Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tiwanaku

We saw this site a week or so back, but I haven't had time to post about it til now.

An hour from La Paz is the holy/archaeological site of Tiwanaku. High on the altiplano the tiwanaku culture (predating the Incas) built a bunch of temples. Not much remains of the temples, but it's a great excuse to get out on the altiplano for a day and explore a bit.  The trip was gorgeous.

First was the sky - I've really never seen it so big.

Next were the hills. (Ignore the fact that I can't hold a camera straight.)

Then there were the mountains -the Cordillera Real. Absolutely beautiful.

Compared to all the nature the ruins had a hard time stacking up, but there were some nice bits. I liked this statue of a priest.

And the wall set with faces. Apparently there is one face for every tribe absorbed into the main tiwanaku culture. Not sure what the facial expression is supposed to indicate. Surprise? Anger? Fear?

The actual temple is mostly lost to nature and looting (apparently the stones show up in churches built by the Spaniards all over the altiplano). This is what's left. We didn't climb up it because despite how tame it looks, this is 13,000+ feet and some of us remember the adventures at the lake a little too well.
This coming Thursday will be the Aymara new year. Tiwanaku is the place to be when the sun rises on New Year's Day. We decided we'd rather have it to ourselves, but if you're in the area, it's supposed to be a neat experience.


PS I am really behind with the blog. I've just resigned myself to update when I can and fill in the details when I get back to the states. Now I know that (good) internet access needs to be one of my bidding criteria!

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