THE INTI RAYMI FESTIVAL IN CUZCO EXPECTED TO DRAW MORE THAN 100 THOUSAND VISITORS.
This upcoming June 24th, more than 100 thousand visitors, both national and international, are expected in Cuzco to enjoy the enactment of the Inti Raymi, -the Homage to the Sun Ceremony – probably the most solemn and grandiose festival during the Inca Empire. This year as last one, the ceremony will take place on the open area below the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. More than 600 local artists will participate in the spectacular show and 80 percent of the seated VIP tickets have already been sold at a price of USD 90.00 each. Two hundred chemical dry toilets and hundreds of paper waste baskets will be installed. Around 300 students from the local universities and high schools will be the caretakers of the vent, helping people to find their places in the stands and also ask them to use the installed facilities and not to litter and despoil the archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman. About 800 policemen and more than 200 local municipal guards and Civil Defence and fully equipped ambulances with paramedics are in charge of the security of the visitors, of which some will be, as previous years, be illustrious and famous personages from around the world, although for security reasons no names have been mentioned.
THE TEMPLE OF THE CROSSED ARMS IN KOTOSH IN THE HUANUCO REGION TO BE GIVEN A PLAN FOR ITS FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS AND OPENING TO THE PUBLIC.
The local chapter of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura – National Institute of Culture (INC by its Spanish acronym) in the Town of Huánuco has started the elaboration of an integral plan to investigate and develop the Archaeological Complex of Kotosh in the area. Kotosh or the Temple of the Crossed Arms was first seriously studied in 1958 by the Tokyo University Archaeological Mission under the leadership of the Japanese archaeologist doctor Seiichi Izumi. The findings indicated that the Temple complex was originally built almost four thousand years ago, making it one of the oldest vestiges of high culture in the Americas. Kotosh, which means "a Pile of stones" received more than 18 thousand visitors last year and the idea is that the master plane will be conductive to further studies of the area and also provide visitors with the services they expect. A small local museum is also contemplated to be built under the plan. Keep your fingers crossed that it will happen!
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY SHOWS VIDEO OF MACHU PICCHU RECORDED IN 1950
One of the oldest filmings of Machu Picchu was done in 1950 and can be found in the internet file of the University’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology (http://www.archive.org/details/upenn-f16-0046_1950_5_Peru)
. the University warns that the video cannot be sold or shown commercially since they hold all the rights. The mute colour video is of excellent quality in spite of its age and shows off not only the then railroad running there, but also locals and road side stands selling food. One can also see the different parts of the Citadel of Machu Picchu at the time, including a view of the Intrihuatana, Sun Hitching Point, before it was damaged a few years back during the filming of a beer commercial. One can also see Huayna Picchu and at the end some air filmings of the mountains in the area. Machu Picchu was declared a Cultural World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1983 and is without doubt, the main attraction for most visitors coming to Peru. The Foundation New 7 Wonders last year included it amongst the new Seven Wonders of the World.
UP TO 40 % OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS IN THE MACHU PICCHU SANCTUARY ARE OF PRE INCA ORIGIN
Most visitors only see the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, when they visit the area but fully 40% of the more than 198 archaeological complexes and remains within the 38, 448 hectares extension of the Archaeological Park are not of Inca origin. Although studies have been ongoing for the last 50 years, very little has been learned about these sites. Most of them belong to the so called Killke Culture, which existed in the area before the arrival of the Incas and the building of the largest empire ever in the Americas. Most of these vestiges are found under the later Inca remnants and the difference, although minimal to an untrained eye, clearly reveals the pre existing culture. Most of these sites are found in the lowland areas and the famous Citadel is 100% pure Inca.
TRADITIONAL COFFEE SHOP IN THE PLAZA DE ARMAS OF CUZCO FACING EVICTION
Most people who have ever been to Cuzco have most probably stopped over for a quick cup of coffee or tea and a traditional sandwich in the Café Ayllu, located in the corner of the Plaza de Armas Main Square just to the left of and when facing the Cathedral. It has been the traditional stop over for many a Cuzqueno and foreign visitor, when the cold drove them indoors to warm up in the congenial atmosphere with its affordable prices and great pastries and other goodies. However, the Archbishopric of Cuzco, owner of the building, has recently decided not to renew the lease when it runs out the next time and instead lease the place to an international fast food franchise. Thus, after 39 years of tradition and solace for visitors, it seems that its days are counted and with it maybe the last vestige of an authentic Cuzco style place in the centre of the Imperial City. A campaign recollecting signatures against this change has been started up and it is hoped that the Church will back down and not allow the change to take place. If they are still there when you go to Cuzco, please try their hospitality, sign the petition and say a prayer.
A MALE LLAMA WAS BORN IN MACHU PICCHU AND BAPTISED “ALCUE” IN HONOUR OF THE LATIN AMERICAN – EUROPEAN UNION HEAD OF STATES MEETING
A small male baby llama was born on one of the terraces of the Sacred City of the Incas during the visit of some of the dignitaries that had participated in the Latina America – European Union Head of States Meeting recently held in Lima. It was named ALCUE, which is the Spanish acronym of that meeting.
This meant that the numbers of Llamas in Machu Picchu now has reached fourteen animals, all descendants of an original pair that was introduced to the citadel years back. The mother of the new born is called Berta and the father is presumed to be Aquidio, the dominant male of the troop now grazing on the former cultivation terraces of this Cultural Heritage of Mankind, where the benign climate and ample pasture has made them thrive.
PRESIDENT GARCIA TO INAUGURATE THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE V SUMMIT MEETING BETWEEN LATIN AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN LEADERS
The inauguration ceremony will take place at 9AM in the Salon de Ceremonias in the National Museum after the formal greetings by the President to the Heads of State and Governments upon their arrival at the site of the summit meeting. At 10:10 a group photograph will be taken of all the participants and at 10:30 the first work session will be underway. The Forum will focus on different aspects, such as the issues of poverty, inequality and inclusion. Finally, at 13:00 the President will take the oath of Peru’s latest Minister, Dr. Antonio Brack, the newly named Minister of the Ministry of the Environment, which was created only the other day. (see below).
THE ECOLOGIST DR. ANTONIO BRACK EGG TO BE SWORN IN AS THE FIRST MINISTER OF THE NEWLY CREATED MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT
The new Minister, well known for his life long struggle in favour of the environment in Peru and elsewhere, declared to the press: “It is not simply an honour; it is a lot of hard work to be a Minister of the Environment. I have always given my best working for my country and its natural resources but this time I will do so in a public function”. He also added that he will work hard to serve the citizens of Peru towards the end of assuring a better quality of life for all of them. He also stated that the reason for the swearing in ceremony to take place during the Latina American - European summit is for Peru to send a clear signal about Peru’s commitment to the environment and to look for European cooperation to combat global warming.
PERUVIAN CAPITAL LIMA SUFFERS TRAFFIC PROBLEMS DUE TO SECURITY MEASURES IN FORCE BECAUSE OF LATINAMERICAN - EUROPEAN SUMMIT
If you plan to get somewhere from or in Lima during the upcoming week, make sure you leave in time since there is a good chance you may be stuck in gigantic traffic bottlenecks due to the severe security measures in place during the upcoming Latin-American - European summit. Several blocks around the main hotels have been cordoned off and the traffic is being redirected into alternate routes. Since about a month back the police have been going from door to door to register the occupants in the vicinity of the hotels and other spaces where the meetings between the different heads of states and their delegations will take place.
RESTORED EFFIGY OF THE FAMOUS VIRGEN QUEEN OF BETHLEHEM IS READY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE UPCOMING CORPUS CHRISTI FESTIVAL IN CUZCO
Yesterday afternoon the Virgen Reina de Belen was moved to the Temple of Santa Clara, a kilometre away from the City of Cuzco, in order to be ready to participate in the Corpus Christi Festival to take place in the City on May 21st. The Virgin with her silver plated platform to be carried by the Fraternity of 150 carriers has been recently restored by experts from the local National Institute of Culture.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF 2008 AS THE YEAR OF THE POTATO GIVES ORIGIN TO MULTIPLE FIESTAS IN PERU
The General Assembly of the United Nations declaring the year 2008 to be the year of the potato has given rise to many occasions to celebrate in Peru, the Andean country where this tuber was first domesticated by man. More than 3000 varieties are registered and their genotypes preserved in the International Potato Centre located in Lima.
For example, close to the Town of Jauja in the Region of Junin in central Peru, the inhabitants will carry out the First Tourist Fair of the Native Potato. This will take place in the District of Ricran in the Hamlet of Tambillo from May 23rd to May 24th. One of the central attractions will be the race between the South American camel species called Llamas, each carrying a load of native potatoes on their back. Each team will field a flock of eight llamas, which will be driven by a local and the race will cover a distance of approximately 1000 feet. The Llamas will be adorned with ear ribbons and the drivers will wear local dress and it promises to be quite a colourful spectacle. There will also be other activities such as spinning competitions, wood chopping, the tilling of the land using hand plows or as they are locally called chaquitacllas. There will also be the chance to go fishing and check out the local products and dishes based on potatoes. Local bands will be palying and a lot of local dancing is expected. A Fiesta not to be missed!
THE CITY OF HUANCAVELICA IN THE SOUTHERN ANDES TO CELEBRATE THE II FESTIVAL OF THE POTATO.
If you cannot make it to Jauja in time for the Llama race mentioned above, you might consider trying to reach the City of Huancavelica in time for their II Regional Biodiversity of the Huancavelica Potato - Treasure of the Andes Festival. Peru has declared May 30th as the National Day of the Potato, but as usual, any excuse is good for a party and this one starts out on the 14th of May with the coronation of the so called "Sipas Papas Huayta" or "the Potato Flower Queen". On the 15th, the local and national authorities have programmed workshops and conferences on competitive advantages for producers and the rescue of antique techniques. The next day, there will be a fair, where different types of potatoes and typical local dishes based on these will be offered, together with folklore presentations on the Plaza Bolognesi Main Square of the City. In these times of rising prices on rice, why not try potatoes instead?, unless you plan to get married, of course.
SHOE SHINE BOYS IN CAJAMARCA TO BECOME TOURIST GUIDES.
The Municipality of the City of Cajamarca in the Northern mountainous area of Peru has started a training programme for 35 shoe shine boys that today clean shoes in the main plaza of the city. The idea is that they shall be able to orient foreign and local visitors and clients about the multiple attractions and services that the city can offer its guests. Most of the participants, amongst which there are several adults, are young people that have shown an interest in learning about the history and its tourist resources and thus be able to make some extra money during the high tourist season. However, the training is not only theoretical, but will include visiting the different archaeological and historical sites of the province. A municipal spokesman also considered the programme as a worthwhile alternative to other activities that might be harmful to the local youths, such as drug abuse and others. The participants were recently given uniforms by the municipal authorities and are instilled with a pride of their labour.
THE END OF ENDLESS QUEUES IN LIMA AIRPORT THROUGH THE INSTALLATION OF MODERN EQUIPMENT.
Good news for all foreign visitors to Peru and other that use the Lima International Airport Jorge Chavez when arriving or leaving the country is the recent installation of modern technology, which will allow immigration procedures to last only ten seconds for each traveler passing through the controls. The system, which was especially installed to ease the plight of the many delegations coming to Peru for the upcoming summit meetings to take place during the course of this year allows the checking of passports and identities to be cut down to only ten seconds per person.
STARWOOD HOTELS & WORLD WIDE RESORTS STARTS CONSTRUCTION OF PERU'S TALLEST BUILDING - THE NEW LIMA WESTIN LIBERTADOR TOWER
Hoteles Libertador Peru, the franchise holder of the Libertador Hotel brand in Peru, announces the start of the construction of what will eventually become Peru's tallest building, the new Lima Westin Libertador Tower. The building, planned to rise 118 metres above the street level, apart from 5 underground levels, will be the first Westin Hotel built in South America. It will be located at the corners of Avenida Javier Prado and Las Begonias in the residential District of San Isidro and the investment is calculated to reach 100 million US Dollars and is planned to be inaugurated during the first months of the year 2010. The total area is planned to be 72,000 square metres and will be thirty stories high with 311 rooms. There will also be 14 meeting rooms, with a total capacity for more than 2,000 people. It is primarily geared towards the business market and will be part of the chain, which in Peru today own and run hotels in the cities of Arequipa, Cuzco, Puno and Trujillo. They are also projecting to build additional hotels in the Urubamba Valley in Cuzco and in Paracas.
PERUVIAN TACAMA BRAND WINERIES BUILD NEW 5, 5 MILLION PROCESSING PLANT IN ICA.
The Tacama brand of wines, famous for their distinctive taste and bouquet, with many international medals, has recently finished the installation of its brand new wine processing plant in its vineyards in the Ica Valley. The investment will allow the winery to guarantee a top quality production of its more than 4 million litres production of wine and the local brandy Pisco in what is considered a top of the line installation of its kind in all of South America. The installation covering more than 5,000 square metres will be totally temperature controlled and the management plans to invest an additional US 2 million during this year, thus assuring their top place as Peru's number one brand in wines.
PROTECTED NATURAL AREA TO BE CREATED AT THE BIRTH PLACE OF THE AMAZON.
The Geographical Society of Lima is contacting the communities in the Province of Caylloma in the Arequipa Department in the South of Peru in order to coordinate the possibility to declare the origins of the Amazon River, which are found in the highlands of that area, as a natural protected area. The Amazon River, the world's most voluminous and longest river, is born high up the Apacheta Canyon, at the foot of the Quehuisha snow peak. The existence of a natural protected area in that area could easily be incorporated in a Southern Peru trekking and visitors programme, and thus help the neighbouring communities of Lari and Caylloma to increase their income from services to be offered to the visitors to this truly unique place.
NEW YORK TIMES DECLARES PERU TO BE PRIVILEGED DESTINATION FOR SURFERS.
The prestigious and influential newspaper The New York Times in its last Sunday section published an article by the Julia Chaplin, describing a surfing tour she undertook in Peru. Amongst others, she makes special mentions of beaches such as Punta Rocas, Mancora, Los Organos, Chicama and Lobitos.
The excellence of their waves and the relative absence of surfing crowds make these and other beaches in Peru experience a boom in the increase of surf fans from all over the world. Surfing clothing chain O'Neill is using Peru as a background for its European catalogue this year. In November this year one of the events deciding who is going to be the next female surf champion of the world, will take place in Peru. The hopes of the nation are set on Sofia Mulanovich, one of the top surfers in the world and female champion.
MORE THAN 300 LOCAL PRODUCERS OF PERUVIAN CORN AND CHIRIMOYA FRUIT WILL SHOW THEIR PRODUCTS AT FAIR IN THE TOWN OF HUARI, NORTH OF LIMA.
During the ninth version of the locally named "Festival del Choclo y de la Chirimoya" to be held in the Town of Huari, located Northeast of Lima, close to the famous Chavin de Huantar archaeological site; more than 300 producers of these products are expected to show off their produce to the public. Not only will prizes be awarded to the record producers, but there will also be prizes for the best dishes, drinks, ice creams and sweets prepared using these products. The central day will be on May 19th. The area also offers its visitors the chance to participate in trekking and kayaking tours during their visit. Not to be missed for gourmet adventure tourists!
TAKE YOUR PICK OF PRICES AND GOURMET MEALS IN CUZCO.
Planning to visit Cuzco? Of course, but depending on your spending budget, check carefully the posted prices of meals in different restaurants in the city. In some places a full course meal may cost as much as 60 dollars, but there is also the possibility to have a meal in the market and small restaurants for as low as less than two dollars. The prices seem to depend on the distance of the restaurant from the Plaza de Armas Main Square, the closer the more expensive. As expected, 5 and 4 star hotels serving the so called Novo Andina School of gourmet cooking will also be more expensive than a local tavern
GOLD LEAF PAINTED ICON OF THE "VIRGEN DE LA ANTIGUA" - PATRON LADY OF THE SAN MARCOS UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN RESTORED TO ITS FORMER GLORY.
Students from the oldest established university in the whole of the Americas - the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos; founded in 15551 in the "Three Times Crowned City of the Kings", which title Lima bears since it was the Capital of the Spanish Vice Royal Empire in the Americas; can now once more pay a visit to the "Antigua", as their former counterparts did for hundreds of years. Before going up for a doctoral thesis, the students of this dean of American universities believed that paying a visit to the image of the Virgen de la Antigua in the Cathedral of Lima - Patron lady of their University, would bring them good luck. However, time has deteriorated the once glorious old image, which was commissioned in 1795 by the then Director of the San Marcos University, Don Cristóbal Montañón. The famous priest and artist of that time, Matias Maestro, who's other famous works include the Virgen de la Candelaria icon also on display in the Cathedral, was the person asked to carry out the work. This last one, lovingly restored by a team of experts under the supervision of Mr. Manuel Palma and which restoration was promoted by the Church member Brother Raul Chau, was finished and re installed in the Cathedral last year, and now the turn has come to the Patron Lady of the San Marcos University. The image, painted on wood in the Peruvian so called "Retablo" style was made in the neo classical style so favoured by this artist and the times. However, some parts bear an unmistakeable air of the Baroque style, which preceded the neo classical in Peruvian art. Thus there is the use of lavish layers of plate gold, combined with paints that emulate marble finish. There is also a silver altar and Colonial paintings on the walls of the small chapel where the icon is displayed. This chapel also holds two large scale statues of San Marcos and San Tomas, both apparently older than the Icon and both brought here from their original place in the old chapel of the University. When visiting the Lima Cathedral, you cannot leave without paying a visit to the Virgen de le Antigua, even less so if you are going up for a doctoral thesis.
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN CUZCO TO GET A FACELIFT IN TIME FOR 25TH ANNIVERSARY AS UNESCO CULTURAL HERITAGE SITE.
On December 9th this year, the Historic Centre of Cuzco will celebrate 25 years since its designation by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation - UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre. Although many of the historic churches and other public and private buildings in the centre have been remodelled and restored to their former glory, there are still many, mostly privately owned, homes and others that have lacked the economic means to do so. However, this year a consortium of a local Peruvian bank together with the Inter American Finance Bank and the Municipality of Cuzco, have come together to offer soft credits to those small house owners that have not been able to previously afford a restoration. Although there are some disagreements as to the Inca name for the Plaza, most people nowadays use the name Huacaypata, which in the Inca Quechua language, still in use today, means the Place of Laments, which supposedly has its origin in its use as a meditation place for the Inca nobility and their prayers. What however is beyond doubt is that the Plaza was originally a swamp located between two rivers, and as such chosen as a strategic place by the mythical founder of the Inca Empire, Manco Capac. It was later on filled in by earth brought in from the mountains under the reign of the Inca Sinchi Roca and finally filled in with sand brought from the coast! of Peru, under the reign of the great Inca ruler Pachacutec - the Earth Shaker as this supreme Inca conqueror was called, the real expansionist Inca sovereign, who extended the limits of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire to the Four Corners of the Inca Universe. After the arrival of the Spaniards and their conquest, Pizarro and other leaders first lived in the abandoned Inca Palaces on the Plaza before starting to build Churches and their own homes in the Colonial style on top of the foundations of the former Inca buildings. Later on some Republican style buildings were added on and in modern times further additions have been made until reaching the aspect it holds today, to the delight of visitors from far and near.
THE JUNGLE REGION OF LORETO WITH ITS CAPITAL IQUITOS RECEIVES MORE VISITORS THIS YEAR THAN EARLIEER YEARS
During the first three months of the year, Loreto has seen an increase of 10.2 percent in the number of visitors compared to last year, in the words of the Regional President Iván Vásquez, who forecast an over 40 percent total increase by the end of the year. Due to its lack of access roads and distances involved it is not a place, which attracts low budget travellers and the average amount spent per visitor per day is between 400.00 to 500.00 US Dollars. Most visitors to the area come from the USA, Mexico and Japan.