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Peru Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Peru is in western South America and bordered by Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and the South Pacific Ocean.

Lima is the capital city. Other important cities are Arequipa, Callao, Trujillo, and Chiclayo.

Peru's terrain is divided into coastal plain, mountains and rainforest. Rivers include the Maranon, Huallaga, Ucayali and the Amazon.

The climate varies from dry and mild on the coast, temperate to extremely cold in the Andes, and hot and humid in the rainforest.

Environment
Peru is a mountainous country with steep canyons, a narrow coastal plain and Amazon rainforest. There are many rivers and a number of lakes. Lake Titicaca, in the Central Andes, is the highest navigable lake in the world and the largest lake in South America.

Protected areas include National Parks (Bahuaja-Sonene and Cerros de Amotape), National Sanctuaries (Ampay and Huayllay) and National Reserves (Junin, Pacaya-Samiria, and Titicaca).

World Heritage sites are Huascaran National Park, Manu National Park, Rio Abiseo National Park and the historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

Architecture
There are a number of World Heritage sites in Peru dating from early civilizations.

The Chavin civilisation is one of the earliest known cultures in Peru and the site of Chavin, high in a valley of the Andes, was an important ceremonial centre dating back to around 1200 BC.

The Chan Chan archaeological zone was the capital of the Chimu Kingdom that eventually fell to the Incas. The city is impressive in design, divided into nine citadels containing living space, temples and storage facilities.

The most well known Peruvian archaeological site is Machu Picchu, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. Machu Picchu is set dramatically on the eastern slopes of the Andes, its walls and terraces blending with the natural environment.

Also high in the Andes, the Inca city of Cuzco was an Inca urban centre. However, Baroque churches and palaces were built over the ruins of the Inca city when it became a Spanish possession.

Lima was the Spanish capital in South America. Earthquakes have damaged the city but renovation and rebuilding of some Colonial architecture has taken place. The main square is a World Heritage site.

Population
The population of Peru was estimated at 29,248,943 in 2011.

Languages
Official languages are Spanish and Quechua.

Religion
A large percentage of Peruvians are Roman Catholics.

Food
Peruvian cuisine is hot and spicy. Potatoes, cassava, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes and various beans are native to South America. Maize, originally from Mexico, has also been a staple food in Peru for thousands of years. Potatoes and rice are served frequently with meat dishes and vegetables.

With Peru's long coastline fishing is an important industry. Seafood dishes include ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon or lime juice) and soup made with shrimps.

A variety of fruits are grown, some, such as apples, cherries, figs, oranges and peaches, introduced by the Spanish.

Local alcoholic drinks are grape brandy (pisco) and fermented corn juice (chicha). Beer and wine is produced, fruit juices are bottled and coffee grown.

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