The history of Peru stretches back more than 10,000 years. It is a land filled with enchantment, riches, and, mystery. It is the most verdant part of its vast territory – tropical forest teeming with life – where the majestic Amazon River emerges. The potato, that prodigious food source that saved the world, was first cultivated in the ancestral soils of the Andean highlands. On the Peruvian coast, at the heart of an immense plam, men who had contemplated the stars traced the enigmatic Nazca Lines, which can only be fully appreciated from the air.
This is a land of exceptional diversity and exuberance: more than 3000 kilometers of coastline bathed by the clear and cold waters of the Pacific Ocean; the icy peaks of imposing mountains defying the imagination as they soar almost 7000 meters above sea level; millions of hectares of tropical Amazonian forest that shelter such an enormous variety of natural species humankind has still not been able to discover and classify them all. Peru is a paradise in which landscapes that can certainly be seen in other places and different latitudes around the planet have, by some miracle, been brought together in one country.
Ancient Heritage Of Peru
Peru was also the setting for the fabulous empire of the Incas, extraordinary people whose warrior elite extended their influence until they dominated much of South America. As a legacy of that period of their greatest splendor, they left behind stone fortresses, architectural jewels set in sacred mountains, including Machu Picchu, declared one of the new wonders of the world in 2008 and a magnet for travelers from all over the world.
Before the Incas, there existed other peoples and kingdoms that also left behind magnificent remnants of a glorious past. One of these is the sacred city of Caral, considered the cradle of South America’s most ancient civilization and revealing how, some thirty centuries before the birth of Christ, ancient Peruvians had begun to create a unique culture.
Other extraordinary examples of the legacy of pre-Inca peoples include the royal tombs of Sipan, perhaps the most lavish funerary structure in the Americas, which for centuries zealously guarded the evidence of its creators’ vivid history.
And we cannot fail to mention again in more detail what is one of the most fascinating enigmas bequeathed to subsequent generations by the ancient inhabitants of Peru: those lines etched into the desert of Nazca, those immense figures traced onto the plains of the department of Ica, the secrets of which remain largely unsolved. Their presence seems to lend the area a peculiar magic, and not far away, the region’s sandy soils produce the country’s best grapes, from which the finest piscos are made.