Puno is a city in southeastern Peru, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It is the capital city of the Puno Region and the Puno Province with a population of approximately 149,064 (2014 estimate). The city was established in 1668 by viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro as capital of the province of Paucarcolla with the name San Juan Bautista de Puno. The name was later changed to San Carlos de Puno, in honor of king Charles II of Spain. Puno has several churches dating back from the colonial period; they were built to service the Spanish population and evangelize the natives.[citation ne
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Puno is situated between the shores of Lake Titicaca and the mountains surrounding the city. There is less than two miles of flat land between the shores and the foothills, which has caused the growing city to continue to expand upwards onto the hillsides. As a result, the town’s less developed and poorest areas, which are high on the hillsides, often have very steep streets, which are generally unpaved and cannot be accessed by automobile.
Up one of these streets is the Kuntur Wasi viewpoint, which has a large metal sculpture of a condor. There are some 700 steps to climb to reach the sculpture, but the view across the city and Lake Titicaca beyond is breathtaking.
During the celebrations of the Feast of the “Virgen de la Candelaria” and the Regional Competition of Autochthonous Dances. Puno’s access to Lake Titicaca is surrounded by 41 floating islands. To this day, the Uros people maintain and live on these man-made islands, depending on the lake for their survival, and are a large tourist destination. Dragon Boat racing, an old tradition in Puno, is a very popular activity amongst tourists.
Puno is the first major hub in the constant migration of indigenous peoples of the Andes to the larger cities of Peru. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and is the recipient of new residents from surrounding smaller agricultural communities of people seeking better opportunities for education and employment. As such, Puno is served by several small Institutes of Technology, Education and other technical or junior college-type facilities. Additionally it is home to what is commonly referred to as the “UNA” or the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano, which was founded in 1856