PeruCopyright: Paweł Opaska 123rf.com

Peru

Capital: Lima
Currency Sol (PEN)
Language: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
Listen to the national anthem

Peru is a Republic and contains the second largest part of the Amazon Rainforest, which covers 60% of the country.

Peru has a rich history and it is believed that the earliest human presence is 9,000 BC. The most famous of sites is Macchu Picchu which is some 2,400 meters above sea level.

Macchu PicchuCopyright: Iñaki Larrea Flickr

The site was built around 1450 but was abandoned soon after the Spanish conquest just a century later. Today, the site is protected and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Peru encompasses a wide range of biodiversity with habitats that range from arid plains to tropical Rainforest to snow capped peaks of the Andes. There are in fact 28 different climate types in Peru.

The humble potato originated in Peru and there are over 3,000 different varieties! There are 55 varieties of corn including black, white and even purple!

Purple CornCopyright:  Patibutkan Singsoot 123rf.com

The tomato also originated in Peru, a close relative of the potato.

The world's deepest canyon can be found in Peru, the Cotahuasi Canyon which is 3,535 m deep, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Lake Titicaca is in the border of Peru and Bolivia and at just over 3,800 meters above sea level making it the highest navigable lake in the world.

Lake Titicaca  Copyright: Marcelo Rodriguez 123rf.com

The largest boat to operate on the lake was the SS Ollanta, a 2.2 million kg (2,200 tonnes), 70 m (230 ft) wide steam boat.

In 1973, spicy foods and hot sauces were banned in prisons as it was said that they might arouse sexual desires!

The Guinea Pig is a traditional dish that is mainly eaten at festivals. It is served crispy complete with head, including their eyes and legs.

Gold is one of Peru's biggest exports and illegal mining has had a major impact on the environment. Peru is the sixth largest producer and in 2010, produced over 160,000 kg (160 tonnes) worth an estimated US$6 trillion! It is no wonder then that illegal mining is a risk well worth taking. The use of Mercury to bind the gold flecks has caused huge devastation to the environment as the water courses are poisoned.

The Peruvian dress sense is very bright and bold in colour, woven into thick practical clothes. Traditionally, all clothing was hand woven from the wool of the Alpaca, the south American version of the sheep.

Peruvian girl with baby AlpacaCopyright: donyanedomam 123rf.com

The patterns and types of clothing are unchanged for a thousand years. The Peruvian women reflects their religion and culture and even her village in their clothing. Younger men tend to be attracted to more western styles such as synthetic T-shirts and track suit trousers. Older men still wear ponchos which like the females hats, determine their village.

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