Peru: A Timeless Landscape

Article excerpt

Peru has seen the rise and fall of various civilisations and empires--from the sun-worshipping Incas to the Spanish conquistadors--all of which have shaped its landscape and the lives of its colourful people. This month's collection of images from the archives of the RGS-IBG visits the country in the early 20th century, when a modern, industrialised nation was emerging among the remnants of Peru's rich imperial heritage

Above: a llama drive at the mining town of La Oroya in 1909. The hardiest of the Andean camelids, llamas were domesticated by pre-Inca agricultural communities. Males were used as pack animals and females were bred for their milk, much as they are today.

Right: terraced hillsides, such as those at Pisac in the Urubamba Valley, were a legacy of the Incas

Left: a sedimentary rock formation at Cajuta Pampa. This photo was taken by the Peru-Bolivia Boundary Commission around 1912; Right: built in the 1870s, the railway from Peru's capital Lima to La Oroya, 125 kilometres to the northeast, was major feat of engineering, involving 61 bridges and 65 tunnels and crossing a 4,800-metre pass. It was financed partly by the sale of guano, and still operates today

Above: llamas in the southern city of Arequipa. Located in the foothills of the volcano Mount Misti, Arequipa is the country's second largest city. Many of its fine churches and mansions were built from white volcanic sillar rock; Above left: although some areas were beginning to benefit from the improving infrastructure, in the early 20th century remote regions remained accessible only by traditional forms of transport; Left: a statue of Simon Bolivar in Plaza Bolivar, Lima (date unknown). …