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Copacabana - Bolivia (Photos © Jorge Mazzotti - July 10)
Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the shore of Lake Titicaca, from where boats leave for Isla del Sol, the sacred Inca island. The town has a large 16th-century shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia.
The town is a destination for tourism in Bolivia. The town is also known for its famous Basilica, home of the Virgin of Copacabana, its trout, and its quaint atmosphere. Built between Mount Calvario and Mount Niño Calvario, the town has approximately 6,000 inhabitants. Copacabana's religious celebrations, cultural patrimony, and traditional festivals are well known throughout Bolivia.
There is the belief that the name is derived from the Aymara kota kahuana, meaning "view of the lake." Nevertheless, the social scientist Mario Montaño Aragón, found in the "archives of Indias" in Sevilla, Spain, a completely different history: "Kotakawana" is the god of the fertility in the ancient Andean mythology, the equivalent to the classical Greek goddess Aphrodite or the Roman Venus. This god is androgyne and lives in the Titicaca, and his court consists of criters (male and female) that are represented in the colonial sculptures as in the Catholic churches they were called "Umantuus", known as mermaids in Western culture.
The fact is that the present Basilica was built where the main Temple of the Fertility of Kotakawana was once (nowadays there are small fertility temples along the shores of the lake in Bolivia and Peru). Copacabana has therefore been a Sacred place even before the Spanish conquest. (Source: Wikipedia)