with every kind of
- Natural Biodiversity
- Peru Contributions to World Nutrition
- World Recognition of UNESCO
With an area of 1’285,215 square km (496,225 sq
mi), Peru is bigger than France, Germany, Italy, Netherland
and Switzerland combined. It is the third largest country
in South America and bordered to the north by Ecuador
and Colombia, to the east by Brazil and Bolivia, to
the south by Chile and to the west by the waters of
the Pacific Ocean.
We are taught as early as kindergarden
that the country is divided in 3 geographic regions:
the coast, highlands and the jungle.
Coast (12% of
the territory): a warm climate along the coastline
that includes superb natural beaches, mysterious deserts,
fertile river valleys and exotic dry woods.
of the territory): a region of varied terrain and
temperate climate, dominated by the snow-capped peaks
of the Andes rising above 6,000 meters, the highest
of which is Mount Huascaran, at 6,768 meters (22,206
feet). It includes deep canyons such as the Colca
and Cotahuasi, the two deepest on the planet; and
high plains like the plateau of Collao, on the shores
of the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca, at
3,810 masl (12,500 feet).
Jungle or Amazonia
(60% of the territory): a region of tropical climate,
lush vegetation and abundant fauna that is part of
one of the planet's largest natural reserves. Peruvian
Amazonia is the source of the Amazon River, the largest
in the world.
Temperatures and atmospheric cycles vary from one region
Coast: There are
two clearly-defined seasons on the coast: summer (December-March),
when temperatures can reach 27ºC (80ºF);
and winter (May-October), which is damp and chilly,
with temperatures falling to 12ºC (53ºF).
Although it rarely rains on the coast, mist and drizzle
are common during the winter. The far north coast
enjoys sunshine all year round, with temperatures
reaching 35ºC (95ºF) in the summer.
climate is dry and temperate, with two clearly-defined
seasons: the dry season (May-October), with sunny
days, very cold nights and scant rainfall -the ideal
time to visit the Andes; and the rain season (December-March).
There is a sharp contrast in temperature between sun
and shade, and temperatures can often vary widely
during the same day, from 20ºC (68ºF) to
Jungle: The area
has a tropical and humid climate. There are two well-defined
seasons: the summer or dry season (April to October)
with sunny days and temperatures above 30ºC (86ºF),
and the rain season (November to March), with frequent
showers and high river levels.
Information on weather conditions
in Peru is available on the Internet:
The Peruvian often use superlatives
to describe the features of our country, for example
Lake Titicaca, the
world’s highest navigable lake at 3856 meters
(12,725 ft) above sea level or the awesome Cordillera
Blanca, which is about
180 km (112 miles) long and 20 km (12 miles) wide.
In this fairly small area, there are more than 50 peaks
of 5700 meters (18,696 ft) or higher.
In contrast, North America
has only three mountains
in excess of 5700 meters: Pico de Orizaba in Mexico,
Logan in Canada, Denali in Alaska and Europe has none.
Only in Asia can you find mountain ranges higher that
6,768 meters (22,199 ft), not only is Peru’s highest
mountain, but also the highest peak in the tropics
anywhere in the world.
The Amazon river,
the world’s mightiest, originates in Peru
and its namesake rainforest makes up much of the country.
Another wonder of Peru is the Colca’s
canyon, the globe’s
deepest and twice as deep as the Grand canyon
of the United States.
As if these were not enough, Caral,
located north of Lima, has the
privilege of being the oldest city of the Western hemisphere.
It has been proven with carbon 14 dating that this settment
was inhabited 2900 years B.C.
- Peru has the highest
railroad in the world.
- The Andean condor is the largest
flying bird in the world.
- The paiche, inhabiting the amazon
jungle, is the largest fresh
water fish in the world.
- The capibara (ronsoco) is
the biggest rodent in the world.
- The Puya Raymondi is
the tallest flower spike in the world.
- The world’s largest
black marlin, weighing 1560 pounds, according
Guiness book, was
caught off Cabo Blanco, in the northern coast of Peru.
- The world's longest waves
are in Chicama, north of Trujillo,
popular with surfers around the world.
In 2008 Peru has a population 28'534,000 habitants according to TIME ALMANAC. The coast is home to 52% of the total population,
while 36% live in the highlands and 12% in the jungle.
The population is predominantly mestizo
or racially mixed, and most speak Spanish, although
there are two important minorities: the Quechua and
Aymara, and the native population of Amazonia, which
is subdivided into 14 linguistic families and 42 ethnic
Perú is politically divided
into 25 regions:
| 1. Amazonas
| 10. Huánuco
13. La Libertad
17. Madre de Dios
| 19. Pasco
22. San Martín
|Lima es la capital del Perú.
As well as the capital, Metropolitan
Lima, which has no regional status.
Peru is a democracy whose public
powers are the Executive, headed by the President of
the Republic; the Legislature, which is a one-chamber
congress; and the Judiciary. General elections, to elect
a President of the Republic and the representatives
to Congress, are held every five years. Regional and
municipal elections are held every four years. The Constitutional President
of the Republic is Dr. Alan Garcia Perez.
Peru is one of the great originating
centers of ancient culture, along with Mexico, Mesopotamia,
India, and China. Paleolithic man left his first traces
here and began to develop villages of hunters-collectors
around 6,000 BC (as seen in Lauricocha, Huanuco). Farming
settlements began to form around 2,500 BC, growing manioc,
lima beans, quinoa, potatoes, cotton and maize.
Prior to the arrival of the Conquistadors
from Europe, Peruvian history is divided into five stages
(1200 BC - 200 BC): Small states were formed, with
the elite holding economic and religious power. Chavin
de Huantar (Ancash) belongs to this stage, with its
temple of underground passages that include monochromatic
pottery and megalithic art. Other key remains are
those of Caral (Lima) and Sechin (Ancash).
Intermediate Early Horizon
(200 BC - 600 AD): This is the era of the great centers
of regional development. The important cultures are
those of Tiahuanaco (Puno), Mochica and Lambayeque
(Lambayeque and La Libertad), Nasca and Paracas (Ica).
Tiahuanaco is known for its Chullpas or funeral towers
at Sillustani (Puno); the Mochica are famous for the
Royal Tombs of the Lord of Sipan; the Lambayeque built
the pyramids of Tucume; the Nascas made remarkable
pottery and drew the mysterious Lines in the desert;
and the Paracas wove wonderful textiles.
(600 AD - 900 AD): The epoch when the Wari culture
spread throughout the Andean region. Evidence lies
in the citadels of Wari (Ayacucho), Pikillacta (Cuzco)
and Marca Huamachuco (La Libertad).
Late Intermediate Horizon
(900 AD - 1400 AD): This period is marked by a group
of regional states with well defined cultural features.
The important cultures are those of Chimu and Chincha
on the coast; Cajamarca and Huanta in the highlands;
and Chachapoyas in the north jungle. The structures
of this period are the Chimu citadel of Chan Chan
(La Libertad), the funeral center of the Windows of
Otuzco in Cajamarca, and the Chanchapoyan citadel
of Kuelap (in Amazonas).
Late Horizon (1400
AD - 1532 AD): This is the period predominated by
the Incas, native to Cusco, who built an imperial
form of government throughout the entire Andean world.
Their main legacy is the architectural contribution
in the buildings and constructions in Cusco. This
period concludes in 1532 with the Spanish Conquest.
The Colonial period developed between 1532 and 1821,
from which there is a magnificent artistic heritage.
Examples include paintings such as those of the so-called
Cusco School; architecture as in the Santo Domingo
convent in Cusco (built on the ancient Inca temple
of Koricancha) and the convent of Santa Catalina in
Arequipa. Independence was declared on July 28, 1821
and later consolidated with the victory of the Battle
of Ayacucho on December 9, 1824.
A center of cultural dissemination.
The ancient inhabitants of this territory began domesticating
animals around 6,000 BC, and to develop farming even
earlier in 8,500 BC. This process was simultaneous on
the coast, in the Andes and in Amazonia. In fact, the
Andean area which we call ancient Peru - where the cultures
of Chavin, Tiahuanaco, Cajamarca, Recuay, Moche, Chimu,
Lambayeque, Paracas, Chincha, Nasca and Wari developed
and were later joined under the Inca Empire- is one
of the world's first and greatest agricultural centers
and one of the major areas from which universal culture
spread, together with Mesopotamia, China, India and
OF MILENARY CULTURES
Despite its rugged and inhospitable
territory, this country is the cradle of highly developed
cultures - the most famous being, the Inca civilization.
These cultures thrived thousands
of years before the arrival of Europeans. As time has
passed, the archeological remains of these cultures
form the main tourists attractions of the country and
they are the reason that millons visit.
Because Cuzco was the capital of
the Incan Empire, the main archeological remains are
located in and around this city.
The highlight of many travelers is Machu Picchu,
considered by many to be the 8th
wonder of the world.
Peru is also home of the Nazca lines
etched on its coastal desert, as well as the funerary
towers called chullpas near Lake Titicaca.
Near Trujillo is Chan Chan, the largest
pre-columbian mud city in the world and north of Chiclayo
is the burial site of the Lord of Sipan,
whose finding in 1987, constituted the archeological
discovery of the century in Peru.
Almost every year archeological
remains are being discovered. The National Geographic
magazine in its issue of May 2002, describes the discovery
of one of the largest incan cemeteries yet found in
The peruvian newspaper El Comercio in an extensive article
published on february 27 of 2005, informed that there
was a recent discovery of a series of human figures,
antropomorph and zoomorph and the principal divinity
of the Paracas culture, in the south of Peru, province
of Palpa in the Region of Ica.
These geoglyphs belong to the Paracas
culture which developed between 1300 BC-AD 200,long
before the Nasca culture which developed between 300
BC-AD 700. They occupy an area of 90 square miles.
The archaelogist Johny Isla, Chief
of the Archaelogical Project Nasca-Palpa says that this
complex is composed of 50 figures, consisting of human,
animal such as birds, the monkey, felines and the main
divinity of the Paracas culture :"oculado god",
named for its prominency of the head and eyes. The same
god is represented in the famous textiles of Paracas.
COUNTRY WITH EVERY KIND OF TOURIST RESOURCE
Peru is one of very few countries
whose inventory of tourism resources includes every
type recognized by world tourism specialists:
- Natural locations, with a variety
of eco-systems and a high degree of biodiversity in
world terms; it is one the few countries in the world
that can offer the traveler sun and beaches, snow
sports, and adventure in the tropical jungle at any
time of year.
- Historical structures that show
the signs of civilization from paleolithic times through
various stages of Andean cultures until they reached
their prime in the grand buildings of the Incas.
- Folklore, with expressions of dance,
music, gastronomy and crafts that are unique to each
one of the regions.
- Remarkable human achievements such
as the temples and fortresses built at high altitudes
(Chavin, Kuelap, Machu Picchu), the mysterious Nasca
Lines, and colonial churches.
- Programmed events in which visitors can
participate, such as the case of many popular
festivals -Corpus Christi in Cusco or the Virgen de
la Candelaria in Puno- which are held throughout the
Peru has sparked a series of world
records that would astonish even the most skeptical
researcher. Due to the astounding variety of climates
and ecosystems, it is among the world’s top eight
nations in terms of biodiversity where one can find
84 of the 104 life zones existing around the planet.
Thirteen percent of the Amazon tropical
forests are in Peru, and Peru ranks 8th in the world
for total forest area. The Colca and Cotahuasi canyons,
in Arequipa, vie for first place as the deepest on earth.
The largest river in the world, the Amazon, begins in
Peru and most of the world's highest navigable lake,
Titicaca, is within Peruvian territory.
Peru is one of only 12 countries
in the world that rank as biological megadiversity.
There are almost 25,000 species of plants (10% of the
world total), of which 30% are only found in Peru.
In wildlife, it ranks top in diversity
of fish (2,000 species, equal to 10% of the world's
species), first in birds (1,816 species, including the
Peru is also home to about 10% of
all mammals and reptiles living on the planet and more
than 20% of the earth’s birds. The late Theodore
Parker III, famous American field ornithologist once
said “Peru offers bird enthusiasts more than any
other country in the world…Being here is like
being a child visiting a huge store filled with new
and fascinating toys. He was right.
Third in amphibians (379 species,
including the black crocodile), third in mammals (462
species, including the ocelot and black spectacled bear),
and first in butterflies.
It ranks second in the world for
its variety of primates 35 species, including the unique
woolly, yellow-tailed monkey.
There are 460 species of mammals
that are catalogued as original to Peru, 1,745 species
of birds, 297 species of reptiles, 332 amphibians, 1,800
ocean and fresh water fish, and thousands of species
of mollusks, spiders and insects.
The insects also deserve special
mention. On one single tree in the Tambopata amazon
in Peru`s southeast, scientists identified over 5000
different species, including more ant species that can
be found in all of the british isles. Amazing, right?
In Peru, the Orchidaceae family
features some 3,000 species, most of which grow in the
tropical jungle on the eastern slopes of the Andes:
the cloud forest region. There, amidst the exuberant
vegetation produced by nearly 5,000 mm of rainfall a
year, orchids multiply, forming veritable natural gardens.
In the far northwest of Peru, in the departments of
Tumbes y Piura, one can find several attractive species
of orchids such as the Cattleya maxima, with large,
violet flowers. To the east, the department of Amazonas
features vast stretches of cloud forest which are a
haven for a series of striking orchids such as the Masdevalia.
The Mayo River Valley, in the department of San Martín,
has been dubbed "the land of orchids", where
one can find the Cattleya rex, considered a symbol of
the region's wildflowers.
Huánuco is the gateway to
the tropical jungle and an ideal place for orchid lovers:
cloud forests and dense vegetation which hide hundreds
of plants, including the Epidendrum which grow on tree
branches, amongst rocks or on ground-based moss.
The Cordillera Blanca mountain range and the Callejon
de Huaylas valley in the department of Ancash add to
a breath-taking landscape the chance to spot interesting
varieties of native orchids, including the wakanku (Masdevalia
The Chanchamayo Valley in the department
of Junín is home to an ideal series of circuits
for orchid fans. One particularly interesting trail
is the route that runs through Pampa Hermosa and Monobamba,
outside San Ramon, where one can find an enormous diversity
of species such as the Royal Butterfly (Psychopsis sanderae)
and the lovely Star of David (Huntleya vargasii).
Finally, the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary is home
to more than 200 orchid varieties. The finest include
the wakanki, which in the Quechua language means "you
will weep" (Masdevalia vetchiana), and wiñaywayna,
"forever young" (Epidendrum secundum). The
best way to study orchids and at the same time take
in the spectacular countryside is to hike the Inca Trail,
which links Qorihuayrachina (on the outskirts of Ollantaytambo),
with the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
TO WORLD NUTRITION
Peru has contributed the potato
and corn to world nutrition, which together with wheat
and rice are mankind's four basic foods.
The following .crops are some of
the species original to Peru: cotton, coca, cinchona
tree for quinine, several types of aji peppers, hebs
and seasonings such as achira, achiote, huacatay, palillo;
grains such as quinoa, cañihua, kiwicha and tarwi;
tubers including potatoes, manioc, sweet potato, maca,
oca and olluco; squash; fruits including camu-camu,
chirimoya, cocona, granadila, guanabana, guarana, guava,
lucuma, maracuya, pacae, papaya, tumbo, tuna cactus
fuit, and sweet cucumber; and flowers including heliotrope,
the yellow cantuta, and eucaris.
The historic - cultural and ecological
wealth of Peru has been recognized by UNESCO (United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization),
an agency of the U.N. with its head-quarters in Paris,
with the designation of ten world heritages sites. They
- Cuzco City (designated in 1983)
- Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary (1983)
- Archaelogical Site of Chavin (1985)
- Huascaran National Park (1985)
- Manu National Park (1985)
- Chan Chan Archaelogical zone (1988)
- Rio Abiseo National Park (1990)
- Historic Center of Lima (1991)
- Nazca Lines (1994)
- Historic Center of Arequipa (2000)
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