ABOUT Peru

Peru

Peru

Peru sits in the northwestern quadrant of the South American continent & shares International borders with Chile to the south, Bolivia & Brasil to the north & east & both Colombia & Ecuador to the north.

This is a land with a mystical & mythical past. Steeped in the history of a brilliantly advanced ancient indigenous Inca Indian culture, conquered by the Spanish & plundered for the riches that their gold brought, it remains today a true 'treasure' to explore.

Climate here ranges from the mild temperate coastal influences of Lima, to the chills of the high Andes & most everything in between . On the other side of those mighty Andes mountains where Peru meets Brasil, lies the source of the world's longest river system - the Amazon - it's here that the elements of high rainfall, humidity & heat all converge to create a massive rainforest eco system.

Peru holds a fascination for those persons who pursue advancement across a vast spectrum of learning & self improvement. Scholars, naturalists, botanists, ornithologists, historians, archaeologists & those who believe in other life beyond our universe, all can & do revel in their respective pursuits, here in Peru.

From Iquitos & the origins of the Amazon; Puerto Maldonado; the unexplained Nazca Lines which many think have origins or perhaps were left as signals for space travellers in times long, long ago; the former Inca Capital of Cuzco high in the Andes & more recently discovered Machu Picchu -the 'Lost City of the Incas'- happened upon in 1911; to the modern bustling major population center of Lima, Peru is exquisite.

And we cannot forget that a trip to Peru would not be complete without a crossing of Lake Titicaca from Puno & a visit to the birthplace of the Inca nation, Sun Island.

Come, venture into this land in which time has stood still & awaken your senses to the lilting, whispering wonder of sounds & sights immortal.

Machu Picchu - 'The lost city of the Incas'

This citadel is known throughout the world for its amazing ruins & unusual location high on the mountain overlooking the mighty currents of the Urubamba River. Without doubt, Machu Picchu was a part of an extensive & much greater complex of fortresses which defended the Andean lands in the Sacred valley from assault from Indian peoples of the jungles.

This is the place probably constructed in the 15th century in a very inaccessible location, it is the greatest achievement of the Inca architects due to the intelligence & daring of the design. Even today, nobody has been able to solve the mystery as to how the engineers & workers managed to transport the enormous blocks of limestone to the top of this mountain to enable the city to be built.

It has a total area of 13 sq kms & its main functions were military & religious. At one time in its history, it was surrounded by a wall topping 6 metres & 1.80 metres thick. The outer walls & inner wall are constructed of limestone & the doors & frames of durable hardwood. The ceilings were made of platted woven straw thatch.

The city was designed in four distinct quadrants - the northwestern sector being used for religious purposes, sacrifices & astronomy as here, a huge limestone block - 'Intuatana' - which translates from the native Quechua language as "place where the sun is bonded" - remains. This is place the solar observatory was situated & that allowed the Incas to have an almost exacting track of time & seasons by the sun casting shadow on the stone.

Here too, the Priests Mansion, the Sacred Temple & the Temple of Three Windows stood.

The largest residences are located on the northeastern sector. On the southwestern sector luxurious residences & a watchtower were located & it is surmised that this part of the Citadel was the heart of all urban activities. To the southwest are located the smallest & most humble of the dwellings around very narrow streets close to numerous terraces constructed for agricultural purposes, as denoted by the proximity of an aqueduct system.

In the lowest part of the terraces is the cemetery where 135 skeletons, 109 of them female have been unearthed. This has lead archeologists & scientists to believe Machu Picchu was likely to have been heavily weighted with a female population, who were the chosen ones of the Inca, fleeing from the city of Cuzco as it was overrun by the Spaniards.

NAZCA - Mystical Lines & Geoglyphs in the Desert

The Nazca pampa is one of the largest deserts on Southern Peru's coastline, located 400kms south of the capital city of Lima & between the Pacific Ocean & the Andes mountain range. The desert is occasionally cut by small rivers which run unseasonably in summer months ( December to March ) & transpose this arid land to a short-term fertile oasis. Nazca is the name given to of the most famous pre-Colombian cultures ( 200 BC - 500 AD ) internationally reputed for their pottery & the impressive lines drawn in the desert of the Palpa & San Jose pampa.

It can be determined from the funerary furnishings & findings that the diversity of human society was indeed a complex one. Nazca pottery & indeed, textiles, show a great deal of advanced technique practiced by expert craftsmen. There is little doubt these objects were highly prized as they adorned the most noble of burial tombs.

The peoples who inhabited these inland valleys had a vast knowledge of agriculture, hunting & fishing. Amongst the edible plants they cultivated & annually harvested were corn, sweet potatoes, beans, pallares, yucca, peanuts & chicory as well as fruit trees such as lucuma, pacae & guava. They also planted for industrial use - cotton, agabe & huarango. Llamas & alpacas provided them with wool for weaving & skins for leather clothing & they applied advanced methods of irrigation thanks to a novel hydraulic technique known as 'pukios'- filtering galleries which helped them halt the progress of the desert across their captured arable lands.

The Nazca Lines consist in a series of huge geoglyphs traced & carved into the ground on the pampa of Palpa & San Jose & the surrounding hillsides. They come in various patterns extending from lines, geometric drawings & naturalistic figures spread over an area of some 450 sq kms. The straight lines - some of them several kilometres long - are drawn in all different directions. Elsewhere they travel in pairs & in a few cases a single line wanders across the desert floor.

The geometric drawings assume the shape of a trapezia, circles, spirals, zig-zags & concentric figures of various shapes. They usually connect to long straight lines that run off to the horizon.

A lesser number of them represent animals, plants & even anthropomorphic forms as found on examples of their pottery. These are undoubtedly the most remarkable features. Animal designs include a dog with long legs & a tail, a whale, two llamas, birds such as a heron, a crane, a pelican, a gull, the famous hummingbird & a parrot. Reptiles include a lizard, an iguana & a snake while one also comes across the vast & imposing figures of the spider, the monkey & the snail.

One etching on the desert floor is of a bird with a long sinuous neck & beak pointing towards a rising sun. It is almost 300 metres long & 54 metres wide. Is this an ancient sundial or reference point to the shortest day perhaps, as if you stand looking out from the tip of the beak at sunrise between June 21 & 23 each year, the sun crests the horizon exactly at that apex. In addition to the 180 metres lizard & 135 metre pelican there is also a 135 metre long condor. The monkey is also 135 metres long & is thought to perhaps represent the constellation of the Great Bear.

Various interpretations have been put forward to explain the function or indeed, the meaning of these exquisite etchings that are timeless. Amongst the most notable is the theory of a astronomical calendar, while others suggest they are signals to extra-terrestrial beings & form a 'sacred road'. Still other noted scholars are convinced they are pilgrimage routes to a final place of worship.

There is likely an element of truth in almost all of the hypotheses, since the lines & drawings of the Nazca, did at one time or another, presumably form several functions at once. Certainly, the astronomical information these peoples retained, was likely held in the heads of a chosen few, handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.

The 'reading' of the lines was likely to have been accompanied by ritual ceremonies, perhaps during the solstices & equinoxes. In support of that line of thinking, archaeological evidence indicates that during much of its history, Nazca society was governed by a rigid theocratic structure.

Therefore the Nazca lines were consequently both a technical resource & an ideology; a technical resource in that they made seasonal prediction & forecasts possible & ideological in that they played a huge role in the religious trappings of the people, expressing values, beliefs, rites & social activities that contributed to group cohesion.

The real impact of the Nazca Lines is not however seen from ground level - in fact, they are quite hard to make out fully or at least to comprehend their dimensions from a human viewpoint. The best way by far to appreciate the vastness, the accuracy & the intricate details of the Nazca Lines & animal, bird, mammal, insect & reptile etchings is by taking a short flight in a light aircraft which will allow you to witness the magnificence of the art that was achieved by a people who had no way to replicate this view. After taking this flight make up your own mind - are the scholarly hypothesis correct, or indeed, is there a possibility they were created for or by visitors to our planet from another galaxy ?

Itineraries in Peru
Taste of Peru

Taste of Peru

Captivating Peru

Captivating Peru

Spirit of Peru

Spirit of Peru

Peruvian Amazon Cruise

Peruvian Amazon Cruise

Captivating Peru with  LATAM

Captivating Peru with LATAM

Mystical Peru

Mystical Peru

South America at its Best

South America at its Best

Breathtaking South America

Breathtaking South America

Gold, Silver & Sun

Gold, Silver & Sun

DESTINATIONS MAP