Peru is an extremely biodiverse country located in western South America. What the country so fascinating are the multiple layers of great civilizations still evident throughout. From the cobblestone streets preserved from the era of the Conquistadors to the ruins of the lost city of Machu Picchu, travelers and locals alike are reminded of the once mighty Inca Empire. The breathtaking Peruvian Andes are home to millions of highland Indians who still speak the ancient language of Quechua and maintain a traditional way of life. Then to the East and thousands of feet below, the lush Amazon Basin covers half of Peru and is one of the world's top 10 biodiversity hotspots.

Peru is a developing country with inland regions that are marked by extreme poverty and subsistence agriculture, while the fertile river valleys of the lowlands have produced a wealthier, more cosmopolitan culture. Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing. Crops including cotton, beans, squash and chile peppers were planted as early as 4000 BC and advanced cultures such as the Chavín introduced weaving, agriculture and religion to the country shortly thereafter.

Ancient Peruvians were outstanding handicraft artisans with highly developed technical skills. Pre-Hispanic Peruvian art has been dated back to ancient times through the discovery of weaving, gourds, wood, stone, gold, silver, pottery and even mud, which were used for day-to-day living. This ancestral heritage is still seen today in the coastal, mountain and jungle towns, with beautifully woven items that remain highly valued around the world.




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