Peru has a cultural heritage of almost 20,000 years, There are many testimonies of it, from the ancient cave paintings to the stone and mud-brick monuments left by the Chavin, Tiahuanaco, Mochica and Chimu cultures, as well as by the Incas. Part of this heritage is represented by the enigma and mysteries of the past, like in the Nasca markings.
During the colonial period which took place in Peru after it was conquered by Francisco Pizarro, Spain contributed to painting, sculpture and architecture as well as to gold and silver works with several art expressions.
The simbiosis of the ancient cultures with the successive migrations which took place during the Republican period has made this an extraordinary country with music and folklore which, added to its natural attractions, its modern life and its gastronomy, make Peru a very attractive tourist destination. You will find the most valuable treasures in Cusco, Ayacucho, Lima, Arequipa, Puno, Nazca, Cajamarca and Apurimac.
mountain range of the Andes runs through the middle of the country from
north to south dividing it into three regions, the coast, the highlands
and the amazon jungle. The area of the peruvian territory is of 1,285,216
sq. Kms.and its population reaches 22'128,466 people according to the
latest census (1993). Because of the successive inmigrations which have
taken place for more than a hundred years, there are several ethnic
groups coexisting in the country with the natives or indians. The main
are Caucasian, African-American and Asiatic mainly Chinese and Japanese
who make a very peculiar ethnic combination which gives Peruvian people
an uncommon carisma.
The primitive culture, the Tahuantinsuyo was the main core of the actual Peruvian Republic, the powerful Empire of the Incas and after the conquest of the Spaniards whose wealth contributed to feed not very few legends.
This territory was the base of several primitive cultures, whose most ancient social organizations appear arround the year 6000 B.C. in the coast (Paracas) and in the highlands . The first and most important Andean civilization was Chavin culture in Peru. The main Inka government was located in Cusco covering an area from north to south from Ecuador, part of Colombia to the center of Chile and north east of Argentine and from Bolivia to the Amazon jungle. The head of this government was the Inka and their economy was based in community owned land.
The Spaniards colonized Peru in 1531 and founded the City of Lima in 1535. The Viceroy Francisco de Toledo organized the Virreynato in 1572 and after that all the political and administrative institutions were established. At this point the indian state of Vilcabamba ended, slautering Inka Tupac Amaru.
The economy started to develop creating a commercial monopoly with the extraction of minerals from the silver mines of Potosi.
Peru has a totally different history that cannot be compared with any other place, and there are many more interesting aspects about Peru than its past.
The spanish spoken here is probably the easiest to understand. They speak slowly and clear without a strong influence of slang.
The Peruvians have their own words for common concepts, visitors who speak a little spanish will find their way and will learn a lot in a short time. Peruvian friends are easily made and they try to adapt to the spanish knowledge you have. Besides spanish there are a couple of languages that are spoken mostly in the highlands. These two languages are Quechua and Aymara. Quechua is spoken in and arround Cusco while Aymara will be heard on the shore of Lake Titicaca as well as in the Bolivian highlands. It is still hard to find people in Perú who can reasonably speak foreign languages.
Peru is a very religious country and exuberant in its samples of faith. Each town has a patron saint to which they renew their faith every year. Frequently the local beleifs are linked to magic-religious beleifs whose origin gets lost in the prehispanic theology, full of complex meanings that are shown with symbols. This reaffirms the conflicting and fascinating character of our identity.
All the cities and towns of the country, at least have a main church and many others in the sorroundings where they rest the worshipped saints. These churches have a classical architecture in which they keep valuable pieces of art which are considered like jewls of the colonial and republican age. You will find the most valuable treasures in Cusco, Ayacucho, Lima, Arequipa, Puno, Nazca, Cajamarca and Apurimac.
The most important cult in Peru is that of the Señor de los Milagros that has beleivers in all the country and the world. The procession takes place every year in the month of October and is followed by the bullfights which is held in October and November.