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Peruvian Culture

More than any other Andean country, Peru embodies all the conflicts, cultures, and contradictions of Latin American civilization. The city of Cusco was the seat of the Inca Empire until the arrival of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1531, executing the rival princes Huáscar and Atahualpa, and bringing about the long and bloody reign of Spanish and Catholic domination, which was justified by defining the indigenous peoples of the Inca empire as “savages.”

However, up until then the Incas had demonstrated an impressive capacity for building and design, culminating in the archeological landmark, Machu Pichu. Music figured prominently in pre-Colombian Peruvian life, with songs and pan flutes integrated into the daily tasks of work. Many folk songs from that epoch are still sung today. There were also long-established traditions of dance, often used in religious rituals. High quality sculpture, pottery, textiles, and jewelry were hallmarks of Inca culture.

But with subjugation came integration, as the Spanish introduced string instruments, such as harps and guitars, to native musical customs. And in the ensuing four hundred-plus years, as races and cultures have mixed, so have traditions. The work of Peruvian composer Andres Sas combines classical European with native Inca melodies. The arrival of African slaves in the 19th century, as well as Chinese and Japanese laborers for the construction of railways, added to the complexity of Peru’s historical diversity.

Architecturally, cities such as Cusco still retain the imprint of their Inca past, while often times integrating the styles of European colonialism, which itself has left an impressive legacy in architectural symbols of churches and public buildings. Peru is also notable for a rich, and often very experimental, literary tradition that has attracted worldwide interest, most notably the works of Mario Vargas Llosa.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Museums in Peru, Arequipa’s Phantoms, Art , Music in Peru, Yma Sumac - The Pop Life of an Andean Princess, Peru Dance and Theatre, Literature In Peru and Peruvian Cinema: From Crisis To Opportunity.

By de
13 Jun 2012

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