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Geography & Topography

Capital: Lima; 8,180,000

Area: 1,285,216 square kilometers (496,224 square miles)

Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara

Religion: Roman Catholic

Currency: Nuevo sol


Peru lies on the Pacific coast of South America just south of the Equator. To the Quechua Indians Peru means “land of abundance.” Peru has a large variety of arts and crafts. The diversity, colour and creativity of Peru’s folk art has made it a fundamental activity not just for Peru’s cultural identity, but also as a way of life for Peruvian communities.

Peruvian art is largely influenced by centuries of history and often imbued with pre-Hispanic shapes and symbols which were culturally infused by the Spaniards. The excellent craftsmanship of Peruvian artisans can often be seen in the harmony of the geometric designs in weavings and other handcrafted items.

Performing Arts


Music has played a major role in the Peruvian community dating back to as far as 10,000 years ago. Ancient Peruvian musical traditions are those of the Amerindians of the Andes. Its music is well-known through its characteristic panpipes of poncho-clad folklore groups.

The most recognisable instruments in traditional Peruvian music are:


A Peruvian playing the Charango at Cristo Blanco, Cusco, Peru

Charango: A small 10-stringed guitar most commonly played in Bolivia. The sound box of this instrument is traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo, giving it a unique, distinctive sound.







Bombo, an indigenous drum of the Andean region

Bombo: A large wooden drum found throughout the Andes. It is hollowed out from the trunk of a tree and is sometimes covered in animal skins.








Sampoña: Panpipes or also known as siku in the Peruvian language. The unique feature of Sampoña is that a complementary pair is needed to play a melody as each instrument has only certain notes. Sampoñas are made and bound with reed.



Examples of traditional Peruvian dances are:




Chujcu: A comical dance in which the dancers represent labourers during the Colonial Era who went to the tropical valleys and jungle regions to search for work at sugar plantations and retuning with yellow fever. The dancers often fall to the ground in violent convulsions and are “treated” by doctors and nurses carrying a variety of medical instruments such as giant syringes and irrigators.

Qhapaq Qolla: This dance represents the legendary merchants from Lake Titicaca who used to bring products to trade from Paucartombo and jungle regions. The dancers wear knitted woollen masks known as the “waq’ollo” and intricately-adorned flat, square hat called “aqarapi”, which usually have antique coins hanging from their borders. They can be seen twisting strands of wool into thread as they dance. Characters in this dance consists of the Mayor (El Alcalde) who carries a large wooden staff of authority, his wife (La Imilla) and child (q’ollita), two captains and a llama herder (llamero) who occasionally wanders off into the crowd followed by his llama laden with products.

Qhapaq Qolla

Qhapaq Qolla



Some interesting facts:

  • Potatoes originate from Peru and there are over 3000 varieties produced by them.
  • The oldest newspaper in South America is El Peruano, founded by Simon Bolivar in Lima in 1825.
  •  In Peru, you can find 1701 species of birds, making it the most in any country in the world.
  • Peru is the biggest producer of gold, zinc and lead in South America.
  • The Andes Mountains in Peru have 50 peaks that are over 6000 meters (19, 685 ft.), 1769 glaciers and 12,000 lakes and lagoons of different lengths and depths.

Peruvian Community in Australia:

More information on the Peruvian community: