Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tiwanaku (July 11th, 2013)

We heard about Tiwanaku already while visiting the archaeological museum in San Pedro de Atacama: during the first millennium AD, the Tiwanaku culture expanded from Lake Titicaca to other regions in Bolivia and Peru, as well as to the northern parts of Chile and Argentina. Since the ruins of the Tiwanaku capital city are located close to La Paz and are considered one of most important archaeological sites in South America, we decided to visit them.

Our tour first took us to two museums neighboring the site; these contain the many ceramic findings from the area, as well as some monolithic sculptures. Our guide was relatively difficult to understand (both in English and Spanish), but he made funny gestures, so that his performance was rather entertaining.

Our guide at the "Lithic" Museum

The site itself consists of several pyramids and temples, and is thought to have been a major religious center to which people made pilgrimages. Nowadays, people gather in Tiwanaku for the winter solstice ceremony, and it was also where Evo Morales was inaugurated as president in 2006. The site is now being restored. Unfortunately, the restoration is mainly done with adobe, which will not survive for long, and does not look particularly authentic.

Partially reconstructed pyramid at Tiwanaku

This monolithic sculpture reminded me of a monster in a computer game

Subterranean temple, with 175 carved faces in its walls. Evo Morales was inaugurated at the gate in the background. 
Some people believe that the building of Tiwanaku was aided by aliens. Then again, some people believe anything.

Alien face at subterranean temple?

We have some more photos of Tiwanaku, which can be seen here.

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