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Apart from historic photographs, unless otherwise stated, all photos on this site were taken by  members of my family. 

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2008 Mark Collins


Peru 2004 - Day 11, The Altiplano

After a busy day yesterday, today was to be spent on a coach travelling from Cuzco across the Altiplano to Lake Titicaca, with several stops with guided tours at places of interest.

First stop on the tour was at Andahuaylillas, where this colonial church (XVIth century) is known as "The Sistine Chapel of Peru" owing to the magnificent painting of the interior.

The next stop was Raqchi, an Inca site with enormous adobe walls.  Raqchi is located on one side of the Vilcanota river at 3500 meters (11500 feet).

The most important building inside the complex is the "Wiracocha temple" which is 92 metres long by 25.25 metres wide.

Andahuaylillas Church - MTC

Adobe walls at Raqchi

Mark with Mum at Raqchi - MTCThe central wall is 1.65 meters wide at the bottom and 1.30 metres wide at the top; today only 12 metres high, but a century ago they reached 15 meters. According to a hypothetical reconstruction they would orignally have towered to 16.6 metres. The side walls were 1.20 meters wide and 3 meters high. The roof must have been very impressive as it was about 2500 metres square and at an inclination of about 50.

There were round columns that are still visible between the central wall and the side walls which once supported the roof.

The tiled coverings to protect the walls are modern.  It is likely this was the highest adobe building ever constructed.

I took this photograph of the small colonial church at Raqchi through a gap in the Inca walls.

While exploring the ruins we spotted this little toad sunbathing.

Mark with Mum at Raqchi - MTC
Toad at Raqchi - MTCInca walls at Raqchi - MTC
View at La Raya - MTCLeaving Raqchi behind, we next stopped for lunch at Sicuani where we had the misfortune to witness the fabled ability of Llamas to drench the object of their displeasure with spit - believe me at that chewed grass is not pleasant when used by the beast in such a way!

After lunch we stopped briefly at La Raya Pass, the watershed of the Andes to take pictures and browse the usual stalls selling Peruvian crafts.

The road and railway follow much the same route.

View at La Raya - MTCView at La Raya - MTC
Pucara - MTCThe final tour of the day was at Pucara, which is a pre Incan site. The ruins comprise a small pyramidal complex and temple, called the Kalasaya.

The final picture taken today is of a view across the highland plain near Juliaca.

Juliaca itself seemed impoverished, dirty and run down, completely unlike other Peruvian cities we had previously seen.  We were glad not to be stopping here.

After a long day travelling we were pleased to reach the hotel, but not so pleased to discover that they hadn't got our room ready!

Pucara - MTC

View across the highlands near Juliaca - MTC