Location: Southeast of Perú.
Area: 71,999 km2
Minimum: 820 m.a.s.l. (Lanlacuni bajo)
Maximum: 4,725 m.a.s.l. (San Antonio de Esquilache)
Relief: Puno's department has a generally flat relief due to the fact that good part of its territory is in the plateau of the Collao, on the banks of the lake Titicaca. Towards the north Carabaya's mountain chain gets up and towards the south the Maritime or Volcanic mountain chain.
Puno is located to the southeast of Peru, in the Collao Plateau. The Titicaca lake, the highest in the world is located in this department. 70% of the region is made up by Andean mountains and is formed by High Plateau, hillsides, intermediate areas and the cordillera. The jungle, represents 25% of its territory is scarcely inhabited and is almost not integrated to the economy of the department.
The climate is cold and dry, with 4-month long rain season. In the jungle the climate is warm. The water resources are taken from the Lake Titicaca, 50 lagoons and more tahn 300 rivers. There is, besides, an important potential in underground waters.
Puno was a seat for the civilising move for the Titicaca High Plateau. There was organized the most ancient urban center of this region, called Pucará, with monumental architecture and valuable sculpture and ceramics. There ended the whole previous stage of plant and animal domestication. There was created what would later become the Tiahuanaco civilization.
Before Pucará, towards 1,000 B.C., appeared the Qaluyu Culture, related with Marcavalle in Cusco and connected with Paracas in Ica. Since this time began the construction of great buildings shaped as elongated truncated pyramids, that became characteristic of Pucará. Approximately 200 to 300 A.D., Tiahuanaco started to develop its classic form coinciding with the decline of Pucará; from then on, Puno started to depend on that culture whose center was at the southeast of Lake Titicaca.
At the decomposition of Tiahuanaco between the XII to XIII centuries, were formed several independent kingdoms: The Collas, centered in Hatuncolla and Sillustani; the Lupaca ,centered in Juli and Chuchuito, with notable settlements such as the one of Cochacacha; and the Pacajes, around the Desaguadero river. Inportant are the Chullpas of Sillustani and the temples of Pucará. The majority of the Chullpas belong to the Inca Period. The Inca conquest began in the XV century. According to the legend, Lake Titicaca was the cradle of Inca Civilization.
At the time of the conquest, the spaniards, among them Francisco Pizarro, settled down in Cusco, given the richness of the Collao region. In 1825 during the Republic, Simón Bolívar visited Puno and was received with the historical euology of Choquehuanca "As years go by, grows our glory as shadows grow when the sun sets".