Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco)

Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco)

Located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, the city of Tiwanaku (also spelled Tiahuanaco) was the capital of a powerful pre-Inca civilization that dominated the Andean region between 500 and 900 AD. The monumental remains of this great culture include several temples, a pyramid, symbolic gates, monoliths and mysterious carvings of alien-like faces. Arriving later, the Incas regarded Tiahuanaco as the site of creation by their god Viracoca, who rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca.

The ruins of Tiwanaku make for a good day trip from La Paz for those who want to view a few carved monoliths, archways and arcades, and two great museums where history buffs will love diving into the myths and mysteries of this lost civilization. In the eponymous village nearby, there are a number of hotels, restaurants, a little plaza with beautiful sculptures inspired by Tiwanaku styles, and a 16th-century church, built with stones from the Tiwanaku site.

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