Titicaca: mysterious floating islands, man-made and centuries old

Centuries ago, in the depths of Lake Titicaca, located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, amazing floating islands emerged. These unique man-made structures became home to local inhabitants and continue to exist to this day. For centuries, they have been of interest to scientists and tourists, remaining a mystery to many.

The history of the floating islands on Titicaca goes back to antiquity. Their creators are the Uro, an ancient people who have inhabited the area for over two thousand years. The Uro were resourceful and adapted to life on the lake by creating floating islands out of vegetation, mostly cattail. They used a special technique that allowed them to gather plant roots and bind them together to create dense mats. These mats were then reinforced with sticks and stones to keep them from falling apart.

Each island is made up of several of these mats, which are tied together to form a complete platform. On top of these mats, a layer of fresh hornwort is placed to create a soft surface to live on. The islands are shaped like rectangles and can vary in size from several hundred to several thousand square meters. Some islands also have special structures, such as huts and churches, which are also created from vegetation.

Life on the floating islands of Titicaca is quite unique. The Ouros are primarily agricultural, growing vegetables and fruits on their islands. They also engage in fishing and handicrafts, creating various items made from hornwort. Some islands even have tourist infrastructure where visitors can stay and experience the unique culture and lifestyle of the Uro.

However, over time, the traditional way of life of the Uro and their floating islands began to face various challenges. Climate change, pollution of the lake and tourism pressure are having a negative impact on the lake ecosystem and the life of the Uro. Scientists and environmentalists are actively working to find solutions to preserve these unique structures and support the local people.

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