Iquitos is an old Spanish colonial town on the Amazon in Peru. It was a?
Iquitos is an old Spanish colonial town on the Amazon in Peru. It was a boom town for the production of rubber during the first years of this century. Among the old buildings which remain from the days of its former splendour, is one that was designed and built in France by Monsieur Eiffel, who built the famous tower in Paris.
The house was prefabricated in iron and then shipped to Peru and carried up the Amazon in sections to be erected at Iquitos. But the owners were never able to live in it. Under the intense Amazonian sun the iron became too hot, making the house a furnace.
Another old building is completely covered in tiles which were made in Portugal, and again carried over the Atlantic to Peru.
The town, which is now a decaying ghost of its former glory, is still the most important centre in the Peruvian jungle, and is an important tourist base for people who go fishing and hunting in the Amazon jungle.
On the outskirts of the town there is a shanty town, mainly consisting of houses floating on the river. Thee twelve thousand people live in appalling poverty.
The shanty town is known as Belen, and many of the inhabitants earn their living by carrying produce brought down the river into the centre of the town. They also pilot tourists along the river.
Iquitos is extremely isolated. To reach it overland from the capital, Lima, the traveller must first make a journey of 876 kms. (578 miles) over poor roads, and then travel 990 kms. (615 miles) by boat along the river network leading into the Amazon. The whole trip takes between three to five days, depending on the prevailing conditions. An aircraft does the journey in two hours.
But Iquitos may soon be experiencing another boom - this time because of the oil deposits that have been discovered in northern Peru. A pipeline is now under construction between Bayovar on the coast to San Jose De Saramuro in the heart of the Amazon jungle. The finance for the project has come from Japan, Iran, Venezuela, West Germany, Russia, Great Britain and Argentina, in addition to a large Government stake. By the end of this year the pipeline should be delivering 45,000 barrels of crude oil a day at Bayovar.
Iquitos is the nearest town to the vast area of Peruvian jungle which is currently undergoing exhaustive exploration for oil deposits. Before the current interest in drilling for oil in he Amazon jungle, only two small oilfields had been discovered, and a gas field. About 20 unsuccessful wildcat wells had been drilled by various companies.
Since then the state-owned company, Petroperu and the large international consortium Occidental have made important discoveries with their first series of wildcat wells. Eighty wells have now been sunk in an area of about 170,000 square kilometres (112,650 sq. miles), and the experts believe that is only a beginning.
SYNOPSIS: On the banks of the Amazon in the heart of the Peruvian jungle, lies the old colonial town of Iquitos. During the early years of this century it enjoyed a boom from the soaring demand for rubber. The residents became very wealthy, and they spent their money in remarkable ways. This house, for instance, was designed by Monsieur Eiffel who built the famous tower in Paris. Constructed of iron, it was made in paris and shipped in pieces to Iquitos.
But the fierce tropical sun turned the iron house into a furnace, and the owners were never able to live in it. The owners of this unusual building made sure their home remained cool, by covering it entirely in tiles. But again the tiles were made in Portugal and shipped over.
Today, Iquitos has only the shadow of its former glory, and the poor people of this shanty town on the outskirts of the town, scrape a meagre living by fishing and carrying goods brought down the river, into the centre. They also ferry tourists around the network of waterways. For the past few decades, tourism has been Iquitos' only claim to fame.
But the inhabitants may soon be enjoying another period of booming prosperity - again through a natural resource that the Amazon basin apparently has in abundance.
Oil has been discovered in large quantities in the jungle to the south west of Iquitos, and the state oil company, Petroperu, has set up its headquarters in the town. Petroperu, and the international consortium, Occidental, have made important discoveries with their first series of "wildcat" drillings.
Already 80 wells have been sunk in an area of 170,000 square kilometres, and experts believe that is only the beginning. Work on a pipeline from San De Saramuro, in the heart of the jungle, to the port of Bayovar on the coast, is now nearing completion.
By the end of this year it is hoped that the pipeline will be delivering about 45,000 barrels of crude oil a day at Bayovar. The finance for the pipeline project was put up by Japan, Iran, Venezuela, West Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and Argentina. The project has cost more than 634 million dollars, but it may mean that Peru will become self-sufficient in oil this year.