Ancient Man Made Flaoting Islands. Seriously!?!

Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca

Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca

In the early morning before I left Puno, I had the pleasure to visit one of the most amazing micro societies in the world.  Human ingenuity is truly limitless.  If there is a problem in nature we can solve it, as a group we just need to set the proper parameters and work towards it.

The Uros people have done this, and for thousands of years have made a habitat out of material and land that is not land!  All one needs to do to see that anything is possible is to look at the floating islands on Lake Titicaca and be inspired.  This is a call to all architects and structural designers, forget the great pyramids, temples, and columned buildings, go see these islands, and let your mind run wild!

To get out to the islands I hired a tour company to boat me out.  I never like to take tours as they are only for tourist, but sometimes when time-crunched it is the only practical way to see the area of interest.  At day break a bus picked me up from the hotel and drove us to the wharf at Puno on Lake Titicaca.  We had a briefing about where we were about to go, and what basic educate was.  We learned a little history of who the people of the floating islands were and how they came to live in such a unique way. We learned that these floating islands are the home of the Uros tribe, one which pre-dates the Incan civilization. According to their legends, they existed before the sun, when the earth was still dark and cold. They were impervious to drowning or being struck by lightning. They lost their status as super beings when they disobeyed universal order and mixed with humans, making them susceptible to contempt. They scattered, losing their identity, language, and customs. They became the Uro-Aymaras, and now speak Aymara. Because of their simple and precarious lifestyle, the Incas thought them worth little and accordingly taxed them very little. Yet the Uros, with their basic reed homes outlasted the mighty Incas with their huge stone temples and mountain-top enclaves. The islands are made and re-made from the totora reeds which provide home, sustenance and transportation for their residents.

Lake Titicaca on the way to the Uros Islands

Lake Titicaca on the way to the Uros Islands

Totora Reed Structures

Totora Reed Structures

Totora Reed Boat

Totora Reed Boat

Totora Reed House

Totora Reed House

Our Guide

Our Guide

This is the mayor of the island.  With a population of about 5 I’m guessing it was a heated election.  He showed us how they construct the islands and boats, and explained the general societal structure and relations with the other islands.  Each island is like a little community which is part of the larger society of islands.

The Mayor of the Island.  There are 5 inhabitants.

The Mayor of the Island. There are 5 inhabitants.

The Mayor gave us a tour and showed us how they made and secured the islands in one place. Here he is showing how deep the water is. It is about 15 meters

The Mayor gave us a tour and showed us how they made and secured the islands in one place. Here he is showing how deep the water is. It is about 15 meters

"The Caddy" VIP reed boat.

"The Caddy" VIP reed boat.

This tweaked my brain, cooking with open flame when your floor, and entire floating structure is made of very dry "grass".  Best be careful with the grease splatter!

This tweaked my brain, cooking with open flame when your floor, and entire floating structure is made of very dry "grass". Best be careful with the grease splatter!

Kitchen

Kitchen

Totora Homestead

Totora Homestead

Reed Stack

Reed Stack

Reed Stack

Reed Stack

Crane on Uros Island

Crane on Uros Island

Uros Dwelling

Uros Dwelling

Uros Crane

Uros Crane

The Uros

The Uros

From The Lookout Tower

From The Lookout Tower

From The Lookout Tower

From The Lookout Tower

From The Lookout Tower

From The Lookout Tower

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood

Puma Head Reed Boat. Seriously, how rad is that!

Puma Head Reed Boat. Seriously, how rad is that!

Commuter Car (boat)

Commuter Car (boat)

The boat in the foreground with the orange roof is the super market. Really!

The boat in the foreground with the orange roof is the super market. Really!

Reed Dwellings

Reed Dwellings

Puma Head Boats

Puma Head Boats

The Uros

The Uros

The Uros

The Uros

The Boat Ride Back

The Boat Ride Back

Fishermen On Lake Titicaca

Fishermen On Lake Titicaca

Fishermen On Lake Titicaca

Fishermen On Lake Titicaca

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One response to “Ancient Man Made Flaoting Islands. Seriously!?!

  1. Pingback: The First Surfers, Huanchaco | WHERE THE HELL AM I?

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