Tiwanaku Ruins Fullday
Journey with us to the Aymara Ruins of Tiwanaku, once the center of the regions greatest pre-Inca power, to see its elaborately carved pyramids and shrines of monumental blocks, including a sacrificial pyramid and the famous Sun Gate carved from a single stone!
Itinerary of Tiwanaku Ruins Fullday
We'll pick you up from your hotel or hostel in La Paz at 8:30am and then head by bus along a paved road in the direction of the southeastern shore of Lake Titicaca. It's 45 miles to our destination, Tiwanaku Archeological Complex to learn about the enigmatic Aymara Ruins.
Once we get there, we'll first stop at the Tiwanaku Site Museum in order to gain some context for the site we are about to explore by viewing the items unearthed at the site. The collection mainly comprises ceramics and carved stone sculptures, especially the ceramic cups known as keros; these were ritually smashed and buried after ceremonial use. After our stop at the museum we'll begin our tour of the Ruins of Tiwanaku.
Although it may have been inhabited as early as 1500BC as a farming village, Tiwanaku became an urban center starting aorund 300AD and grew in power over the next centuries, becoming a city-state, prestigious pilgrimage site, and the administrative center of the Kingdom of Tiwanaku, whose dominion expanded throughout Bolivia and into Chile and Peru. Around 1000AD the city fell due to drought, and any remaining scattered populations were conquered and assimilated for a brief period into the Inca Empire somewhere in the late 15th century or early 16th century.
Despite years of abuse at the hands of tomb raiders and misguided excavations, the site still stuns with its giant stone monoliths (the largest block in the site weighs approximately 131 tons!) and carved images adorning the walls of its temples and shrines.
We'll admire the decorative frieze on the Sun Gate, featuring not only the creator deity Viracocha, but also an unknown deity encircled by what appears to be a mysterious calendar. Found in the Pumapunku plaza, the Sun Gate was carved from a single piece of stone weighing about 45 tons.
Another surprising structure is Akapana Pyramid, where remains including headless skeletons have been uncovered, revealing the pyramids use for ritual sacrifices in which victims were beheaded, then disemboweled shortly after expiring. The human and puma head carvings studding the walls of the pyramid's terrace suggest that the ritual was related to the shaman-puma 'transformational' relationship; another clue is the sculpture of a figure resembling a puma-shaman holding a severed head.
The guide will take us throughout the site, explaining the significance and importance of striking pyramids, plazas, temples and shrines including the Katantallita, Putuni, Keri Kala, Kalassasaya Temple and Semi-Subterranean Shrine in a visit lasting about 2½ hours.
Afterwards, we'll have tasty lunch characteristic of the region and then it's time to board the bus back to the city of La Paz. Overall, this tour has a duration of seven hours- which can't help but fly by!