In pre-Incan and Incan times, Puno was part of the territory occupied by the Tiahuanaco culture (800 to 1200 a.D.) which was the Aymara nation´s maximum expression, as it developed between what is now Peru and Bolivia, and mainly, in the area around Lake Titicaca. Then, in the 15th century, the Incas imposed themselves onto this territory and integrated it in the Great Tahuantinsuyu. Afterwards, attracted by the mining activities that developed in that region, the Spanish left an important colonial heritage in the whole Peruvian and Bolivian high plains´ area.
Today, Puno is the Peruvian Folklore´s Capital City and seat of the Candlemass Virgin´s Festivities. It lies at 3,827 m. Above sea level, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world´s highest navigable lake. The lake´s surroundings are spectacular, as Sillustani´s Chullpas stand out, with its set of imposing funerary towers built by the Kollas. Then, Juli distinguishes itself, as it is well-known for its beautiful colonial churches, and Lampa, with its Viceregal Church, built between 1675 and 1685. Afterwards, there is Llachón, a rural community that still conserves century old customs and cultural manifestations, and finally, Pucará is famous for its pre-Incan ceramics and for “Pucará´s little bulls” which today´s artisans elaborate with clay, to adorn the roofs of houses, as symbols of protection and abundance for the home and family.
The great lake also shelters many islands, the inhabitants of which have preserved ancestral customs and traditions, like in the case of the Uros, for example, who live on “floating islands”, artificially made with totora, and navigate around the area on their traditional embarkations made of totora. Then, the Taquile, Suasi and Amantaní islands are known for their inhabitants´ amability and ancestral handwoven textile techniques, pre-Colombian constructions and wonderful landscapes. The Titicaca National Reserve (36,180 ha.) protects extensive totora plantations and diverse species of local flora and fauna.