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A land of mountains, framed and defined by its natural landscape.


Cuzco, capital of the Inca empire, lies at 3400 meters above sea level, higher than the peak of Greece's Mt. Olympus. A Spanish governor wrote in 1551 that much of the country was "so high that it was in the middle region of the air," as if Peru lay outside the terrestrial sphere, ascending toward the starry skies above. But the Andean mountains and altiplano (high plateau) are only part of Peru's landscape. Equally important are its other two regions: the coastal plain, much of it desert, where Peru's capital city Lima is located, and the hot and wet slopes of the Upper Amazon in the east of the country.