Peru has centuries of history, including influences from the ancient Inca Empire that still exist today. From the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, walking with llamas, potato farming, and more, the Inca’s reverence for Pachamama (mother earth) is very much alive in the Andes people’s modern beliefs and activities.

The Inca Trail is the route to Machu Picchu in the high elevation of the Andes Mountains. The Inca traveled through these trails over 600 years ago to reach the ancient city. Details along the way are nuggets of history about their empire.

Machu Picchu is a stone city—an architectural feat of wonder—that sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. The Inca designed its incredible buildings, walls, and terraces to blend naturally into the rock escarpments and greenery within which it’s situated. Many people believe the site is a powerful energy source, emanating from Pachamama herself, and they pilgrimage here for a profound experience.

Machu Picchu, Peru ©2019, Cyndie Burkhardt.

The Quechua village Chinchero is built on top of Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. Quechua is a term for indigenous mountain people of the Andes and also their language. People know the land intimately and survive from its many natural resources. They bond with the animals who are as much pets as sustenance providers. And living without most modern trappings, people are easy-going and happy with a simple and genuine lifestyle.

In Chinchero weaving traditions are passed down through generations. Raw materials come from the animals (wool) and the land (plants for dye). Expert craftsmanship comes from knowledge, skill, and deep connection with Quechua culture and heritage.

Nearly 5,000 potato varieties are native to Peru. The international potato industry is trying to preserve heirloom varieties and indigenous groups are, unbelievably, still discovering more. Supporting these efforts, today’s planting, growing, and harvesting follow traditional Inca farming methods.

While Inca may or may not have eaten ceviche, this popular food originated in Peru centuries ago. Whatever the flair for preparation and presentation, it’s the country’s national dish.

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