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  • Las Enigmáticas Calles del Cusco

    Recorrer las calles del Cusco es una experiencia, si bien extenuante, repleta de magia y encanto: una ciudad construida a 3.430m de altura, rodeada de verdes montañas y coloridos habitantes que aún pasean con sus llamas y burros por las zigzagueantes escalinatas y las impresionantes construcciones de lo que fue el antiguo imperio incaico.

    Quizás sea la denominación de sus calles, la mejor forma de comprender la fusión entre la cosmovisión del imperio andino y la influencia cultural y arquitectónica de la España conquistadora.

    Es por esto que entre los nombres de las calles cusqueñas, encontramos algunas que aluden a misteriosas creencias relacionadas con el número siete, que para los quechuas representa los siete entes metafísicos – entre ellos el sol, la luna y la madre tierra- número que suele ir acompañado de representaciones mitológicas (Siete Angelitos, Siete Diablitos, Siete Serpientes), formas arquitectónicas (Siete Ventanas, Siete Cuartones) o de animales que solían transitar por las calles (Siete Borreguitos).

    The Mysterious Streets of Cusco city
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    The Mysterious Streets of Cusco city

    Strolling the streets of Cusco is quite an experience; strenuous but full of magic and charm. The city of Cusco in Peru is built 3.430m high, surrounded by green mountains and colorful inhabitants who still walk with their llamas and donkeys up winding staircases passing magnificent constructions indicative of what the ancient Incan empire used to be like.

    Maybe the best way to understand the fusion between the Andean civilization and the influences of the culture and architecture of conquering Spain is by observing Cusco’s street names.
    Among the Cuzco street names, we find a series that allude to the mysterious meaning of the number seven, which for the Quechua speaking population refers to the seven metaphysic entities including the sun, moon and earth. The number is usually accompanied by mythological representations of deities such as ‘Siete Angelitos’ (angels), ‘Siete Diablitos’ (devils), ‘Siete Serpientes’ (snakes – one of the 3 Incan sacred animals) as well as architectural shapes in ‘Siete Ventanas’ (windows), ‘Siete Cuartones’ (squares or scantlings) or animals that used to roam the streets: ‘Siete Borreguitos’ (lambs).

    The Mysterious Streets of Cusco city
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    Santurantikuy es una feria de Navideña que se lleva a cabo en Cusco desde el virreinato en el siglo 16. La feria dura todo el día desde las 4am cuando los artesanos empiezan a llegar con sus mantas de colores llenas de artesanías para vender, hasta bien entrada la noche del 24 de diciembre en la céntrica Plaza de Armas.

    Santurantikuy significa literalmente ‘Venta de los Santos “en el idioma quechua. En Cusco, una ciudad que se caracteriza por sus profundas raíces andinas, la imagen del niño Jesús es adorado durante todo el año, especialmente durante la Nochebuena. Las cerámicas de naturaleza religiosa dominan el mercado, que de acuerdo a los artesanos, requiere alrededor de 6 meses de preparación. La devoción espiritual se describe mejor en las palabras de un portavoz del Santurantikuy: “para crear uno tiene que creer, y esta fe de la comunidad andina está fomentando la esperanza de mantener vivas las tradiciones, la cultura y la humanidad “.

    The Santurantikuy market in Cusco, an Andean Christmas affair
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    The AMAUTA school offers activities on the evenings. It could be extra classes on different subjects, Spanish movies, salsa classes or you could learn to play the “kena” (peruvian flute) or the drums. In the same location as Amauta (which by the way means “profesor” in quechua, that you may also study here), the travel agency “Dos Manos” has its office. They arrange transfer and pick up from the airport (which is recommended, since there are many taxis hovering for new comers).

    The first day I visited AMAUTA, their agency Dos Manos arranged a guided tour of the city. We familarised ourselves of the town, went by the solar temple, the market of San Pedro…well here are some pics of that.

    My sweet Peruvian sisters also showed me around one day. They showed me their University and we went eating typical food.

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    Indigenous Languages

    Indigenous Languages With approximately 350 spoken languages, South America is one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world. Before the first Europeans arrived in Latin America, there even were an estimated 1,500 languages spoken.The mayor native tongues are Quechua, with 7 million speakers in Peru and Bolivia and Guaraní with 4 million speakers in Paraguay and the north of Argentina. For example: the name of the waterfalls Iguazu comes from the Guaraní word ‘y ûasú’, which means ‘big water’. And in Quechua, an Incan language, the city name Cusco means The Navel of the World.

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  • Paucartambo, which means “flowered tavern” in Quechua, is situated in the district of Pasco in the south-east of Peru. It was right in the commercial route between Cusco, the capital of the great Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyo) and the Amazon valley Kosñipata. It is mostly known for the incredible sunrises that occur in the month of July.

    Between the 15th and 16th of July Paucartambo is also the place to be to celebrate the festivities of La Virgen del Carmen, also called Mamacha Carmen. There is a great gathering which initiates this great feast on the Plaza de Armas in this Andean Village where many music bands play and different choirs singing in Quechua, this way introducing beautiful choreographies which tell parts of Peru’s history.

    Paucartambo (más…)

    History of the Spanish language in America

    The pre-Hispanic American society was a conglomerate of different people and languages that politically turned to be part of the Spanish Empire under a common language. The American idiomatic diversity was so strong that some authors estimate that this continent is the most fragmented one in terms of linguistics, with about 123 language families, lots of those, in their turn, have tens or even hundreds of languages and dialects. Amongst these, it’s important to quote some of the main indigenous languages, in terms of speaking people and their contribution to Spanish language which are Náhuatl, Taíno, Maya, Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní and Mapuche.

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