IN JANUARY 2012, THIS IMAGE WAS SELECTED AS A JUDGES’ FAVOURITE IN THE TRAVEL WORD’S PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2011.
This shot captures a beaming smile from a young girl from Cusco as she struggles not to laugh while having her photo taken. Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire is located in southeastern Peru, high in the Andes Mountains at more than three kilometres above sea level.
This little girl is wearing an example of a simple but colourful traditional hat, known as a montera. Traditionally, it is said that one could identify which village a woman was from based on the type of hat that she wore. Hats continue to be popular, but styles increasingly vary and different examples can be seen throughout the region.
The native populations in and around Cusco have adapted to life at 3,000 metres above sea level. Their main activity is agriculture, although tourism continues to grow in importance. The entire city is designated as a UNESCO World Heirtage Site, and carefully managed development continues to be funded by visitors, thanks to the great historical legacy left by previous cultures.
We have inherited many great gifts from our ancestors, including their pride, customs, clothes, language (Quechua) and, of course, the joy to help the world discover this amazing land. Welcome!