Photos

Photographer's Note

Picture presents Uru people - pre-Incan people who live on forty-two self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca.
The Uros descend from a millennial town that, according to legends, are "pukinas" who speak Uro or Pukina and that believe they are the owners of the lake and water. Uros used to say that they have black blood because they did not feel the cold. Also they call themselves "Lupihaques" (Sons of The Sun). Nowadays, Uros do not speak the Uro language, nor practice their old beliefs but keep some old customs.
The purpose of the island settlements was originally defensive, and if a threat arose they could be moved. The largest island retains a watchtower almost entirely constructed of reeds.
The Uros traded with the Aymara tribe on the mainland, intermarrying with them and eventually abandoning the Uro language for that of the Aymara. About 500 years ago they lost their original language. When conquered by the Inca empire, they had to pay taxes to them, and often were made slaves.
The Uros use bundles of dried totora reeds to make reed boats (balsas mats), and to make the islands themselves.
The larger islands house about ten families, while smaller ones, only about thirty meters wide, house only two or three.
The islets are made of totora reeds, which grow in the lake. The dense roots that the plants develop and interweave form a natural layer called Khili (about one to two meters thick) that support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds at the bottoms of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top constantly, about every three months; this is what makes it exciting for tourists when walking on the island. This is especially important in the rainy season when the reeds rot much faster. The islands last about thirty years.
Each step on an island sinks about 2-4" depending on the density of the ground underfoot. As the reeds dry, they break up more and more as they are walked upon. As the reed breaks up and moisture gets to it, it rots, and a new layer has to be added to it. It is a lot of work to maintain the islands. Because the people living there are so infiltrated with tourists now, they have less time to maintain everything, so they have to work even harder in order to keep up with the tourists and with the maintenance of their island. Tourism provides financial opportunities for the natives, while simultaneously challenging their traditional lifestyle.
The Uros islands at 3810 meters above sea level are just five kilometers west from Puno port. Around 2,000 descendants of the Uros were counted in the 1997 census, although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands; most have moved to the mainland. The Uros also bury their dead on the mainland in special cemeteries.
Food is cooked with fires placed on piles of stones. To relieve themselves, tiny 'outhouse' islands are near the main islands. The ground root absorbs the waste.

source: wikipedia.org

marabu61 has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 972
Points: 6
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Leszek Stefaniuk (jabumbum) Silver Note Writer [C: 4 W: 0 N: 72] (700)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH