Tiahuanaco

44 miles to the west of La Paz, Bolivia are the mysterious ruins of Tiahuanaco. Little is known about this pre-incan society. Visitors taking a Bolivia tour while in the country will benefit much from a guided tour to this, one of the greatest of all the Incan Ruins in all of South America.

Tiahuanaco is located on the southeastern shores of Lake Titicaca. It is a widely thought that at its height, Tiahuanaco was a thriving city, and marine fossils were found in the ruins. If this was the case, Lake Titicaca has receded 12 miles since that early time. Even with the aid of an informative guide, a mystery hangs like a cloud over the long abandoned temple-complex and settlement near the southern shores of Lake Titicaca.

This is considered by many archeologists to be the worlds' most ancient city, which makes this fact even more fascinating is the craftsmanship and painstaking detail that was invested in the creation with which these structures were built. The devotion and the energy that went into the creation of this awe-inspiring site just boggles the mind as you walk through these Inca Ruins, whose renowned is rivaled only by other sites such as Macchu Picchu in Peru.

The culture of Tiahuanaco was said to have flourished from 500 BC to 900-1000 AD. The stark, austere megaliths are covered with powerful and intricately carved geometric designs. The Kalasaya complex is an enormous platform with a sunken courtyard. Solemn megaliths break the continuity of the pale brown dust. Stoic stone faces dot the mortarless stone fortifications of the Temple of Kalasaya complex.

Though not as well-preserved as more recent Inca ruins from the 15th century; just hearing about Tiahuanaco, Inca legends sets the imagination ablaze with folklore and myth.

It is thought by some that this ancient settlement existed long before Lake Titicaca, and that a cataclysmic flood of the like of Noah's Flood covered parts of the city. Even the mystifying Incan creation myth of the great God Viracocha, who could turn hills into plains and plains into hills, reflect the changing nature of this dramatic landscape.

The highest terracing on the hills and mountainsides in parts of Bolivia are some of the earliest, which lends credibility to the idea that suggest that this area might have experienced flooding. Newer planting on the lower elevations adds weight to this fascinating theory about flood waters creating devastation on a cataclysmic scale.

In 1980 archeological excavations confirmed the Indian legends of submerged pre-Inca ruins city of the Indians. There were indeed ruins found; precise rows of massive hewn stones, and steps leading mysteriously into the lake floor of Lake Titicaca only add to the mystery.

No Bolivia tour is complete without a visit to this ancient monument. You will understand the awe of the Inca as you wander through this marvel of ancient engineering.

Tiahuanaco Sun Gate

The sun gate is the apex of this temple complex. Adding to the enigma, elaborately carved symbols on this enormous 45-ton piece of stone are a riddle, and endless source of fascination for scientist, archeologist, and tourist alike. Some have used the calendar, which they claim it is, for dating this civilization as early as 16,000 BC. Conflicting theories with such conflicting dates as this only fuel speculation and extend the powerful reach of the impressive Tiahuanaco's ancient power.

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