Puno

Peru, Lima, The Plaza de Armas

Puno is the capital and largest city of the Puno Region and Province in Southeastern Peru. The city of Puno, which lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is the folklore capital of Peru and the site of the Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria.

It is located near Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, home to the Uros of the floating reed islands, and from where legend claims the founders of the Inca Empire emerged. Altitude is over 3.8 km above sea level.

The Spaniards founded the city of Puno in 1668. It is a city rich in local mestizo art, the fusion of native and Spanish styles in its colonial balconies, weavings and pottery. However, a greater attraction lies a bare 10 blocks from the main square: Lake Titicaca, which covers an area of 8,560 square kilometers and which local fishermen row across on rafts made from totora, a type of reed that grows along the shore.

Legend has it that from the waters of Lake Titicaca emerged Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, the mythical founders of the Inca empire. The area also gave rise to one of the greatest pre-Inca civilizations, that of Tiahuanaco, the maximum expression of the ancient Aymara people.

Mysterious Inca burial tombs known as chullpa circle the lake, and the floating islands of Uros are also of great interest. The islands are constructed from layer upon layer of tortora reeds, a prolific plant that grows in the shallows of Lake Titicaca. A National Reserve, the region is home to over 60 species of high altitude birds including Flamingos, and Vicuña can be seen grazing along its tranquil shores. The nearby town of Puno is the main port of Lake Titicaca, and while its climate is stark, Puno is a place of rich history and tradition.

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