Stone & Air

Ancient Bolivia - Lake Titicaca & Samapaita
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Bolivia was more than just an outpost for the Incas -- unlike Ecuador and Chile. The boundaries of modern Peru was their territory, but they claimed to spring from depths of Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. Bolivia has traces of other civilizations dating back to at least 1500 BC as well.

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

South America's largest lake, is also the world's highest navigable body of water. It's about 90 minutes from La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. This is the sacred lake of the Incas, who believed they were born from its waters at the Island of the Sun, which sprang from the body of a drowned Puma. The Incans used the island's Temple of the Virgins of the Sun for human sacrifice. Despite its gruesome history, the Incans incorporated a garden-esque moment: a perfectly placed bench faces a window that frames Illampu, a sacred mountain. This is a good place to contemplate the healing power of time, and to be thankful that you weren't born an Incan virgin.


Once you're in Bolivia, you might want to pay a visit to Samapaita. This is a pre-Inca fortress on the road between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. There are traces of settlement as far back as 1500 BC right up through the Spanish conquest. The site's spectacular natural setting features waterfalls and lagoons bordered by sandy beaches. The earmark of the site is a 200 by 60 meter slab covered with zig-zagging carvings of bowls, seats, the figures of pumas, snakes, and Ñandus;, which are ostrich-like birds.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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