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Sep 18 Colca Canyon and Terraces

sunny 18 °C
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Today we drove 45 minutes to the Colca Canyon. The drive took us along the Colca River which is 4500 km long,starting in the highlands near Puna and flowing to the Pacific. The valley is lined for miles by terraces built in the pre-Inca times , over 1000 years between 500BC and 500AD., The terraces go from the river edge up 3000 feet to a height of 13,500 feet. The people (Collawa) built extensive irrigation systems still in use today.

When the Spanish came, they forced the population down to the bottom of the canyon and created villages and built churches. Today the people spend 4 or 5 days at their terraces, sleeping in tents. Now that schooling is more accessible, and the kids can go to university (paid by the government, many don’t want that lifestyle and so the terraces are being abandoned, however this does allow for crop and terrace rotation.

Along the way to the condor stop, we pulled over at the side of the road as there were 2 young condors right there. Adults can weigh up to 15 kilos and have a 3 metre wingspan. In the mornings they fly on the thermals up to the top of the canyon looking for carrion. They look like vultures.

We stopped for 45 minutes at the park on the edge of the canyon and were fortunate to see several condors flying overhead. At this altitude it was quite a hike to the lower viewing point but worth the walk.

The Colca River is 4500 Km’s long, starting near Puno and Lake Titicaca, and flowing to the Pacific Ocean. The Canyon is the third deepest after Tibet and Nepal. Twice as deep at the Grand Canyon.

We stopped in the village of Maka to see the church. Although the Spaniards ‘converted’ the local people back in the 1600’s it was only superficial. In their hearts and minds they are still Indian and this is very evident in the church. They were used to praying to their gods at the top of mountains and by rivers etc so the Spaniards lured them into churches with mirrors mounted on the walls.. This created a lot of excitement for the people to come in and see themselves but didn’t do much for conversion. The Virgin Mary is dressed as a local woman with local costumes. The concept of Jesus as a man dying and being resurrected was never understood. Even today there is a sun and moon painted on the walls which dates back to their old beliefs.



Maca church:

Ranch at the lodge:

Posted by barb3389 15:43 Archived in Peru

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