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Peru is a world in itself; one of vivid ancient cultures, vast rainforest and incredible memories. The Inca Empire and Norte Chico civilisation once ruled Peru, and as they were the largest empire in pre-Columbian America and one of the oldest recorded civilisations in the world respectively, you can be sure that there is plenty of fascinating history to discover in Peru.
The Spanish ruled Peru in the 16th century but Peru gained independence in 1821 and luckily native traditions have remained, visible through Peru’s cuisine, arts and music. Pre-Inca culture can be seen in the textiles, pottery and sculpture which are still widespread in Peru today; bargain for these Peruvian handicrafts at the Pisac Market in the Sacred Valley.
Peru is home to the sweeping Andes mountains, the Amazon rainforest as well as the incredible Machu Picchu. Here you’ll glimpse the huge Inca Empire that once was. “The Lost City of the Incas” was built about 1450 and abandoned one hundred years later. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World as well as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the whole of Latin America.
Lima is Peru’s capital and features colonial sights such as the Plaza San Martin, the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace. Visit the striking Church of San Francisco, with its unique wooden cupola over the imperial staircase and underground catacombs. A special trip to ‘Casa Diez Canseco’, the private home of the conquering and presidential Diez Canseco family shouldn’t be missed either.
Stop at Miraflores for more shopping and local cuisine, or visit Ollantaytambo to see a typical Inca community. Towering above this traditional town there is the huge Inca fortress, also named Ollantaytambo, which can be reached from steep stone terraces rising from the edge of the town.
Cuzco is another city enveloped in myth and legend, and with a history of more than 3,000 years, it is one of the oldest existing cities in the Americas. Traces of its Incan and Spanish heritage can still be seen today, so catch a morning city tour which will show you Cuzco’s most important landmarks, including the Inca street of Loreto, which is made of 12 cornered stones, the Temple of the Sun called Ahuajpinta and the Cathedral. Continue on to visit the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman, the shrines of Kenqo Tambomachay and more, to really get a taste for the legendary country of Peru.
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