The walls of the Kalasasaya are made of red sandstone and andesite and form a platform 3 meters tall. Some of the stones weigh as much as 150 tons. The north wall is the wall that would have faced Lake Titicaca.
Putuni is an almost square area (55 x 60 meters) just outside the Kalasasaya. A German archaeologist excavated it when no one else was interested. It turned out to be the graveyard of rich people. There were many gold and silver artifacts. The village and cathedral of Tiahuanaco are in the background.
In the foreground you can see an unexcavated stone sticking out of the ground; there are many like this. In the center are the older north side excavations. Part of the Kalasasaya is in the right background and you can see the Puerta del Sol and El Fraile in the northwest and southwest corners, respectively. The square area just to the west of El Fraile is Putuni or the Palacio de los Sarcofagos. Part of the village of Tiahuanaco is in the far left background.
At the west end of the inner wall of the Kalasasaya, there is a stone with a hole in it shaped like a human inner ear. If you stand in the middle of the Kalasasaya and someone speaks into the other side of the hole, you can hear them clearly. One wonders what words have flowed through this stone over many centuries.
This is the view of the Kalasasaya from the Akapana pyramid looking northwest. Puerta del Sol is in the back corner. El Fraile (the priest) is in the southwest corner. Monolito Ponce is in the middle of the inner wall. The outer wall is made of red sandstone and is 3 meters high, covering an area 130 x 120 meters. You can see the village of Tiahuanaco and its cathedral in the left background. The old shoreline of Lake Titicaca is just behind the buildings on the right side of the picture.
The famous carved figure on the decorated archway in the ancient (pre-Incan) city of Tiahuanaco, known as the "Gateway of the Sun," most likely represents Viracocha, flanked by 48 winged effigies, 32 with human faces and 16 with condor's heads. Some believe that the strange symbols might represent a calendar, the oldest in the world. This huge monument is hewn from a single block of stone weighing 10 tons. It is thought that its original location was in the Puma Punku (another large complex to the south). Maybe that was when the stone was broken.
The Monolito Ponce is on the east-west axis of the Kalasasaya but more toward the east end. He or she is about 3 meters tall. You can see Puerta del Sol in the background of this picture. It is located in the northwest corner of the Kalasasaya.
The original Megalito Bennetto Pachamama is in a large room to the right but photography is not allowed in there. This large monolith was originally found in the Templete Semisubterraneo. At one time it was moved to La Paz and displayed in the Templete Subterraneo Park by the soccer stadium. The park now has a replica instead (see my La Paz tips).
There were three levels in the Tiwanaku religion...Alaxpacha (upper), Akapacha (ground) and Manqapacha (lower). They are represented at Tiwanaku by the Akapana, Kalasasaya and Templete Semisubterraneo, respectively. This picture was taken from the top of the Akapana pyramid and shows part of the Kalasasaya on the left and the Templete Semisubterraneo on the right.
There is an interesting museum included in the price of admissions to the Ruins. It contains a good range of ceramics, crafts, and bones of the inhabitants of Tiahuanuco. Notice the skulls in the picture. Similar to meso-american indians (in Central and North America), the inhabitants of Tiahuanuco used several techniches to alter the skull. For them, having this alteration done was a sign of wealth and nobelity.
insert finger and see the perfect flat panel.
Some researchers have concluded that the ancients constructed the site with astronomical alignments in mind called Celestial Observatories.
This medium sized courtyard is studded with sculptured stone heads set into cut-stone facing walls and in the middle of the court was located a now-famous monolithic stela.
The El Fraile monolith is located in the southwest corner of the Kalasasaya. It is not as famous as the other monoliths but is nonetheless impressive.
This is a view of the museums from the top of Akapana, looking to the southwest. You can also see the new excavation on the west side of Akapana in the foreground.
If luck is on your side, you may just find yourself in town during the Market day. The market is small, but really interested. There are many local campesinos that still hold their Andean roots.