Altitude 3,827 meters (12,500 feet) a.s.l.
Population 91,877 inhabitants in the city
Puno, on the banks of Lake Titicaca - the world highest
navigable lake - displays the reminiscences of its origin through cave paintings and
spearheads, testimony of our highland ancestor's life.
The Collao Plateau Is the geographical space, where ancient and Important
cultures like Pucara and, later, Tiahuanaco, appeared.This is the region where, according
to the legend, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo emerged from the sacred Lake Titicaca to found
the Inca Empire.
During colonial times, the Spaniards established In Puno
attracted by its mineral richness, bringing new cultural, social and economic Patterns
along. The city of San Carlos de Puno was founded in 1668 and the priests, eager to
convert the natives, motivated them to build beautiful churches.
Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake
and the center of a region where thousands of subsistence farmers eke out a living fishing
in its icy waters, growing potatoes in the rocky land at its edge or herding llama and
alpaca at altitudes that leave Europeans and North Americans gasping for air. It is also
where traces of the rich Indian past still stubbornly cling, resisting in past centuries
the Spanish conquistadors' aggressive campaign to erase Inca and preInca cultures and, in
recent times, the lure of modernization.
When Peruvians talk of turquoise blue Titacaca, they proudly note that it is so large it
has waves. This, the most sacred body of water in the Inca empire and now the natural
separation between Peru and Bolivia, has a surface area exceeding 8,000 square kilometers
(3,100 square miles), not counting its more than 30 islands.
At 3,856 meters (12,725 feet) above sea level it has two
climates: chilly and rainy or chilly and dry. In the evenings it becomes quite cold,
dropping below freezing from June through August. In the day, the sun is intense and
sunburn is common.