Peruvian culture is at the same time one and varied. Peruvians of today have inherited customs and traditions from civilizations that developed centuries before the arrival of Europeans, and that meeting of two worlds produced a melting pot that was further enriched by contributions from African and Asian people, who also settled roots in this land.
The city of Cuzco
Declared a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1983.
Cuzco, which in the ancient Quechua language means "navel of the world", was an important hub in Inca times that connected all of South America, from Colombia to the north of Argentina. Today, centuries later, Cuzco continues to be the centre of attention, not only for our neighbouring countries but for the whole world. In its streets, historical centres, churches, pubs and cafés you can hear not only Quechua and Spanish spoken, but such diverse languages as English, French, Japanese and Hebrew. All of them, united by the same experience, found in the charming and fascinating "belly button" of the world.
Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site also in 1983.
I could say a great deal about this archaeological site, which was hidden for centuries until it came to light in the early 1900s, but it is difficult to describe in words what one feels when the citadel suddenly appears, like a challenge to the imagination and to engineering, between the mountains that mark the beginning and the end of the Andes and the Amazon Basin.
The temple or fortress of Chavin de Huantar
Declared a World Cultural Heritage in 1985.
I could tell you of the gusts of air that brush your face almost like a sigh when you walk through its sophisticated underground galleries. Known as the "castle", Chavin and its intricate passageways is believed to be one of the oldest constructions in the Americas.
The Huascaran National Park,
Inscribed as a World Natural Heritage in 1985.
Here I can tell you about the turquoise colour of its lakes that contrast with the snow-capped peaks of the highest tropical mountain range in the world. The Huascaran National Park is a paradise and a challenge to nature and adventure sports lovers alike. It has over 600 glaciers, close to 300 lakes, and 27 snow-capped peaks that reach heights of over 6,000 metres, such as the Huascaran which rises to 6,768 meters above sea level.
Chan Chan is another of the 10 sites
Inscribed as World Cultural Heritages by UNESCO, this in 1986.
Known as the largest city of clay in pre-Columbian America, Chan Chan is texture, it is form, it is desert sand made into art. The birds that decorate the walls of Chan Chan seem almost to fly in the strong breeze that blows through this ancient Chimu site.
The Manu National Park
Inscribed as a World Natural Heritage in 1987.
Manu is the feast of life and diversity, with more than 1,000 species of birds, 1,200 types of butterflies, over 20,000 varieties of plants and an unknown quantity of reptiles, insects and amphibians.
Lima's Historical Centre
Declared a World Cultural Heritage in 1991.
Lima is a sum of colours, textures and sounds. It is a cosmopolitan capital par excellence where the taste is acquired from the flavour offered by its street-side cooks frying anticuchos or soft picarones in syrup against a backdrop of colonial balconies, old houses, and churches with secret tunnels.
The Rio Abiseo National Park
Inscribed as a World Natural Heritage in 1990.
Becausse geographical location and the fragility of the archaeological sites within the park, Rio Abiseo remains closed to tourism since 1996. Today Peruvian and foreign scientists travel through the park to continue studying the flora and fauna and the remains of pre-Inca cultures.
The Nazca Lines and the Pampas de Juma
Declared a World Heritage site in 1994.
Close to the other natural jewel that is the Paracas National Reserve, these lines and figures of different animals, drawn on the Peruvian desert and seen properly only from the sky, were considered a mystery for decades because it was not known if they were a calendar or a form of communication with outer space.
Arequipa's Historical Centre
Declared a World Cultural Heritage in 2000.
The city of Arequipa is, precisely, an example of how culture in Peru is constantly abrew. Arequipa, known as the White City because of the volcanic rock, or "sillar", with which its churches and homes are built. Arequipa is the land of passions and contrasts, of the hot rocoto pepper and the magnificent condor which can only be seen flying over the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world.
Declared a World Cultural Heritage in 2009.
Caral is one of 18 settlements identified in the valley. Covering an area of around 65 hectares, the city features a series of complexes such as the Great Pyramid, the Amphitheater Pyramid and the Residential Quarters of the Elite. The wind gusts powerfully over the sands Caral, the oldest city in the Americas. A living force that the ancient inhabitants allegedly tried to reproduce in their flutes. Crafted from condor and pelican bones, the first 32 flutes found at the archaeological site represented one of the biggest surprises produced at Caral. In 2001, researchers held the Archaeo-Musicological Research Workshop for the Flutes of Caral, in a bid to reproduce the sound of each one of them, just as the ancient dwellers might have heard them in 3000 BC.