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UMAYO, the mirror of of Heaven

  • 2 min read

When driving along the highway connecting the city of Juliaca and Lake Titicaca, an extraordinary place will catch your eye! Such an impressive view makes you stop to get closer, like some kind of energy is calling you.

Far away, over 3800 meters above sea level, you can see stone towers on the top of a hill. Approaching along a dirt path, you may notice tiny pieces of ancient pottery camouflaged in the gravel. After a thirty minute walk uphill, you discover that this place is a complex of outstanding cylindrical stone towers!

Chullpas towers Classy virtual tour

Called “chullpas”, the height of these buildings −up to twelve meters− and their perfectly fitted polished stones make you conclude that these towers once held something important. And they did! They were tombs for the native Aymara elite during pre-Incan and Incan times.

They also preserve another treasure. Hidden right behind the funerary towers, sunk on the other side of the hill, we discover the Umayo Lagoon, the “mirror of heaven”.

Behind the Umayo Chullpas towers

Only visible from the top of the hill, there it is, completing the beautiful view and even more impressive than the archeological site itself.  The presence of a lagoon here confirms the belief the ancient Peruvians who chose mystical locations for sacred purposes. Many legends say that in the afterlife, Mamacocha (Mother Water) will give birth to the people buried here.

 

Mama Cocha by Cristian Bernales Bozo

Photo by Cristian Bernales Bozo , published with permission of the author.

Islanders, who are mainly fishermen and farmers, know more stories...

 

Some legends would talk about a native princess whose tears turned into a lagoon after having lost her beloved one. Other stories tell that once it hailed so badly that the fertile valley was flooded as punishment to its selfish settlers, leaving the town under the water.

The truth is that the only thing you can think when standing here overlooking the lagoon is about the incredible mysteries of life, that the impossible might be not that impossible…

A quiet body of water reflecting the blue of the sky, like a mirror surrounded only by mountains and the stone towers. There is nothing else, not even a single sound but your own breathing and your own steps.

 

Umayo Mirror of Heaven Classy virtual tour

 

 

The beauty −and the elevation− of the site leaves you breathless and speechless. Saying a single word would ruin one of the most peaceful moments you may ever have as time stops running and the whole world stops spinning around.

We invite you to treasure these moments through Classy’s Umayo Premium baby alpaca-silk scarf.

Feel the fibers of Peru on your skin by wearing the fine and beautiful Classy’s knitwear and scarves!

Sincerely yours,

Ara.

 

Classy Ara virtual tour guide Ara was born and raised in Peru. Since she was a little girl, she has written skillfully and always loved to travel. In recent years, he has worked in translation studios and in the travel industry. Ara says her work is a passion and a way of life, which is also reflected in the Peru-themed "virtual travel" articles for Classy.