Tiahuanaco and a Taste of Inca

Without the time to duck into Peru and experience Macchu Picchu (it’s been on my “To Do” list for years…), I was keen to make a day trip out of La Paz to see the ruins at Tiahuanaco, on the old shoreline of sacred Lake Titicaca.

To make it easy for myself I signed up for a tour, and I was quickly reminded why I really dislike taking tours when I travel.  Our guide was an old hand who knew his stuff, but he wasn’t at all able to package it up in an interesting form.  On top of that the second sentence he spoke was a somewhat jokey reminder to give him a tip at the end of the day – let’s just say that didn’t work in his favour!

After an hour and a half drive out of the valley and onto the altiplano, we arrived at the ruins.  The guide made us suffer a good three hours (!) in the two museums before we even got to explore the ruins.  But what we did see in the museums was amazing – some beautiful pottery and other artifacts, and some gigantic yet fabulously intricate rock carvings and pillars – even though the choice bits have been pinched by the Spaniard “conquerors” and European archaeologists over time.  Surprise surprise we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum, but here’s a sneaky one I took:


To keep it brief, Tiahuanaco was the religious centre of a pre-Incan race that covered much of the same area that the Incas later did along the Andes (and by the way their ruled for centuries longer – although we can blame the Spaniards for killing off the Incas).  There is still much excavation going on but glimpses of the ceremonial pyramid structure were visible and some of the temples devoted to Pachamama (Mother Earth) had been reconstructed.  Their detailed knowledge of astronomy, well before the Incas came along, was clearly visible in the design of structures which acted as calendars for identifying the equinoxes and solsticies during the year.  Impressive stuff!!


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