Rather than quelling sensational theories, the most recent studies have only led to further questions. However, both historians and researchers of unsolved phenomena agree that this is probably one of the oldest cities in the world. The ruins of Tiwanaku lie in the Altiplano Valley, in the Andes by the southern end of Lake Titicaca in Western Bolivia. Today, this area consists of barren lands of the Ingavi province in the La Paz department, but hundreds of years ago the Altiplano Valley pulsed with life as the capital of a huge empire. It covered present-day Southern Peru, Bolivia, Northern Chile and part of Argentina. The apogee of development in Tiwanaku’s culture was from 500 to 900 AD. Analysing the astronomical references contained in the arrangement of the stone monuments, some archaeologists have come to the conclusion that Tiwanaku was constructed 12,000 years BC, but most researchers believe that it more likely dates from the 6th century BC. In Tiwanaku, there are remains of several remarkable buildings which confirm the status of this centre and its huge political and cultural significance. The Akapana Temple, a huge, pyramid-shaped building which originally consisted of 7 stone terraces with smaller shrines, an observatory, economic areas and a water reservoir, is one of the most impressive structures in the Tiwanaku ruins. The walls of the lowest platform and the sewer canals that drained the entire complex still remain today. In one of the preserved smaller temples (The Semi-Subterranean Temple), there remain 175 stone heads, set into a wall made of red sandstone. This probably made reference to the practice of displaying heads of defeated enemies on temple walls – it’s a well-known motif in pre-Columbian cultures.
the year when the first archaeological studies were carried out
3km2 – the area covered by the Tiwanaku ruins
The symbol of Tiwanaku is the Gate of the Sun. Its stone construction in the shape of a free-standing portal was built of blocks of andesite 0.5 metres thick. The gate is ornamented with a stone frieze depicting the god Viracocha in ceremonial clothes and a mask. The deity is surrounded by rows of anthropomorphic birds, most likely symbolising priest-warriors. The entire bas-relief is characterised by rhythm and geometric harmony, which makes it a model example of Tiwanaku art. Some researchers consider the images ornamenting the Gate of the Sun to be part of an ancient agricultural calendar. The inhabitants of Tiwanaku were undisputed masters of agriculture and stonemasonry. Ruins that have been discovered of irrigated
metres – the height of the famous Gateway of the Sun
angles and advanced stone-carving technology haven’t been fully, scientifically explained. What kind of tools could the ancient inhabitants of Tiwanaku have used? Did someone help them? Where did the surprising affinity to ancient Egyptian culture come from? In the fog of uncertainty, such questions appear here very often. Tiwanaku culture suddenly collapsed in the first half of the 12th century for reasons still unknown to us. But its influences have been found throughout all of South America as well as in the rites of the later Incan empire.
terraces and traces of potato and rice cultivation (commonly cultivated in Andean cultures) show a high level of agrarian culture. In the former capital, about 50,000 irrigated terraces, known as Sukakollos, have been found, which provided food for tens of thousands of people. The preserved stone buildings are characterised by masterful construction and execution which even today trigger an emotional response among UFO fans and researchers. The exact cuts, precision of right