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Iquitos
City
Clockwise from top: Iquitos cityscape at night; Iron House; minimalist architecture of the school auditorium St. Augustine; the commercial Jiron Prospero; Aquatic Avenue in the famous neighborhood of Bethlehem; Abelardo Quiñones Avenue and the vehicular traffic of motorcycle taxis; and Iquitos Cathedral.
Clockwise from top: Iquitos cityscape at night; Iron House; minimalist architecture of the school auditorium St. Augustine; the commercial Jiron Prospero; Aquatic Avenue in the famous neighborhood of Bethlehem; Abelardo Quiñones Avenue and the vehicular traffic of motorcycle taxis; and Iquitos Cathedral.
Flag of Iquitos
Flag
Coat of arms of Iquitos
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Capital of the Peruvian Amazon, The Amazonian Island
Motto: Carpent tua poma nepotes (Latin: Your children will harvest your fruits)
Country Peru
Region Loreto
Provinces

Maynas


Districts Iquitos, Belen, Punchana, San Juan Bautista
Settled 1624
Incorporated 1866
Area
 • City 1,213 km2 (468.5 sq mi)
 • Land 784 km2 (302.6 sq mi)
 • Water 340 km2 (132 sq mi)
Elevation 104 m (341 ft)
Population
 • Estimate (2015) 437,376
 • Rank 6th
 • Metro 457,865
Demonym(s) Iquiteño
Time zone PET (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 65
ISO 3166 code PE-LOR
Climate Af
Website www.munimaynas.gob.pe

Iquitos, also known as Iquitos City, is the capital city of Peru's Maynas Province and Loreto Region. The largest metropolis in the Peruvian Amazon, east of the Andes, it is the sixth most populous city of Peru.

It is known as the "capital of the Peruvian Amazon." The city is located in the Great Plains of the Amazon Basin. It is the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road – it is accessible only by river and air.

History

The area was inhabited for thousands of years by Amerindians. At the time of European encounter, the Napeano and Iquito peoples occupied the area. They had small seasonal settlements and were nomadic hunter-gatherers, living in close association with the rivers. The city name of Iquitos is derived from a group of native people called Iquitos by the Spaniards. Iquitos was founded in 1747 by Jesuit José Bahamonde.

Beginning in the 1900s, Iquitos became wealthy through its rubber industry throughout the rubber boom; it attracted thousands of immigrants from around the world, mostly young single men who hoped to make their fortunes in rubber. The rise of the automobile and related industries had dramatically increased the worldwide demand for rubber. Some men became merchants and bankers, and made their fortunes that way. Many of the European men married indigenous women and stayed in Peru the rest of their lives, founding ethnically mixed families. The immigrants brought European clothing styles, music, architecture and other cultural elements to Iquitos. They established an opera house that featured European classical music.

Later in the 20th century, the city and region diversified its economy. The region exported timber, fish and their products, oil, minerals, and agricultural crops. It also derives considerable revenue from tourism and related crafts, as well as bakery, and carbonated drinks and beer. By 1999, the city had consolidated its four municipalities.

The architecture and historical treasures reflect the colonial and early 20th-century European period, attracting an increased tourist trade in the 21st century. In addition it is a center of ecological tourism. It has become a major cosmopolitan city with strong roots in the Amazon, featuring a complex history and cuisine, Amazonian landscapes, nightlife, and a growing cultural movement.

In 2012, 250,000 visitors were recorded. Many have been attracted since the Amazon rainforest was ranked as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Iquitos inaugurated international flights to the main hub of Panama City in 2012, with shared destinations with Miami and Cancún. Its international airport is expected to become one of six international air centers of Peru. The city was ranked as sixth on the list of "10 leading cities in 2011" of the Lonely Planet guidebook.

Due to its location in the Peruvian Amazon, Iquitos has a green landscape with a vast variety of life. The flora is varied with great presence of 850 species, including 22 species of palms and orchids, who provide the attractive forest within the urban landscape of the city. The lilies also present. The extensive forests seated within metropolitan influence host fauna with 130 species of mammals, 330 of birds, 150 of reptiles and amphibians, and 250 fish.

The Historic Center of Iquitos has several structures that have been designated as part of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation: the Cathedral of Iquitos, the Iron House, the Old Hotel Palace, Cohen House, and more than 70 other buildings. Other landmarks are the Plaza de Armas; Jiron Prospero, an avenue that is the site of several shopping and historical areas; and the lively neighborhood of Belén, often dubbed the "Amazon Venice" for its many waterways. The city is also home to the Amazon Library, one of the two most important in Latin America.

The city can be reached only by airplane or boat, with the exception of a road to Nauta, a small town roughly 100 km (62 mi) south (which is not connected to the country's main road network). Ocean vessels of 3,000 to 9,000 tons and 5.5 metres (18 ft) draft can reach Iquitos via the Amazon River from the Atlantic Ocean, 3,600 kilometres (2,200 miles) away. Most people travel within the city via bus, motorcycle, or the ubiquitous auto rickshaw (mototaxi, motocarro or motocar). This is a modified motorcycle with a cabin behind supported by two wheels, seating up to three persons. Transportation to nearby towns often requires a river trip via pequepeque, a small public motorized boat.

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