Sightseeing in Bolivia: The ancient city Tiwanaku - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sightseeing in Bolivia: The ancient city Tiwanaku

On Sunday me and Lotte went for a day-trip to the ancient city Tiwanaku (or Tiahuanaco / Tiahuanacu), which is situated about 44 km west of La Paz not that far from the Lake Titicaca.
From the cemetary in La Paz there are a lot of minibusses going to Tiwanaku, so it was not a problem for us finding transport, and for one way we payed 15 Bolivianos. The roads are good, and the trip there only took us about 1 1/2 hour (including 30 minutes to get out of El Alto..), so we arrived in Tiwanaku quite early in the day.
One thing I have to mention though, is that unfortunately they are taking totally different prices for Bolivians and us extranjeros; while a local person pays 10 Bolivianos to get the ticket to Tiwanaku, a foreigner has to pay 80..(!) Oh well, Bolivia is a poor country so I think it is good that the Bolivians get the tickets for cheap. But what about us poor students?! :p..
Anyway, the ticket gives you access to the two museums Ceramico and Lítico (ceramics and lithics), and also to the temple areas Kalasaya and Pumapunku.!

For those of you who never have heard of this place, I can mention that Tiwanaku actually is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. It is an ancient city, which according to legends dates back to around 15 000 BC. I'm not going to speculate about its real age, but I have read that it at least might be the oldest civilisation in South-America. But it is no doubt that no matter its age, this is a place shrouded by mystery, and it is also considered to be one of the most important pre-Inca sites by various experts and scholars.
Unfortunately Tiwanaku has been severely damaged through the flow of time, and today I guess it is only a shadow of its former self. Anyway, here are some of my pictures from the trip:

The entrance to the Kalasasaya temple area to the left, along with the local train and some other tourists.
An overview of the area showing how they think it used to look like, with the Akapana pyramid in the background.

The Akapana pyramid

The gate to the Kalasasaya temple

A statue with the Akapana pyramid in the background

The statue in front of the Akapana pyramid again
Another of the statues at Kalasasaya
The "Gate of the Sun", which is on UNESCO's World Heritage list
Lotte discovering the temple site.
The Aymaras must have had some special technic when it came to shaping the stone, cause as you can see the stones doesn't have much unevenness at all.
Details from the Semi-subterranean temple
A couple of the carved faces in the sunken temple (Semi-subterranean Temple)

How the temple complex might have looked like.
A big statue in the Museo Litico
The sign outside of the Museo Lítico had an interesting symbol on the backside..
After our trip to the different temple areas we walked into the "modern" Tiwanaku city(/village) to take a look, because we had heard the sounds of drums etc. And as we had though, the locals were parading in the streets around the local plaza, playing instruments and dressed up in nice clothes. We had lunch in one of the small blue tents, and from there we had a good view of the parade. It is quite funny, because the Bolivians drink while participating in the parade. And in the parade we saw at least one guy walking far behind the others with a trumpet on his shoulder, and he looked like he had gotten a little bit too much to drink..
After lunch we decided to go back by bus to La Paz. It was easy to find a bus with available seats, and soon we were on the road again. The driver drove like crazy so we didn't feel too secure, but at least we made it back alive..
Anyway, the trip to Tiwanaku can easily be taken as a one-day trip from La Paz, and I can recommend it to anyone who would like to get out of the city for a little while.

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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