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Peru at a Glance

About Peru
Climatic Charts
History
Peru at a glance

OFFICIAL NAME

Republic of Peru

GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE

Democracy

PRESIDENT

Ollanta Humala Tasso (2011-present)
Alan Garcia Perez (2006-2011)
Peruvian Aprista Party (APRA)
Degrees in law, sociology and political science, author
First term (1985-1990)

POPULATION

28,674,757 (July 2007 est.)

CAPITAL

Lima
Population 9 million (2011)

OTHER MAJOR CITIES (ranked by population)

Arequipa
Trujillo
Chiclayo
Cusco
Piura
Chimbote
Iquitos

ETHNICITY

Amerindian 45%
Mestizo 37%
European descent 15%
African descent 2%

LANGUAGES

Spanish
Quechua
Aymara
Amazonian dialects

LITERACY

87.7%

LIFE EXPECTANCY

Men 67.9
Women 72.81

RELIGION

Roman Catholic 81%
Christian other 3%
None/unspecified 16%

AREA

496,222 square miles

PROTECTED AREAS (10% of its territory)

National parks 8
National reserves 9
National forests 4
National sanctuaries 28

NATIONAL FLOWER

Kantuta (also spelled Cantuta and Qantuta), it is called the Inca Magic Flower. (Cantua buxifolia or Fuchsia buxifolia).

NATIONAL BIRD

Andean Cock of the Rock (Rupicola Peruviana)

NATIONAL ANIMAL

Vicuna

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

Mining
Steel
Petroleum
Fishing
Textiles
Tourism

MAJOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

Coffee
Cotton
Sugarcane
Rice
Coca

HOLIDAYS

1/1 New Year’s Day
March-April Holy Week
5/1 May Day, Labor Day
6/29 Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Day
7/28 Peruvian Independence Day
8/30 Saint Rose of Lima
10/8 Battle of Angamos
10/20 Lord of the Miracles
11/1 All Saints Day
12/8 Day of the Immaculate Conception
12/25 Christmas

CUISINE

The New York Times calls Peruvian cuisine the best kept secret in South America. Lima has over twenty cooking schools and is at the heart of the new Andean food movement called Novo Andina, today considered Latin America’s most sophisticated cuisine. The diversity of Peru’s cuisine naturally lies in its mixture of indigenous and European culture. That blending is enhanced by its many varieties of ahi chili peppers, some found no where else in the world, the abundant species of fish caught off its long coastline, the tropical fruit, lucuma, its wheat staple, quinoa, and over 2,000 varieties of potatoes. Lomo Saltado combines strips of tender steak, sautéed with tomatoes, onions, rice and believe it or not, french fries, a divine mixture. Peru’s indigenous method of earth pot cooking called Pachamanca is considered a cultural treasure. Staple foods in the highlands include meat dishes, often with a spicy sauce. In jungle areas, fresh fruits, fried plantains, and other vegetables are also common.

 

Recipes such as ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice), pachamanca (meat and vegetables cooked underground), chupe de camarones (shrimp soup), ají de gallina (spicy chicken) and juane (corn mash pastries) are just a few of the mouth-watering dishes served up in Peru. The quality and variety of dishes in Peru are due to several reasons.

 

First, Peru’s ecological and climactic diversity (Peru is home to 84 of the 104 eco-systems existing on Earth) has given rise to a major supply of fresh produce, which any chef would be ecstatic about. The rich Peruvian fishing grounds abound in fish and shellfish species, the heart of the succulent coastal gastronomy. Rice, fowl and goat are the key ingredients of Peru’s north coastal cooking. In the Andes delicious ingredients such as the potato and sweet corn in all its varieties, plus cuy (guinea pig) and ají chili pepper are the basis of highland cooking and are to be found across the country. The jungle adds its own touch, wild game with a side serving of fried banana and manioc root. Local fruit varieties such as chirimoya (custard apple) and lucuma make incomparable deserts.

 

The second reason Peru has such wonderful food is the rich mix of Western and Eastern cultural traditions. Over the course of centuries, Peru has felt the influence of Spain in stews and soups, Arab sweets and desserts, African contributions to Creole cooking, Italian pastas, Japanese preparations of fish and shellfish and Chinese culinary methods which have given birth to one of the most popular gastronomic traditions in Peru: chifa. But the originality of Peru’s cuisine does not stem just from its traditional cooking -rather, it continues to incorporate new influences, preparing exquisite and impeccable dishes that have been dubbed the New Peruvian Cuisine (Nuvo). It is a veritable privilege to experience Peru’s cooking. Bon appetit!

 

Peruvian vegetarian dishes typically just leave out the meat rather than substituting a vegetarian protein source such as tofu, beans, or nuts. This is the place to experience the Pisco sour, a heavenly concoction of lime, whipped egg whites and the country’s native grape liquor, Pisco.

CURRENCY

Nuevo Sol (PEN)

INTERNATIONAL DIALING CODE

51

TIME ZONE

Same as US Eastern Standard Time, no daylight savings

ELECTRICITY

220 V, 60 Hz

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