Juli / Lake Titicaca, Peru – The village of the dacaying churches

Juli is a pretty village on Titicaca shore. The lake is the earth’s highest navigable lake in 3,800 m elevation, up to 274 m deep and slightly bigger than Lake Nicaragua. The amount of the unusually decayed colonial churches seems disproportionally high for the small village. But Juli was the base for Christianisation of the Aymara and Inca folks at the lake in the 16th and 17th century. Jesuit monks were prepared for their task here. The churches are slowly restored nowadays, but only few are accessible.

One of the exceptions is San Juan de Letrán, today a museum for 6 PEN pp. The church is a colonial gem. Huge paintings cover the walls. The carved thick wood frames are gold-plated, their patterns continue below chiselled in stone. The main altar and the two side chapels are also made from finest carved stone. Alabaster windows with also voluptuous golden frames bathe the nave into smooth light. Taking photos is forbidden, but there is one guard only. Here is the point for us to turn round and go back before crossing the border to Bolivia, because this is for later.

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