What we generally know as “Quechua culture” is, contrary to what is believed, previous to the Incas and would have been built since the earliest times of the Chavin culture. Its latest cultural expression was the language Quechua or Runa Simi -the language of the people- which would expanded through the central Andes to encompass the full extent of the territories currently occupied by Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and part of Argentina. Quechua would have reached the southern Peru -Cusco and Puno- later, where it was influenced by the other native language of this part of the world, the Aymara.
And Puno, cradle of culture Tiahuanaco, is the region where the Quechua-Aymara culture shock has been perpetuated on two routes that have been called “Quechua Cultural Corridor ” and “Aymara Cultural Corridor”. In this note we will tell you about the first and, the tourist attractions found on this route.
Quechua Cultural Corridor consists of a journey through picturesque villages located on the banks of Lake Titicaca. The journey begins with a visit to the village of Paucarcolla, its church, the cave mines,Totorani Falls and Vizcacha Pucara.
The next stop is in Hatuncolla, a small village with houses that have been prepared for tourists to see the way they live and organize their people. The architecture of the houses introduces elements brought by the Spanish conquerors, as the arch -an unknown structure to the indigenous populations-, on top of which is usually place the famous “little bulls of Pucara”.
In Sillustani, on the shore of the lagoon Umayo, you will see the pre-Inca (Kolla) and Inca cemetery. The tombs, called chullpas, built in stone, are shaped like inverted cones; constructions that are also found in fewer amount in other places of the plateau, as Acora or Ilave.
The Isle of Taquile (Intika in Quechua), on Lake Titicaca, belongs to the district of Amantani, and is located 45 km from Puno. Intika was part of the Inca Empire, so that even today you can see some archaeological remains. This was one of the last places that capitulated against the Spanish in the sixteenth century.
For its part, on the island of Amantani -where 800 families live spread across 8 communities- the people are engaged in agriculture -cultivation of potatoes, oca, barley and beans-, and raising cattle. The textile industry is similar to that of Taquile, both in variety and design.
Pucara will enrapture you. With its pre-Inca ruins, old colonial churches, and rich clay crafts (their little Pucara bulls are famous). The Pucara culture history dates back to 500 BC. -having as main background the cultures of Qaluyo in the north and Chiripa in the south of lake Titicaca, and is characterized by its large constructions shaped as pyramids that integrated a great pre-Columbian city with sculptural monuments.
Considered the cattle capital of Peru, Ayaviri has several attractions such as the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi (1696), one of the most beautiful historical monuments of the department, with its baroque architecture and its walls adorned with oil paintings of the Cusco School.
In Lampa, city known as “City of the 7 Wonders” we find the Temple of Santiago Apostle, built between 1675 and 1685. Within the images of the temple is the image of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, made in plaster and brought from Spain between the years 1792-1795 (late sixteenth century) with the name of Virgen del Pilar. Among its attractions is also include Sutuca chullpas, Tarucani, Tacara, Huayta (Inka times), Ccatacha, and strengths or pukaras of Aukyni, Pukarani (Nicasio) and Lamparaquen.
Like most of the Andean people, Azangaro‘s primal foundation is lost in the darkness of time, so it is estimated to have had two foundations: one pre Inca or Quechua, and the other as a result of the Spanish conquest.
The origin of its name is not clear, but the local writings assign different stories for the creation of Macusani. One of them related to a princess named Maicusa, whom would have been rescued and protected in their places during a chase of war. It is unclear, however, the “kingdom” to wich she belonged. Among its attractions we have the imposing mountains surrounding it, its thermal springs, and the archaeological remains of Pitumarca, phusa ruins and mysterious paintings.
The tour ends in Sandia, a nice little town at Candamo’s river basin, an ideal place to practice adventure tourism and ecotourism in their tropical forests.
If you are in Puno, you can not miss the opportunity of visiting the Quechua Cultural Corridor, a route steeped in history and Andean tradition.