Brianna Barnes travels through Peru exploring the Land of the Incas, one of the greatest pre-Hispanic civilizations of Latin America.
She begins this epic journey in the small northern mountain city of Cajamarca where the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, first encountered the Incan civilization. In the central square of this small Andean city, we hear the bloody story of how Pizarro tricked the Inca Emperor, Atahualpa. After being captured, Atahualpa offered rooms full of gold and silver as ransom. Pizarro took the ransom and killed Atahualpa anyway.
In Cuzco, and the nearby Sacred Valley, we further explore the Inca heartlands and their extraordinary culture. When Pizarro arrived in 1532, the Incas controlled more than a third of South America’s population. The Inca were known for their solid and unique building techniques and Brianna explores the ruins in Cuzco and at the former Incan fortresses of Ollantaytambo. She hears about Incan rituals which involved the sun worship and animal sacrifice at winter solstice festivals such as Inti Raymi. Incan heritage in the Andes remains strong and Brianna watches as young men still endure physical tests to prove their stamina and courage. The most famous Inca site is the stunning but isolated mountain-top city of Machu Picchu discovered only 100 years ago, and Brianna journeys there by train to learn more about life in the city before it was abandoned.
From Cuzco, after being subject to a purifying ritual by the local shaman, Brianna travels to the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons where she stays in a local homestay and goes on a spectacular bike trek. Her final destination is the beautiful ‘’white city’’ of Arequipa, one of Peru’s biggest cities, which because of its southern location, is less visited by tourists. Arequipa is surrounded by a spectacular range of volcanoes. The Inca buried their dead on top and near the summits of these volcanoes and Brianna goes to the local museum where she views examples of ‘’mummy bundles’’ discovered high up on the slopes. It was not unusual for several people to be buried and mummified together and to date; nearly two thousand examples of this extraordinary practice have been uncovered by archaeologists.
Brianna ends her Peruvian adventure, and this episode of Globe Trekker Around the World, with a two day trek to the summit of Nevado Pichu Pichu, one of the magnificent volcanoes so sacred to the Inca which retains a special spiritual significance for Peruvians to this day!