Iquitos has vibrant, unique, complex and diverse culture, and is regarded as cultural hub that meeting the Peruvian Amazon, according to Lonely Planet. Many natives visit the city to present their dances or sell their crafts. It also brings a wealth of customs and traditions remained considerably over the years and in the Iquitos calendar, between her festivities, cuisine, Spanish accent and mythology. Currently, its culture is undergoing an impetuous transition to a contemporary level to preserve their traditions with innovative art movements.
One of the main factors of the traditional cultural energy of Iquitos is Amazonian mythology, which has a range of characters, identified by folklore in imaginary beings. Many of the legendary beings, with appearances motivated by local geography, have powers and influenced much in agriculture and worldview of Iquitos. The dance and music, a mix of indigenous and mestizo heritage are closely related to the meanings of mythology, and also with the life of the citizen and Amazonian villager.
The complex cultural life of Iquitos consists mainly of native iquiteños, Brazilians, Colombians, Chineses and settled expatriates ethnicities. The term "charapa culture" generally refers to social, cultural and artistic movements of Iquitos.
Iquitos has a unique culture that is strongly felt, as the following quotes says:
Contemporary cultural movements began in the city, such as the Amazonian pop art and Amazonian graffiti —with Pukuna 8990 being the most revolutionary graffiti movement—, Iquiteño music subgenres of electronica, hip hop, rap, heavy metal, French jazz, punk, psytrance/full-on, next to tradicional Amazonian music. The Children's and Youthful Symphonic Orchestra of Iquitos is the main symphonic group in the city.
Iquitos has been benchmarked over the years in literature and film. The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa wrote his work Captain Pantoja and the Special Service inspired by the city. Francisco Lombardi's 2000 film, based on the novel by Vargas Llosa was filmed in this city. In Rómulo Gallegos-winning The Green House (1965) and The Dream of the Celt (2010), other novels of Mario Vargas Llosa, also part of the plot occurs in Iquitos.
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 an 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.
The city is known for having a remarkable celebration, called simply Carnaval. During this festival, mainly pagan, celebrants are dedicated to wetting people with cabaciñas or other instrument. Many choose to be more extravagant, wetting with various substances such as paint or other object as cause for celebration. The celebration is unique each year in February. The carnival is heavily influenced by myths and rich Amazonian culture. It also celebrates the Day of San Juan, referring to John the Baptist as patron saint in the Peruvian Amazon, whose feast is celebrated on 24 June. The main element is the juane and other own dances as shunto jump.
Iquitos has a major cinematic history, which originated from the arrival of foreign families during the rubber boom in the early 20th century. A group of people brought technology, including projectors of the Lumiere brothers. The most important pioneer of cinema in Iquitos and the Loreto Region is Antonio Wong Rengifo; alongside this, other filmmakers such as Werner Herzog, Armando Robles Godoy, Nora Izcue, Federico García, and Dorian Fernández-Moris prolonged the cinematic presence in the city. Iquitos was and is used as a cultural scene, reference, and shelter for many filmmakers.
Major films filmed in Iquitos and its surroundings are: Frente del Putumayo (1932) and Bajo el sol de Loreto (1936) by Antonio Wong Rengifo; No Stars in the Jungle (1966) and The Green Wall (1969) by Armando Robles Godoy; Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982) by Werner Herzog; Informe sobre los shipibos (1974), Los hombres del Ucayali and Captain Pantoja and the Special Services (2000) by Francisco Lombardi, and General Cemetery (2012) by Dorián Fernández-Moris.
Despite having a long filmography, the film industry promoted the city is not too hard in his only commercial film theater. However, there is cultural and underground groups concerned with projecting films at festivals or private cinematheque as a way of cultural development. There is also small groups of self-taught filmmakers who record their own stories. The film genres with more presence are documentary, nature, drama, art house and, recently, horror and found footage in General Cemetery. At first, with Wong Rengifo, was shot slice-of-life/documentary films
Tourism is one of the most vital industries in Iquitos, which has a growing reputation as a honeypot due to its location on the banks of the Amazon River, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Through the years, Iquitos receives a considerable amount of foreigners; the tourist index grew by international flights offered by the city's airport. Tourism in the city formed into European-style architecture, cuisine, drinks, art, culture, worldview, Spanish accent and historical references of Loreto. Iquitos has adequate infrastructure to accommodate tourists from all levels. It has a 5-star hotel, many of 3-, 2-, and 1-star rating.
The major tourist attractions include Barrio de Belén, Plaza de Armas, Casa de Fierro, Ex Hotel Palace, Iglesia Matriz de Iquitos, Allpahuayo Mishana; Embarcadero Bellavista-Nanay, ethnic communities located around the city, Quistococha Resort and Zoo; Mercado Artesanal of San Juan. iperú is the leading tourist guide service that is offered to tourists at the airport and the city center of the city.
The city is also home to unique tourist companies as Maniti Camp Expeditions, Otorongo Expeditions, Amazon Golf Course, and Project Amazonas (dedicated to research and conservation). Special experiences outside the key tourist areas of the city include the Camiri —a floating hotel—, the Isla de los Monos, the Pilpintuwasi butterfly zoo, Iquitos-Zungarococha Corrientillos-King Kong-Nina Rumi circuit, and adjoining districts such as Mazán, Indiana and Bellavista
In 2010, Iquitos received about 150 thousand tourists. The following year, in 2011, the index fell to 46,000 tourist foreigners, which expects 10% rise rapidly in 2013 with international flights opened in July 2012 and the Amazon River as a natural wonder.
Ayahuasca is known as a major cultural landmark, and mystic tourism has increased in Iquitos in recent years. The drink, made from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi, is investigated by the Western people with a medicinal purpose and study, and was named the nation's cultural heritage.
Iquitos is home to the 120-kg, bronze commemorative plaque of the Amazon River basin as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, which was granted on 13 August 2012 by Fernand Weber, founder of New7Wonders. The distinction is shared with Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Suriname, Colombia, Venezuela and French Guiana, however, recognition was given to Peru which originally ran for the Amazon through the Regional Government of Loreto based in Iquitos.
The awards show was held in Iquitos. It began with a massive parade along Avenida Quiñonez, and eventually culminated in the main day, 13 August, divided into two sessions throughout the day: the first in the confluence of the Itaya and Nanay in the afternoon, and the second on 28 July Square of the city at night. The event received intense international attention. Similar to Machu Picchu as a wonder of the world, Iquitos, as the main entrance to the Amazon, expects great tourist revenue.
The President of Peru Ollanta Humala, next to the First Lady Nadine Heredia and Loreto Regional President Ivan Vasquez received the award. Jean Paul de la Fuente, New7Wonders foundation director, said positively on the image of Iquitos:
However, despite the great satisfaction, the award caused polarized reactions indicating that the Regional Government of Loreto would be on duty to plan better urban development in Iquitos for the forecasted intense tourism. The negative scrutiny aimed at disorganized and massive Sewer construction was damaging the city streets, causing discomfort and accidents in traffic and littering the aesthetic image of Iquitos. Several iquiteños citizens criticized about it via Twitter.
Iquitos is also attractive for its Amazonic Spanish, a dialect of Spanish spoken in the Amazon. The dialect is most noticeable in speech than in writing, such as and [x are allophones, (e.g., Juana is pronounced /fana/), especially when it is next to one or semivowel. (Los fríos de San Juan; Los fríos de San Fän), the double preposing and possessive genitive (De Antonio sus amigos; From Antonio his friends), and the preemption of articles against the names (Juana, Lä Fuana). There are also other languages spoken as Iquito, Yagua, ese eja or other native languages in Loreto, and foreign languages like English and French because of increasing globalization.
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