THE FLOATING ISLANDS OF THE UROS

THE FLOATING ISLANDS OF THE UROS

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THE FLOATING ISLANDS OF THE UROS – LAKE TITICACA – PUNO

The Uros of Peru have been living for centuries on the floating islands of the Uros artificial that they themselves build and they are one of the most striking cases that exist of a people that has survived thanks to ultra specialization, in this case of a single vegetable product: the totora, an aquatic reed that grows in Titicaca.

They have been here since pre-Inca times and are currently spread over some 87 artificial islands, each inhabited by a family clan. They have traditionally dedicated themselves to fishing and hunting waterfowl as a complement to their diet. The surplus was exchanged on the coast for corn, potatoes, rice and other materials that are vital for them: for example, vegetable ropes and eucalyptus stakes to tie their islands to the bottom of the lake so that the currents do not carry them away.

The floating islands of the Uros

Who are the Uros?

It is estimated that the Uro people were one of the oldest peoples on the American continent.

Some hypotheses suggest that they could have come from coastal areas and migrated to Lake Titicaca to escape the great droughts between the 10th and 13th centuries. They decided to settle in the water to avoid being conquered by the Inca, Tiahuanaco and Colla peoples. Besides safety, the advantage of being on the water is direct access to resources with fishing and bird hunting.

The language of the Uros was the pukina but it has disappeared. They adopted Quechua and Aymara, which they still speak today, along with Spanish for practical reasons.

FACT: There are no longer any descendants of the Uros since the 1950s. Actually, today it is the inhabitants of the area who recreate this particular way of life on the islands for tourism purposes.

Who are the Uros?

The floating islands and the houses of the Uros

With a thickness of between two and three meters, the size of the islands varies depending on the families that live there. A layer of reeds previously dried and woven called khili spreads over its surface.

The islands float due to the gases that are produced when the root blocks of the cattails decompose and that are trapped without being able to come to the surface.

To prevent the islands from moving due to the action of the wind, they have an anchoring system built with sticks that fix them to the bottom of the lake.

Their houses, including walls, roofs, and doors, are built entirely of the same material, as are the rafts that serve as their means of transportation.

The totora, in addition to being used as a construction material, is also used by the Uros as food and as fuel.

The floating islands and the houses of the Uros

What things can we see on the Uros Floating Islands?

As in any tourist attraction, there are things that stand out more in some than in others, in this case we will see the variety of flora and fauna that the floating islands of Los Uros possess, in addition to the traditions and way of life of the inhabitants.

Flora: In the Floating Islands of the Uros, we have several species that are part of the landscape.

  • Totora: It is a plant that grows wild and/or cultivated, these normally develop in lagoons, swampy areas and valsares of the coast and part of the mountains of our country. The totora grows from sea level to 4,000 meters above sea level.
  • The llacho: Food resource, which maintains the production of livestock and its derived products.

Fauna: Regarding the Fauna that we can find in the Floating Islands of the Uros, they are the native fish which are part of the nutrition of the inhabitants of this area.

  • White Carachi, small and/or dwarf.
  • Mauri.
  • Umantu.
  • Suche.

Added to this list of native fish are species that were adapted to the system and that are currently part of the diet of the inhabitants, such as:

  • Trout.
  • Silverside.

On the other hand, among other species within the fauna we can observe the birds of the lake, which are also used by the inhabitants to market, among these species we have:

  • White Heron.
  • Gray heron Waqana, blue, Andean or
  • Wallata.
  • Pork duck, Mijji.
  • Black Ibis, Chuwankira.
  • Andean duck, qaqato.
  • Hawk.
What things can we see on the Uros Floating Islands?

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