Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The estimated population in July 2007 was 28,674,757. Although the culture is primarily Amerindian and Spanish, traditionally, it has been influenced in its cooking, clothing, music, dance, and art by a number of African, Asian, and European ethnic groups. Because of this blending, Peru is a country so vibrant in colour.
Please see the bottom of this post for how you can help in the Earthquake Relief Efforts in Pisco, Peru.
|Spanish conquest introduced the guitar and the harp, was responsible for the development the charango. African contributions to Peruvian music include its rhythms and the cajón. Peruvian folk dances include the marinera, tondero and huayno. Festivals, dances, and performances are marked by almost-flamboyant splashes of colour.|
|The Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honour of the god Inti. It also marked the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. A theatrical festival has been performed in its stead since 1944, and has attracted thousands of tourists and visitors each year. Lavish gold and deep blues combine with the bright reds and oranges please the drawn eye. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas, lasting nine days of colourful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season.|
The indigenous people of Peru -- as well as Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia -- are the Quechuas, who can be compared to the Native Americans in the United States. They refer to themselves as Kichwas or Quichuas. Their native tongue, Quecha, was the official language of the Incan empire, still spoken by nearly a fifth of the population. Their clothing is characterised by worn earthy colours -- yellows, greens, reds, and purples.
In the 15th century, the Incan Emperor Pachacútec built a city in the clouds on the mountain known as Machu Picchu (old peak). This extraordinary settlement lies halfway up the Andes Plateau, deep in the Amazon jungle and above the Urubamba River. It was probably abandoned by the Incas because of a smallpox outbreak and, after the Spanish defeated the Incan Empire, the city remained 'lost' until 1911.
|The Sacred Valley of the Incas is in the Andes Mountains, near to Cusco, the Incan capital. Fed by numerous rivers, the Incas appreciated and enjoyed great harvests of maize and the extraction of natural wealth. Because this land was the best place for maize to grow, the tiered farms seen above comb the mountain sides.|
|Peruvian cuisine is a blend of Amerindian and Spanish food with strong influences from African, Arab, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking. Common dishes include anticuchos, ceviche, humitas, and pachamanca. Because of the variety of climates within Peru, a wide range of plants and animals are available for cooking. Peruvian cuisine has recently received acclaim due to its diversity of ingredients and techniques. Seen above is a Peruvian causa limena dish with potato, egg, and shrimp.|
|Lake Titicaca is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, at 3,812 m (12,507 feet) above sea level. The clarity of the water and the wide open skies bring generous, gentle blues to the area. The golden grasses that border the waterways frame them beautifully. More than 25 rivers empty into Titicaca, and the lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.|
The Amazon Rainforest stretches its limbs through nine South American nations -- Brazil (with 60 percent of the rainforest), Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. Because of the wealth of rain, and the rivers than sprawl like veins through the broad-leaved trees, lush greens and teal waters are born there. The range of wild life brings a broad spectrum of colour as well, but most dominant is the abundance of plant life.
The creator of COLOURlovers is also co-founder of Hands On Disaster Response, an international disaster relief non-profit. HODR has just organized a volunteer project in Pisco, Peru to assist in recovery efforts from the 8.0 Earthquake that hit August 17th. If you are interested in using your hands to help out as a volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to volunteer, please help those that are by making a donation.
(HODR is a registered US Non-Profit and your donations are tax deductible.)