16 Apr, 2009

Tiwanaku, the important archaeological site in Bolivia


Tiwanaku is the premium archaeological site of Bolivia; it is also called Tiahuanaco and is in close proximity to the city of La Paz. Visitors who wish to come to this unique place can come by car – three hours approximately – or by train and bus. It is also located close to Lake Titicaca in Peru, where numerous visitors go on daily trips. The remains in the area date back to 600 BC during the pre Inca Era.

According to the findings, the area was once a very important ritual and ceremonial hub, characteristics that remain intact until today. The civilization developed in this area was of significant importance, influencing Peru and the nearby countries of South America. In fact, historians and experts believe that some of the findings in Tiwanaku are more important than the ones found in Peru, since the art of pottery making or the knowledge of locals on astronomy and other sciences was far more advanced than the Incas’. Nevertheless, the area is still under archaeological excavation and exploration, while many of the initial findings are housed in the National Archaeological Museum in La Paz.

The stories and legends about the establishment of the area are quite interesting; according to the myths giants created Tiwanaku overnight, so as to settle there and create their civilisations. When Incas dominated in Peru, the area in Bolivia was already considered to be ancient and was in ruins, as many catastrophic earthquakes hit it. The population of the area was mostly agrarian and was considered to be relatively wealthy for the times. The civilization declined probably when water disappeared from the area.

There are two major attractions in Tiwanaku: the Akapana pyramid, which is almost square and is built over an impressive formation and the Kalasasaya Temple, which was a place of rituals and celebrations, made of sandstone.

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