We are going to visit a fairly unknown civilization, with many uncertainties, which is called Tiwanaku. It is located 43 miles (70 km) from La Paz city at an altitude of 12700 ft (3885 meters) above see level and it is an almost obligatory step for any tourist visiting this part of South America. The site is in the highlands of Bolivia very close to the famous Titicaca Lake. It is one of the oldest known cultures of the continent (1500 BC to 1200 AD) and its ruins are full of uncertainties that give rise to many theories. This is why there are many stories and legends, but in reality there is little known, since no written records exists. Even when the famous Incas arrived, this civilization was already in ruins.
Tiwanaku is composed of a complex of religious and administrative buildings with many interesting and eye-catching details.
|3D Scheme of the site. 1) Semi-subterranean temple. 2) Kalasasaya Temple. 3) Akapana Pyramid 4) Putuni|
|Kalasasaya Temple that means stand up stones. In fact the names of all the buildings and sculptures were set after the end of the culture|
It is very interesting to note how the temples and buildings are aligned with the stars, showing a deep knowledge of astronomy. If you visit the area in the rainy season you can see how the drainage channels constructed with right slopes still work after thousand of years showing that their engineering and technical knowledge was pretty high. It seems that we have much to learn from them, since our construction works do not last more than a few years!
Other technological advances seem very impressive for their time such as the speakers they had. They show a deep knowledge of acoustics compared to what we currently know. We can imagine the ancient leaders given speeches to their people in these devices. Without electricity they could amplify the voice better than many modern appliances.
|Interior detail of a load speaker|
|Human faces carved in stone|
|Detail of a face|
|Another face detail|
It is also impressive the large blocks of stone that make up the ruins, which were transported by unknown means from distant quarries. We can guess different ways to do that, but the problem gets more complicated if we add that they were apparently unaware of the wheel use. We can find large sculptured monoliths between these stones that are quite charismatic.
|Entrance to the Kalasasaya Temple|
|Lateral view of one of the walls of the temple|
|Lateral stairs to the temple|
|The famous Sun's door|
|Another monolith called "Fraile" (priest) in Spanish|
If you have the opportunity to visit the place, go there and see carefully where you step, because without much effort, you can find a piece of genuine pottery for free.
In the mean time you can let your imagination fly away...