Iquitos | Peru

Iquitos (/ɪˈkɪtɒs, iː-, -toʊs/ (About this sound listen); Spanish pronunciation: [iˈkitos]), also known as Iquitos City, is the capital city of Peru's Maynas Province and Loreto Region. The largest metropolis in the Peruvian Amazon, east of the Andes, it is the sixth most populous city of Peru.

It is known as the "capital of the Peruvian Amazon." The city is located in the Great Plains of the Amazon Basin, fed by the Amazon, Nanay and Itaya rivers. Overall, it constitutes the Iquitos metropolitan area, a conurbation of 471,993 inhabitants consisting of four districts: Iquitos, Punchana, Belén, and San Juan Bautista. It is the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road – it is accessible only by river and air.

The area was long inhabited by indigenous peoples. The founding date of the European city is uncertain. Spanish historical documents state that it was set up around 1757 as a Spanish Jesuit reduction by the banks of the Nanay River. The Jesuits gathered local Napeano (Yameo) and Iquito natives to live here, and they named it San Pablo de Napeanos.

In the late 19th century, the city became the center of export of rubber production from the Amazon Basin and was the headquarters of the Peruvian Amazon Company. The rubber boom attracted thousands of European traders and workers, some of whom amassed wealth with the high-volume production, processing and trade in rubber. The city's economy was highly dependent on PAC, controlled in the nation by Peruvian businessman Juan Luis Arana.

During the Spanish Colonial era, most of the Jesuit missions were under the jurisdiction of the Royal Audiencia of Quito. Created in 1563, it was a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and was transferred briefly to the Viceroyalty of New Granada on May 27, 1717 known as the Cedula Real of 1717 (Royal Decree of 1717). Six and a half years later, on November 5, 1723, Philip V of Spain dissolved the Viceroyalty of New Granada and reincorporated the Audiencia of Quito into the Viceroyalty of Peru. Sixteen years later Philip V of Spain decided to re-create the Viceroyalty of New Granada and to re incorporate the Audiencia of Quito through the Cedula Real (Royal Decree) dated August 20, 1739. Charles III of Spain suppressed the Society of Jesus, believing them too powerful, and expelled them from South America by order dated August 20, 1767. Given the distance from Quito and the lack of roads connecting to that city, a political vacuum was developed in the area. The undefended Jesuit missions were attacked by the Brazilian Bandeirantes. In response the King of Spain on recommendation of Francisco Raquena created the Government and Commandancy General of Maynas in 1802 to halt the invasion into the Spanish Amazon of land-hungry mestizo Portuguese Bandeirantes. In general, this amounted to the religious administration and military command of all tributaries of the Amazon river in the Amazon Basin that belonged to the Royal Audiencia of Quito in the Viceroyalty of New Granada being transferred again to the Viceroyalty of Peru. The Portuguese advance was halted at Tabatinga.

The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is a protected area with soaring rates of biodiversity. The reserve is located 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Iquitos, being reached by Route LO-103. The ecosystem is part of the Nanay River basin, specifically in an area called "Ecoregion Napo", which contains a unique Amazonian biodiversity, including its distinctive white sand forests. The Napo Ecoregion contains 112 species of amphibians, 17 species of primates, 1900 plant species and over 600 birds species. Some ecologically important animals care for their rarity in the reserve are the supay pichico (Callimico goeldii) black stump (Callicebus torquatus), equatorial saki (Pithecia aequatorialis) ancient antwren (Herpsilochmus gentryi), Mishana tyrannulet (Zimmerius villarejoi), Allpahuayo antbird (Percnostola arenarum), chestnut-tailed ant (Myrmeciza centuculorum castanea), the pompadour cotinga (Xipholena punicea), saffron-crested tyrant-manakin (Neopelma chrysocephalum), among others. The Iquitos gnatcatcher (Polioptila clementsi) is an endemic species of the reserve and is considered a symbol of Iquitos.

The Tapiche Reserve is a private conservation property that employs a strict no catching/no caging policy. The abundance of wildlife on this property is a glimpse into how the entire region would have been prior to present-day logging and hunting activities. The reserve strives to educate visitors and locals alike on the most eco-friendly ways to enjoy the rainforest. Due to diligent patrolling and maintenance of the property against hunters and loggers, visitors have the opportunity to view rare and endangered animals in the wild. Species include the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the red uakari monkey, the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), the agami heron (Agamia agami) and several species of large raptors including the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the crested eagle (Morphnus guianensis) and the ornate hawk eagle (Spizaetus ornatus).

The city is a major center for finance, sales, transportation, tourism, media, while major industries that work is the timber, petroleum, gas, flour milling, oil, rum, camu camu and bakery. The fishing industry is another big support for the economy of the city. The Belen Market has a frenetic commercial activity that is part of its economy. Iquitos has great financial backing has been able to help it progress now since its role in the rubber boom, although must be overcome with effort after the rubber was no longer produced in the city. The petroleum industry, despite being outside the urban area of Iquitos, has greatly influenced its evolution. In addition, trade has mainly helped the growth of the city. In San Juan Bautista, economic development is based on agriculture (sugar cane, pijuayo, caimito), fish, poultry, livestock (cattle, bubaline) and mining. The petroleum, one of the most precious resources, extracted mainly from the region northwest of Loreto and part of it is transported to the refinery in Iquitos. The timber transport is another important economic factor, however, due to the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and the United States, the gross exploitation of timber has decreased considerably.

According to Rolando Arellano, president of Arellano Marketing, describes the Iquiteño consumer to have greater preference for a "Western model with a more modern orientation than the Peruvian-Andean lifestyle".

With projects of large malls, the city still has a trade-in retail stores and minimarkets throughout the metropolitan area, more strongly in main avenues such as Prospero, Arica, Grau and Alfonso Ugarte located in the center of Iquitos and the Belén District. Retail distribution of imported products has created regional and social stratification that goes from the merchant importer to urban retailer, which serves as a strong link between the urban and rural economy.

Iquitos has an intense tourist movement in the entertainment, which is based on specific points located throughout the city. With a growing organization of entertainment today, the city has always had groups concerned to project the Iquitos arts such as dance, music, film, painting, literature and theater.

In the visual arts, the city is the birthplace of Amazonian pop art (also known wild naive) which is a unique, self-taught, pop-art style of the city, and is notable for its "sparkling" chromaticism, and makes a reference to hallucinogenic ayahuasca experiences. Originally, it is a mural art that blends prominently the colorful amazonian culture, European motifs and commercial characters, which may be influenced by American pop art, especially MTV.

In several works of painters iquiteños (such as Christian Bendayan, Roldán Pinedo, Elena Valera, Rember Yahuarcani, Brus Rubio and Victor Churay), Amazonian pop art legacy has been a visual reference to create avant-garde works of contemporary life in the city and Amazonian culture.

The Dirección Regional de Cultura (formerly known as Instituto Nacional de Cultura del Perú), with headquarters in the city, mainly funded events and arts festivals in the city, although there are also small indie or underground groups that conduct their own cultural events. The city has many small festivals; the highlights are Estamos en la Calle, Iquitos Outfest, and other small annual events.

Juane is one of the main dishes of cuisine of the Peruvian jungle. It is widely consumed during the Catholic Feast of San Juan (St. John), held on 24 June each year. The dish was named in honor of San Juan Bautista. The dish could have a pre-Columbian origin. With the arrival of the Spanish, missionaries popularized the Biblical story of Salome, John, and Herodias. Some believe the dish's name comes from the reference to the head of San Juan.
Tacacho with chorizo.

Another popular dish is Tacacho, made from fried slices of plaintain mashed with chicharones (fried pork fat). It is usually accompanied with chorizo (fried sausage) making it a savory combination. The dish is typical of Iquitos as well as the Peruvian Amazon. It is widespread in the rest of the country. The term tacacho derives from the Quechua term, taka chu, which means beaten. Tacacho consumption varies depending on the region where it is made. In Madre de Dios and San Martín, many people eat tacachos for breakfast, while in other regions, it is a dish served at lunch or dinner. In the San Martín region, tacacho is included in the Christmas dinner. In the Amazon region of Ecuador, the dish is known as bolon. It has a counterpart in the Caribbean islands, where it is called mofongo.

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