I watched a short documentary last night with Ben Fogle and Hugh Dennis (the latter is from that awesome show Outnumbered). The two travelled a historic route through the Andes in search of the lost city of Constitución, which was once destined to replace Lima as the capital of Peru.
Ben and Hugh drove a 4×4 over treacherous terrain in search of the Ciudad de Constitución, which was President Fernando Belaunde Terry’s vision of a new Peruvian capital. The town was to be located at the geographical centre of the Country, deep in the rainforest. Fortunately, the plans never came to fruition, and all that now remains is an extremely long and muddy road through the jungle, and several buildings. Most satisfyingly, the remnants of the artificial capital are now populated by the indiginous tribes whom Belaunde Terry evicted to make way for his grand vision.
Although Constitucion’s history is interesting, I was more surprised by a stop the duo made along the way at the town of Pozuzo. The history of this town is incredibly fascinating. To keep in short, in the mid-1800’s a group of Austrian and German migrants left Antwerp, in Belgium, for a new life in Peru. Quite a while later the group arrived at the coastal city of Amberes. 300 of these migrants left the Peruvian coast spending the next two years fighting their way through dense and deadly rainforest, until they reached Pozuzo on July 25th in 1859. Sadly around half of those whom attempted this feat died, but those who did remain, firmly established themselves as an Austrian-German-Peruvian colony, which remained completely isolated from the outside world for the next 120 years.
The town has kept its strong Germo-Austrian character (see the Church in the picture), and has now developed into a cultural hybrid of a town which actively celebrates its diverse heritage. Pozuzo is now firmly established on my list of places to visit.