(Altitude: 3,930 m / 12,890 ft, Population: 14,780, Phone Code: 051)
Due to its remote location inland from the shores of Lake Titicaca, Lampa has managed to maintain a quiet, graceful charm. Characterized by clean, open streets and 17th-century casonas tinted ochre, burgundy and pink (hence its nickname, La Ciudad Rosada), Lampa is conducive to quiet mornings and languid afternoon strolls. Indeed, time seems to have bypassed this quaint colonial town.
In addition to its tranquil atmosphere, Lampa offers travelers plenty of things to see and do. Iglesia Santiago Ap贸stol, the massive, Latin-cross shaped church gracing Lampa's main square, was constructed 1675-1685 using a combination of lime mortar with river stones. In the 1950s, Enrique Torres Bel贸n, a mining engineer, began restoration of the temple. Bel贸n even made the trip to the Vatican to obtain a rare copy of Michelangelo鈥檚 Piet谩. The interior of the church is adorned with huge colonial paintings, and an exquisite pulpit whose awe-inspiring grace echoes the one in San Blas in Cusco.
In another section of the church is the Torres Bel贸n mausoleum, in which the remains of Torres Bel贸n and his wife are located. This eerie crypt is decorated with the bones of hundreds of priests, hacienda owners and Spanish miners, which were removed from their original resting place beneath the church when Bel贸n ordered the church鈥檚 catacombs to be sealed. A number of ancient Inca tunnels left over from an earlier temple wind their way beneath the church.
Two blocks from the church is Museo Kampac, which has a small collection of pre-Inca and Inca artifacts (Jr Ugarte). A number of colonial homes in town are also worth visiting. During the independence wars, Sim贸n Bolivar addressed the town from the beautiful Casona Chukiwanka located in Plaza Grau. Some of the houses have old colonial games, in the form of white and black stones laid out in courtyards to form huge game boards.
The dirt roads stretching beyond Lampa towards Cusco make for an excellent bike ride or drive. On the way are the forest of que帽a, Colla-era chullpas, well-preserved remains of two colonial mines, a forest ofpuya raimondiand the intriguing geological formations at Tinajani Canyon. The road leading westward from Lampa features a cave with animal carvings and burial towers similar to those at Sillustani.
Lampa comes alive with colonial-style bullfights and traditional dances for the Fiesta de Santiago Ap贸stol, July 29-31. Another good time to visit is December 6-8, when religious processions honoring La Virgin de la Immaculada wend through the streets.
Lampa is 23 kilometers (14 mi, 30 min) northwest of Juliaca and 80 kilometers (48 mi, 1.5 hr) from Puno. The city has several hotels, restaurants and other basic services. For more information about Lampa, visit: www.munilampa.gob.pe/turismo/lampa-turistica.html.