Peru in Brief
With the Andes cutting its territory from north to south,
Peru comprises three distinct zones.
The Coast, a narrow desert like strip, is transected by 40 rivers flowing west to the Pacific Ocean. Most cities including Lima, the capital, are located in this region.
In the central part of the country, the main Andean ranges and interconnecting valleys make up the Sierra or highlands, whose loftiest peak, the Huascarán, rises to an altitude of 6,721 metres. Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, is situated in the south-central highlands. Lying further south on a high plateau (the Altiplano) are Puno and lake Titicaca. Interposed between Peru and Bolivia at 3,830 mt. elevation, the Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake.
Finally, the vast, humid lowlands to the east of the Andes are known as the Selva. This region is indeed covered by thick jungle and contains the headwaters of the Amazon river.
Peru is located in west-central South America. It borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Chile to the south, Bolivia and Brazil to the east, with the Pacific ocean constituting its natural western boundary.
Temperatures along the coast are pleasant (14°C to 28°C). The highlands are cool and dry (averaging 9°C to 18°C). The rainforest, by contrast, is quite hot (26°C to 40°C).
Currently, the total Peruvian population is estimated about 27 million
700 thousand inhabitants. The population, in the first 50 years of the
past century, increased in 3.8 millions of inhabitants; in the remaining
50 years the population increase was almost 19 million people.
The 71% of population lives in urban areas and the 29% at rural areas. As per sex, the national population is divided in equal parts. 52% of national population lives in the coast, 36% in the highlands and 12% in the jungle. Around 7.5 millions inhabitants live in the Capital, Lima, including Callao's population.
Peru has two official languages-Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by the government and the media and in education and commerce.
Peru is a democratic republic with a presidential system of government. Power is vested in an executive branch headed by the President, a single-chamber legislative branch embodied by the Congress, and the judiciary. Direct presidential and legislative elections are held every five years, local elections every three.
The country's road network extends over 69,942 kilometres, of which more than 7,500 km are paved. The two main arteries are the 3,400 km Pan-American highway linking Peru's northern and southern borders and the central highway running from Lima through La Oroya (a mining centre) and the towns along the Mantaro valley to the Central Highlands and, ultimately, the eastern rainforests. Numerous roads (including the long-distance Carretera "Marginal") now penetrate into the rainforest. The railway system covers 4,300 km. Peru has 29 ports and harbours as well as 58 airports and airfields.