The city of Puno is the capital of the highland region department of the same name. Located at 3827m above sea level the weather is cold and dry, especially at night time. The city was founded in November 1868 by the Spanish count Lermos and for several years since then, the city has been known as the official City of Folklore of Peru. All through the year numerous festivals filled with music and dance take place in the city, most popular of which are the “10 day celebration in honor of the patron of Puno” and the feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria in February, notorious for its devil dancers.
Additionally, the foundation of Puno is celebrated in the first week of November and every Sunday thePlaza de Armas sets the scene for military parades, music and ceremonies. On the 4th and 5th of November huge and colorful processions with masked dancers celebrate the beginning of the Inca Empire which is said to have been when the first king of the Incas Manco Capac and Mama Occlo rose from the waters of the beautiful nearby Lake Titicaca to found the city of Cusco.
The most popular tourist attraction of Puno is Lake Titicaca which is the highest navigable lake in the world as well as one of the largest Latin American lakes. Presiding between Bolivia and Peru at a swindling altitude of 3800 meters above sea, Lake Titicaca is an unforgettable experience for any tourist. The first inhabitants of the lake were several small indigenous communities who lived on floating islands made from totora reeds. Today some of these ancient societies still exist and continue to live on the reed islands in the waters of Lake Titicaca. One of these remaining island cultures is the Uros who continue to maintain their customs and way of life. Furthermore, the lake was as mentioned above, a sacred place for the Incas, as they believed that Manco Capac was born of the lake. Additionally they believed that the lake created the world when a god named Viracocha rose from the waters to create the sun, moon and stars as well as the first people on earth. Visitors can boat through the lake and visit the ancient cultures whom still live on the floating islands in order to learn about the lake peoples’ interesting cultural customs, way of life and beliefs. Another great tourist attraction is the archeological site of Sillustani also called the city of the dead because it was once a pre-Incan burial ground. The tombs consisted of circular above ground towers called Chullpas which housed the remains of complete mummified families who were most likely members of the local nobility. The site which is located 30 km outside of Puno is believed to have been left behind by the pre-Incan culture of the Colla people, the Aymara, who were conquered in the 15th century by the Incas.
The majority of the native residence of Puno are of Aymara ethnicity and make up a total of 12.9% of the entire Peruvian population. As they are living at an average altitude of 4.000 meters above sea level in a cold climate they have adapted to their living conditions, which is why they have dark skin, a high lung capacity and 2 more liters of blood, with high levels of red corpuscles, more than the average person. Many of the residence of Puno are dedicated to either agriculture or the elaboration of arts and crafts such as fabrics and alpaca wool of which there is a plentitude as the mountains surrounding Puno are filled with herds of alpacas and llamas. The citizens of Puno are friendly which creates a nice atmosphere for visitors and there are plenty of charming and excellent restaurants catering to every preference.
Visit Puno, the City of Folklore and the highest navigable lake in the world and experience a world of folklore and culture unlike anything else. Joyful cultural demonstrations and spectacular scenery is just a few of the things you can expect from a visit to Puno. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a great offer or tailor your own trip fitting your specific personal needs and preferences. If you are interested in Machu Picchu Travel we can also offer several interesting packages.