Corpus Christi Festival, Cusco
Photograph by Ernesto Ghigna, My Shot
Each June, Peruvians dressed up like patron saints and virgins travel to the Plaza de Armas in Cusco for the festival of Corpus Christi. Although the celebration has Catholic roots, many anthropologists believe it also includes ancient Peruvian traditions.
Photograph by Tanawat Likitkererat, My Shot
Experts believe that Machu Picchu was one in a series of royal Inca estates built in the Urubamba Valley. To researchers, the site’s multiple observation points suggest that the Inca worshipped the sun, and its location, surrounded by rivers and mountains, indicates a reverence for nature.
Photograph by Juan Rodriguez Stahlschmidt, My Shot
Special days—such as this celebration in Cusco—call for the most beautiful and colorful garments. Today's weavers carry on the traditions that originated in Inca times or even earlier.
Cathedral of Lima
Photograph by David Noton/Getty Images
The Cathedral of Lima, rebuilt in 1758 after an earthquake, is a main feature of the capital city’s central Plaza de Armas. The historic square is home to a variety of architectural styles, from colonial to modern. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who founded the city in 1535, designed the Plaza de Armas and is buried in the cathedral.
Cerro de Pasco
Photograph by Bobby Haas/National Geographic Stock
A lake nestles in the mountains near Cerro de Pasco, one of the highest cities in the world. Peru's geography includes Andean highlands, western desert, lowland coast, and a sparsely populated jungle.
Tortora Boats, Huanchaco
Photograph by Michael de la Paz, My Shot
A row of traditional boats made of totora, a type of reed, are lined up on the beach in Huanchaco, near Trujillo.
Photograph by William Albert Allard
The giant lines and figures traced in the sands of the Nasca Valley were created by the Nasca, an ancient coastal people who lived between 100 B.C. and A.D. 700. Some scientists believe the markings were used in astronomical observations.
Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins/wilderlandimages.com
Many mothers in Peru, such as these at a market in Chinchero, carry their children in mantas, brightly colored woven shawls that they sling across their backs.
Photograph by Nacho Calonge/photolibrary.com
The Inca fortress of Sacsahuaman was nearly impenetrable, thanks to its massive walls and sawtooth design. A Spanish chronicler wrote that 20,000 people labored on the stonework.
Alcacocha Pass, Andes
Photograph by Karen Ambrogi, My Shot
Small turquoise lakes lie below Alcacocha Pass in the Andes. The mountain chain runs north to south through the central part of Peru. In the east, the Andes descend to the Amazon River Basin.
Parque de la Reserva, Lima
Photograph by Paul Kennedy/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images
Lighted fountains—part of a "Magical Water Tour"—enchant visitors to Lima's Parque de la Reserva.
Photograph by Tanawat Likitkererat, My Shot
Ancient Inca terraces spiral across the land in Moray, near Cusco. Inca workers paying off a labor tax, or mita, terraced thousands of mountainsides for farming.
Uros of Lake Titicaca
Photograph by Ruchi Saran, My Shot
A man works with freshly cut reeds on Lake Titicaca—at 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) the world’s highest navigable lake. The Uros people live on floating islands and make nearly everything out of totora, a reed that grows in the lake.
Inca Festival, Cusco
Photograph by Erin Sitt, My Shot
Descendants of the Inca still celebrate the festival of Inti Raymi, which honors the winter solstice and the mighty god Inti. Inca lords called themselves “sons of the Sun” and called sacred rocks “hitching posts of the sun,” where worshippers tethered the god so that he couldn’t leave them.
Photograph by Mattias Klum
Two scarlet macaws put their vivid plumage on display. Macaws, which have two toes facing forward and two backward, are found mainly in the rain forests of Central and South America.
Photograph by Dustin Safranek, My Shot
A fountain blocks the sun in Cusco, which in the early days of the Inca Empire housed only nobles, officials, and their retinues; everyone else was relegated to 12 satellite towns. The name Cusco means “navel” in Quechua.
El Misti Volcano, Arequipa
Photograph by Ramon Navalon, My Shot
The El Misti volcano towers more than 19,000 feet (5,800 meters) above Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city. The city, which serves as a commercial and agricultural center for southern Peru, is filled with buildings made from the volcanic stone.
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