Tiwanaku
Bolivia, La Paz Department

Tiwanaku - the ruins of the highest mountain of the ancient cities of the New World. The authors of one of the most fantastic hypotheses claim that the ruins of this ancient city 12,000 years ago were an alien take-off and landing pad, while others are convinced that it was here that the fabulous gardens of Eden were located. Not so extravagant, but more believable versions come from the assumption that in this place near Lake Titicaca there was a cult center of some powerful religious community, whose very strong influence spread to other regions of Central and South America, affecting, perhaps, even Easter Island. It is not known just in which period this culture reached its highest peak. Most researchers believe that between the II and VIII centuries AD. But there is evidence that an ancient culture existed here before, taking its origins almost a thousand years before our era. Unfortunately, this monument was greatly affected by the barbarism and ignorance of the descendants. It is known for certain that a few decades ago, many giant statues were taken out of here and used as a building material for the road embankment. Fortunately, there is still enough Inca memory in Tiahuanaco so that we can still admire the skill and artistic taste of our distant ancestors. The ancient settlement of Tiauanaco is located at an altitude of 3900 meters in a harsh mountainous area, where it is quite difficult for a person to feed. This circumstance, as well as the nature of the structure itself, suggests that Tiahuanaco was not so much a place for people to live as a cult center and pilgrimage site. As this is often observed in the monuments of ancient cultures of Central and South America, here, too, great importance was attached to the orientation of buildings to the cardinal points. Some signs indicate that the Sun was regularly observed in Tiahuanaco and the rites of the solar cult were sent out. One of the most impressive monuments is the Gate of the Sun. They are cut down from a huge rocky monolith and have the form of two vertical hewn slabs covered by a massive \ 'beam \'. Directly above the opening, a figure of a deity is carved, most likely, it is the all-creating god Viracocha. the figure is framed by a skillful carved relief depicting creatures directed toward God. The architectural appearance of this building resembles many similar buildings throughout South America. It is possible that the origins of this style are here. The center of Tiahuanaco forms the Kalasasay architectural complex. It is located on a huge raised platform, in front of which an area extends below. Previously, this square was the focus of a number of wide streets that converged to it with rays. The platform is surrounded by a wall with buttresses, the decoration of which may have inspired the builders of Teotihuacan in Mexico. On the platform are stone statues with large, frozen eyes. They are similar to the stone warriors found in Tula, also in Mexico. In addition, among the ruins of the settlement two pyramids and an underground temple attract attention. A number of structures have not yet been excavated. This culture has developed very characteristic decorative motifs on fabrics and ceramics: most often - images of animals, but there are also abstract ornaments.
There are conflicting opinions about whether Tiahuanaco was actually a city: with permanent residents, the infrastructure, hierarchy of secular power and other attributes necessary to maintain order, without which a modern city is unthinkable. It is difficult to approach, with the standards of our civilization, an assessment of a community of people about whom we know almost nothing. Therefore, it is unlikely that even new archaeological research will give an unambiguous answer to such questions. Today, places like Tiahuanaco are called ceremonial centers, ancient temples.

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