A Photo a Day

December 4, 2004

Reed Boat, Uros Islands, Lago Titicaca (Peru)

Filed under: — Laurenz @ 8:32 pm

Uro-indian steering a boat on lake Titicaca
One of the “must sees” on Lago Titicaca are the artificial “islands of the Uros”, made of marsh reeds (totora).
The tradition of constructing such islands dates back to times well before the Inca empire.
The original inhabitants were believed to have black blood and other magical qualities.
When they started to mix with the neighbouring Aymara tribes, however, they were no longer regarded with awe.
Today, the inhabitants of the floating islands no longer are Uros but people from other Indian cultures who speak Aymara or Quechua.
The totora reeds are also used to produce boats such as the one sown on this picture.
The famous Norwegian adventurer/anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl asked Uros from Lago Titicaca to help him with the construction of his reed boat Ra II with which he eventually crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Although many boats are obviously mainly constructed for the entertainment of the tourist crowds, you can still see many families use them as the traditional means of transport.

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By the way: I also saw floating islands in Xochimilco, Mexico.

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