PERU
History & Culture
Peru is best known as the heart of the Inca empire, but it was home to many diverse indigenous cultures long before the Incas arrived. Although there is evidence of human habitation in Peru as long ago as the eighth millennium BC , there is little evidence of organized village life until about 2500 BC. It was at about this time that climatic changes in the coastal regions prompted Peru's early inhabitants to move toward the more fertile interior river valleys. For the next 1500 years, Peruvian civilization developed into a number of organized cultures, including the Chavìn and the Sechìn. The Chavìn are best known for their stylized religious iconography, which included striking figurative depictions of various animals (the jaguar in particular) and which exercised considerable influence over the entire coastal region. The Sechìn are remembered more for their military hegemony than for their cultural achievement.

The decline of the Chavìn and Sechìn cultures around the 5th century BC gave rise to a number of distinctive regional cultures. Some of these, including the Saliner and the Paracas, are celebrated for artistic and technological advances such as kiln-fired ceramics and sophisticated weaving techniques. From the Paracas arose the Nazca, whose legacy includes the immense and cryptic Nazca Lines. However, the accomplish- ments of these and other early Peruvian civilizations seem today to pale in comparison to the robust pre-Columbian civilization of the Inca.

The most startling feature of the great Inca empire was its brevity. In 1430, the realm of the
Inca consisted of little more than the river valley around Cuzco. Less than a century later, through conquest and a canny policy of incorporating the best features of the societies they subjugated, the Incas controlled a vast territory of almost 1 million square kilometers--a dominion that extended from northwest Argentina to southern Colombia. The Incan capital, at Qosqo, was undoubtedly the richest city in all of the Americas, with temples literally sheathed in heavy gold plate. Although Qosqo's architecture remains only in fragments and foundations, the architectural accomplishment of the Inca's has survived intact at the astounding ceremonial centre of Machu Picchu.

In 1532, at the height of its power, the Inca empire was driven by a war of succession. In one of the great tragedies of history, it was at precisely this moment that Francisco Pizarro and his band of Spanish conquis- tadors arrived on the scene. Showing an uncanny ability to turn circumstances to his own advantage, Pizarro used deception and guile to gain a personal meeting with Atahualpa, the Inca ruler, whom he coolly assassinated. In the face of fierce resistance, Pizarro and his men seized Cuzco and sacked the city. Although the Incas continued to fight for the next several years, their empire had ended and Spanish rule had begun.


Peru's population of about 28 million is divided almost equally between the highlands and the population centres of the coast, and the division marks a sharp cultural as well as geographic divide. The inland regions are marked by extreme poverty and subsistence agriculture, while the fertile river valleys of the lowlands have produced a wealthier, more cosmo- politan culture. Almost half of Peru's people are Indian, while another one third or so are mestizo. About ten percent are of European descent, and there are significant African and Asian minorities. Although Spanish is Peru's official language, a multitude of indigenous languages continue to hold sway in the highlands.



Peru is South America's third largest country, covering 1,285,215 sq. km., and can be divided into three distinct geographic regions. The best known of these is the central high sierra of the Andes, with its massive peaks, steep canyons, and extraordinary pre Columbian archaeological sites. The Andes are still one of the world's most unstable mountain ranges, with frequent earthquakes, landslides, and flash floods. Despite such instability, the Andes are also the site of the most fascinating pre-Columbian cities of South America-like the great city of the clouds, Machu Picchu. The Andes are by no means the only region to visit in Peru. Also of great interest is Peru's narrow, lowland coastal region, a northern extension of the Atacama Desert. Although the Atacama is generally known as the most arid region on the planet, the climate along Peru's shores is made cooler and less dry by La Garuùa, a dense fog created by the collision of the frigid waters of the Humboldt Current with the heated sands of the Atacama. Lima, Trujillo, and Chiclayo, three of Peru's major population centres, are located along this coastal desert Peru's third great region is the dense forest that surrounds the headwaters of the Amazon beneath the eastern slopes of the Andes. This part of the country is so inaccessible that only the most adventurous and intrepid travelers should attempt to penetrate its mysterious emerald depths. In fact, the region's capital of Iquitos, a city of 400,000, is accessible only by air or by boat up the Amazon.

CLIMATE IN PERU
Peru's climate varies considerably by region.
In the Andes and Jungle, although December through March tends everywhere to be the wet season. The rain in the Andes are very intense that comes with hail and snow. 
In these months the temperature drops to 10 degrees and a high of 18 degrees.
In the Andes the months of May to August the weather is hot with almost total absence of rain the temperature can drop to minus 3 degrees during the night and day temperatures reach 25 to 27 degrees
The coastal areas, All along the coast in recent months January to April is the summer season, is the opposite of the Andes and the jungle, the remaining months of the year the weather is cold with rainfall and very humid that despite being on the coast temperatures decrease considerably.