Tiwanaku - Atlas Obscura


Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Over a millennium ago, this site on the shores of Lake Titicaca was home to a city of more than 10,000 people. 


Tiwanaku is located near the southern shores of Lake Titicaca on the Altiplano, at an altitude of 3,850 meters above sea level. It began as a small settlement which later flourished into a planned city between 400 and 900, and was the spiritual and political center of the Tiwanaku Culture. At its peak around the year 800, the city had a population of between 10,000 and 20,000 people.

Many of the remains of this ancient adobe city have been built over by the modern town of the same name. But in what was once the ceremonial center of town, a number of stone structures still stand. These include a terraced platform mound (Akapana), a courtyard surrounded by high stone walls (Kalasasaya), and several temples.

Within the Kalasasaya is a structure known as the Gate of the Sun. Measuring approximately 9.8 feet (three meters) tall and 13 feet (four meters) wide, the gateway was carved from a single piece of stone. It features carved decorations that archaeologists believe may have held astronomical or astrological significance.

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January 5, 2024

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