Fantastic Floating Islands of the Uros of Lake Titicaca


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The life of the Uros on make-shift reed islands on Lake Titicaca.....

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Fantastic Floating Islands of the Uros of Lake Titicaca

  1. 1. 6/11/2009 1
  2. 2. Uros Floating Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru Lake Titicaca is the world's highest lake navigable to large vessels, lying at 12,500 feet (3,810 m) above sea level in the Andes Mountains of South America, astride the border between Peru to the west and Bolivia to the east. Titicaca is the second largest lake of South America (after Maracaibo). 6/11/2009 2
  3. 3. The remnants of an ancient people, the Uru, still live on floating mats of dried totora (a reedlike papyrus that grows in dense brakes in the marshy shallows) on floatings islands of Uro which are about 17. From the totora, the Uru and other lake dwellers make their famed balsas— boats fashioned of bundles of dried reeds lashed together that resemble the crescent-shaped papyrus craft pictured on ancient Egyptian monuments. 6/11/2009 3
  4. 4. 6/11/2009 4
  5. 5. These floating islands are the home of the Uros tribe, one which pre-dates the Incan civilization. According to their legends, they existed before the sun, when the earth was still dark and cold. They were impervious to drowining or being struck by lightning. 6/11/2009 5
  6. 6. They lost their status as super beings when they disobeyed universal order and mixed with humans, making them susceptible to contempt. They scattered, losing their identity, language, and customs. 6/11/2009 6
  7. 7. They became the Uro-Aymaras, and now speak Aymara. Because of their simple and precarious lifestyle, the Incas thought them worth little and accordingly taxed them very little. Yet the Uros, with their basic reed homes outlasted the mighty Incas with their huge stone temples and mountain-top enclaves. 6/11/2009 7
  8. 8. The floating islands are protected within the Bay of Puno and are home to 2000 or so Uros, who claim to have quot;black bloodquot; are consequently immune to the cold. They call themselves be kot-suña, or people of the lake, and consider themselves the owners of the lake 6/11/2009 and its waters. 8
  9. 9. The totora is a cattail type rush growing native in the lake. Its dense roots support the top layer, which rots and must be replaced regularly by stacking more reeds on top of the layer beneath. The islands change in size, and more are created as 6/11/2009 the need arises.9
  10. 10. The Uros residents of the islands create their homes from the reeds. The roofs are waterproof but not humidity resistant. 6/11/2009 10
  11. 11. Cooking fires are built on a layer of stones to protect the reeds. 6/11/2009 11
  12. 12. Residents wear layers of clothing, mostly woolen, to protect themselves from the cold, the wind, and the sun which at this altitude can burn fiercely. Many women still wear the distinctive derby type hat and full skirts. 6/11/2009 12
  13. 13. Occasionally, if the level of the lake decreases, they may plant potatoes in soil created by the decaying reeds, but as a norm, they are not agricultural. The reed boats quite often have an animal face or shape on the prow and are a favourite photographic subject. 6/11/2009 13
  14. 14. They continue living by fishing, weaving and now, tourism. They catch fish for themselves and to sell on the mainland. They also catch shore birds and ducks for eggs and food. 6/11/2009 14
  15. 15. The largest island is currently Tribuna. The surface of the islands is uneven, thin, and some liken walking on it to walking on a waterbed. The unwary might not notice a thin spot and sink a leg or more into the frigid waters of the lake. 6/11/2009 15
  16. 16. A main source of income for the Uros in the present, tourism 6/11/2009 16
  17. 17. The islands are part of the Titicaca National Reserve, created in 1978 to preserve 37 thousand hectares of marsh reeds in the south and north sectors of Lake Titicaca. 17 6/11/2009 Trinity