Guest blogger intern Anna W.
What comes to mind when you think about the South American country of Peru? Perhaps it’s the mysterious ancient Inca civilization and the famously beautiful ruins at Machu Picchu. Or maybe it’s the world-renowned cuisine, featuring dishes like ceviche, empanadas, butifarra, and chicharrón.
You may have also heard about the country’s breathtaking landscape and biodiversity. Peru’s geography has 28 individual climates and 90 micro-climates, and includes picturesque beaches on the Pacific coast (which happen to have some of the best surfing in the world) as well as towering snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains. Did you know that Peru’s Colca Canyon has a depth of 13,650 ft? That’s twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! Or perhaps you’ve heard of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at an elevation of 12,507 ft. The lake’s floating islands are inhabited by the Uru, a pre-Incan people who speak Quechua and live a traditional lifestyle centered around the totora reeds that they use for food and medicine.
Two-thirds of Peru’s land is covered in tropical Amazon rainforests, which are home to thousands of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, and insects - including more than 1,300 species of butterflies! Peru is also famous for its handicrafts, especially colorful hand-woven textiles, as well as wood carvings, instruments, paintings, jewelry, and more.
Are you itching to go to Peru so you can experience its culture and natural beauty first hand? Let us help you plan your trip! The library has an outstanding selection of Peru guidebooks as well as the online Travel Collection database with over 200 up-to-date eBooks from the Gale Virtual Reference Library. The library also provides access to Mango, a free online language learning program so you can brush up on your Spanish before you go.
Interested in learning more about this fascinating country? Fortunately for us, Peru’s capital city Lima is one of Austin’s 12 International Sister Cities. This sister relationship was established in 1981 "for the purpose of interchanging cultural, historical and peaceful thoughts, concepts and beliefs". You can read more about Austin’s Sister and Friendship Cities Program here.
In celebration of this cultural exchange, the Yarborough Branch is hosting Peru Fest on Saturday, April 26th from 10am-5pm. This event will feature crafts, art, storytime, music, Peruvian snacks, an author talk and other cultural events. While you’re there, be sure to check out the book display featuring a collection of titles by Peruvian authors along with Peru guidebooks, cookbooks, children’s books, photography and reference books, and more.