city of Puno is Gateway to Lake Titicaca and the Folkloric Capital of Peru,
located high up in the Andes at an altitude of 12,421 feet (3,860 meters) above sea level.
Founded in November 1868 by the Spanish count Lermos, and once a prosperous community granted city status in 1810 due to the silver
mines at Laykakota, Puno today is the capital of the Altiplano region and
considered the commercial border town across lake Titicaca from Bolivia.
The city also has an exuberant side. It is officially the Folkloric Center of Peru. Throughout the
year, monthly festivals with music and dance fill the streets and bring out the photographers. The most popular of these
festivals is the feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria in February with the famous
Devil Dancers. The costumes are vivid and spectacular and no expense is spared for the 10-day celebration in honor of the
patron of Puno. One the first day hundreds of dance groups from the neighboring towns
pay their tribute to the Mamacha, showing the best of their folklore and wearing their finest
costumes. This is the time to see the famous and colorful
Diablada where, to the rhythm of
the Sikuri or panpipe players, groups of dancers
dressed as devils parade worshipping their patron. The image of the
Virgin is taken out in procession crossing the main streets of the
city of Puno. The following days are celebrated throughout the area
with fairs, festivals, drink and dancing day and night.
The city of Puno celebrates its founding during the first week of
November and throughout the year, on Sunday mornings, the Plaza de Armas is the site of military parades, music and ceremonies.
During Puno Days, on November 4 and 5, a lavish procession and masked dancers celebrate the beginning of the Inca Empire
when Manco Capac and Mamá Occlo rose forth from Lake Titicaca.