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Apart from Lake Titicaca, there are a number of excursions that can be made from Puno, including traditional highland towns and some wonderful archaeological sites.

Towns on the south-eastern lake shore

An interesting trip from Puno is to the towns on the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca. The road from Puno follows the lake for the first few kilometres, and you can see many totora reeds growing in the water, and in the dry season there are bundles of reeds drying in the sun.

Chucuito

The first town passed is Chucuito, a small town with beautiful views of the lake. The most interesting attraction in the town is the Inca Temple of Fertility, a small temple with dozens of metre-high phalluses ‘planted' in the earth. This temple has been reconstructed in recent years, and the positioning of the phalluses is not original. Most of the phalluses had been taken by locals and the temple was buried and abandoned. However, several years ago there was an effort to put the temple back, and most of the phalluses were returned to their original location. There is also an interesting colonial church in Chucuito, and an Inca sundial.

Juli

80km from Puno is the large colonial town of Juli, with a population of 10,000 and good views of the lake. The town is famous for its four colonial churches, which were used to evangelise the indigenous population that the Spanish brought here to work in a now abandoned mine. All four churches were begun by the Jesuits, although when the Dominicans arrived, the Jesuits were expelled from the area, and the churches were completed by the Dominicans. The oldest church in the town is the Iglesia de la Asunción, completed in 1557. This adobe church is now a museum with a good collection of Cusqueña school paintings, including works by Diego de la Puente and Bitti. There is a fine baroque pulpit covered in gold leaf. The Iglesia de San Pedro was completed in 1560, although it was largely rebuilt in the 20th century, and is the only stone church in Juli. The church has some beautiful stone carvings on the ceiling, which dates from the 20th century, and a lovely font of Huamanga marble. The adobe Iglesia de San Juan de Letrán dates from 1570, and is now a museum of Cusqueña school paintings. The church contains some beautiful baroque carved stone columns and windows. The Iglesia de Santa Cruz, from the same period, is close to visitors.