Space-Technology at Sacsayhuaman, Peru

31 07 2012

Designer rocks of Sacsayhuaman

Anomalies of Ancient Civilisations

Sacsayhuaman in Cusco is one of several archaeological sites in Peru that questions the history of mankind. The enigmatic fortress is a masterpiece of engineering modern day experts cannot explain and subsequently presents a dilemma in the fairytale mainstream account of history that is accepted by society. Sacsayhuaman is an awesome site to see for visitors, but for archaeologist’s it´s what they call an “Anomaly.”

The Inca called this incredible structure Saqsa Uma, meaning head of the Puma. The reason they did that is because Sacsayhuaman resembles the head of a puma and the Cusco that the Inca designed resembles the body of a Puma – one of the most scared animals to the Andean ancients as it represented the material world in which we live.

The heart of the Puma is where we find the main square of Plaza de Armas. The Quaricancha are the Pumas testicles and the tail is where the rivers, Shapi and Tullumayo used to meet. Today the rivers flow underneath the two main roads, Tullumayo and Avenue Sol which meet at the statue of Pachcuta.

Sacsayhuaman pre-dates the Inca

Sacsayhuaman itself is stacked into three platforms which represents the structure of the Universe as ancient civilisations saw it, much as we do today, namely, the Upper World or heaven, the material world and the under World or as we call it Hell. The stones of Sacsayhuaman are also laid out to form zigzag shapes that are indicative of lightning which was also deemed a supreme deity because of the powers lightning is said to have given to Alto misoyocs, the most powerful of Shamans. But lightning is also a symbol of the energy that is seen coming from the heavens and for our God-fearing ancestors this would have been frightening and powerful image.

But the most complex attribute about this amazing structure is how the massive stones are carved into peculiar curving shapes and pieced together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. And despite what some mainstream archaeologists will tell you, Sacsayhuaman was not built by the Inca, but long before their empire even started.

The great black stones are made of basalt and most weigh around 100 tons. Mainstream archaeologists say the structure was designed in such as way because the Inca wanted to impress visitors with their knowledge of building so that visitors would go back to their own settlements and speak highly of their great achievements. Yet records show that the Inca were useless at building at the only attempt they made killed hundreds of men when a boulder rolled down the mountain and crushed them.

Another record that dates back to the time of the Incas acknowledges Sacsayhuaman is older than the Inca. They say didn’t build it. The truth us nobody knows exactly when it was built but it is believed by the descendants of the Inca to have been built by an earlier, unknown civilisation.

The Mystery of Colnel Percy Fawcett

Moulded rocks of the Giant´s Causeway on display in London´s Natural History Museum

The building stones of Sacsayhuaman are packed so tightly architects say the builders would have to have moulded them to 140 degrees to melt them together. In the Natural History Museum in London are a block of moulded stones that were found in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Known as the Giant´s Causeway the strange stone structure was formed due the effects of lava flow. The stones from the Giant´s Causeway are also made of basalt and look exactly the same as the rocks at Sacsayhuman.

Sacsayhuaman is obviously not the result of a giant lava flow. However, it has been proposed by some archaeologists that this colossal structure could have been built using a rock-moulding plant extract mixed with spit that is said Colonel Percy Forsett discovered on an expedition in the Amazon jungle. Despite the search for this magic plant nobody has discovered it yet or actually knows if the combination works.

By way of explanation, archaeologist profess that the 19th Century British explorer, Colnel Fawcett was amazed by tiny birds who had built their nests into the side of rocks. He supposedly wrote in his journal that the indigenous Amazon peoples told him the birds used a plant extract that combined with their saliva softened the rock. Strangely enough Fawcett went missing during an Amazon expedition never to be seen again.

The explanation given by archaeologists as to how the ancients might have built Sacsayhuman raises a few obvious questions. What is the plant and what are the birds? Do these birds even salivate because scientists claim most birds do not!

Inca Legends

The Indian legend of Scasayhuman that has been passed down over generations throughout antiquity says the massive construction was built by a Falcon that carried a powerful chemical in its beak. As a result Sacsayhuaman translates to Falcon’s head. But if this is so, why is the structure shaped like the head of a Puma?

Because the myth resembles “something that came from the skies,” supporters of the ancient alien theory believe the mythic symbol of the falcon is used by the ancients to describe alien aircraft and that the knowledge of architecture the ancients would have required to build a structure like Sacsayhuman was given to them by extraterrestrials. Or perhaps it built by an advanced civilisation that existed pre recorded history!

Regardless of when it was built, Sacsayhuman must have been used for spiritual purposes as much as it does resemble a fortress. The Inca certainly used it as an initiation centre for priests who learned the secret teachings of the Universe, or in other words esoteric wisdom that is hidden in religious texts and not taught by modern day churches.

In the complex you will find mysterious stone carvings such as a snake with seven levels carved into the stone, the snake representing knowledge and the seven levels representing the spiritual progression man has to take to reach enlightenment – belief that dates back to time before we know it yet is unknown, or rather dismissed, by the majority of people today. The reason it is dismissed is because mainstream religions has corrupted the belief system so much most people consider spirituality is a load of bollocks. I must admit I used to think that too!

Lightning Design of Sacsayhuaman

We mostly know the seven steps to enlightenment today as the seven chakras and to open the chakras requires dedication and concentration through the art of meditation. The ancients called these stages the seven layers of heaven and overtime this blog will reveal the number seven and the spiritual beliefs of ancient civilisations around the world have a recurring theme that is only revealed in structures that cannot be explained by mainstream scholars. And Sacsayhuman is a prime example.

Brazil Sunset

30 07 2012

You´ve got love sunsets in Brazil…they are almost as beautiful as the women!

Tambomachay to Sacsayhuman, Peru

27 07 2012

Duality fountains, Tambomachay

Four Ancient Archaeological Sites for the Price of One

“There are two theories about Tambomachay,” David Choque, my guide tells me.

We are at Tambomachay near Cusco, Peru, the first of four sites you can visit by following the winding path down the mountain and ending at Sacsayhuaman. Most people just visit the latter as it is the most impressive and thus the most well-known. But it doesn´t cost any more to visit the other three and with the right guide, you will discover much more things of interest than you can find at Sacsayhuaman alone.

The first theory about Tambomachay is that the site was used by Inca kings to bathe after hunting. In the time of the Incas the surrounding hills were abundant with wildlife and it is thought the Inca Kings came up here to hunt. The steep terrain would have meant it was tiring work and with all the running and climbing the hunters would have been ready for a bath and somewhere to relax. In Quechua, Tambomachay literally means, “resting place.”

The other theory is this was the site of a temple dedicated to the water God, Pariacaca. The creator God Virococha is also looked up as the God of water, together with the God of rain and fertility among other things.

The water at Tambomachay has flowed at the same consistency for as long as anybody knows, presumably since the day it was built and plumbed in. The water is fresh, most likely from a natural spring, yet nobody knows where it stems from.

Tambomachay is an Inca Mystyery

One thing scholars do agree on is that the site would have been used exclusively by Inca nobility and religious leaders. The water displays are a profound example of that. One in particular is known as the fountain of life. It flows down in a single current before separating into two chutes at the bottom.

Like many things in the Inca world, the fountain of life is a symbolic display of duality. Nothing can exist without an opposite; night and day, man and woman, life and death. It is the same principle as Ying and Yang in ancient Chinese philosophy – yet another example of similarities from cultures half a world apart, despite according to mainstream historians, the peoples of South America and Asia had never met.

Shelter for the Dead

Another re-occurrence I noticed at Tambomachay was the niches I had first seen at El Fuerte in Bolivia and again on the Isla del Sol and at the Wiracocha Temple at Raqchi on the way to Cusco. By now I knew they were called Chullpas and represent the womb.

“They were used to keep mummies of the deceased in,” David tells me. “Each mummy would be looked after by an assistant who would feed them and take them outside for a sun-bath. To the Inca the mummies were considered living people. Servants would even cook for them and feed them.”

To the ancient Andean cultures the niches represented the woman’s womb and the dead are buried in the feotal position – like the mummies we have seen in the Wiracocha Museum on the way to Cusco. With their dead the ancients buried possessions that were considered sacred to the deceased. The whole ceremony was to prepare the soul for the next life. The Incas believed that death was a continuation of this life.

Puca Pucara Inca Check Point of Cusco

We made our way down the hill to the next ancient site, passing Queuna trees along the way, natives of Peru. Across the road from Tambomachay is Puca Pucara, believed to be a check point to count the number of people coming in and out of Cusco, as well as a resting place for messengers on their way to Cusco.

In its prime Puca Pucara would have been an impressive sight. Built in full view of the surrounding hills the four-tiered complex would also have been used as a look-out post.

Historians are certain that Puca Pucara was used as a watch tower because of its defensive wall and its name; in Quechua the meaning translates to red fortress, so called because the minerals in the stone magically change to a reddish colour in the sunshine.

Inca design double jam doors indicate nobility

The doorways were considered sacred and evidence of a double jam structure can be found all over the site suggesting a particular importance was attached to the site. At the back of the complex the smooth walls and skilled stonework is a clear indication that nobility stayed in that portion of the complex. It seems more likely that together Tambomachay and Puca Pucara was a sort of weekend retreat for the Inca hierarchy to relax and play.

At the entrance of the fortress you find rooms where travellers and messengers would have rested before continuing their journey to Cusco another 2km down the hill. Evidence has also been found that the site was used as a large storage facility for produce.

Another mean feat of engineering, the Puca Pucara complex was built on top of natural rocks, believed by the Inca to be the safest foundations.

The outcrop rocks are still in reasonably good condition, much better than the decaying stone underneath.

“That’s because the Inca deemed them to be sacred,” David tells me. “The Inca believed the spirits of deities lived in them.”

The Inca were very in tune with nature, much more so than we are today. Before they slaughtered an animal they would ask the spirit of the animal for its consent to kill it. They believed that without the agreement of the animal the food would be bad. It was a sign of respect for every living creature.

Inca Sacrifices at Q´Enqo

Continuing downhill we grabbed a taxi to drop us of at Q’enqo. For a couple of soles it saves a lot of time and energy.

Q’enqo is a fascinating place. Used as a religious complex, man-made corridors have been carved out of dense rock, and in a tunnel an altar was built for the purpose of performing ritual sacrifices on animals.

At one time of day this labyrinth of corridors was visited by priests and other high ranking religious members from the surrounding areas who would to come pray to their own deities.

Sacrificial Slab at Q´enqo

Although the Inca had conquered much of the Andean region, to show good faith to the occupied cultures they allowed them to continue worshipping their own gods without discrimination. Though some deities changed slightly from one culture to the next the practice of prayer and offering gifts was principally the same. And every culture shared the idea of one Goddess, that of Pachamama, Mother Earth.

As Dr. Valencia had explained a few days earlier, to offer a gift to Pachamama the priest would wrap gifts of corn, textiles, llama fat, cotton and other important products they considered important in paper and burn it. As a result, the high volume of visitors to Q’enqo on a daily basis would cover the place in ash from their burnt offerings. Renowned for the strength of their economy however, the Inca would not even allow ash to be wasted so it was gathered up and scattered on the fields below to ferment the land.

Q’enqo was a very important site for priests. It was here they would conduct ceremonies to pray to the Gods for a good harvest. On special occasions, usually a full moon or the solstices and equinoxes, a ceremony would take place in which an animal would be sacrificed. For the important dates this would be a black Llama, black as this was much rarer and considered more sacred.

The ceremonies always took place in secret and at night and were performed by the High Priest and a close confidante. The priest would perform the sacrificial ritual then tear the heart out of the Llama. The priest is said to have been able to predict how that year’s harvest was going to do by the way the heart came out. Because he was second only to the King in the hierarchy, whatever he said was believed and obeyed.

What Did the Number 19 Mean for the Inca?

As we were leaving David told me something I found very odd. Near the entrance of the Q’enqo complex are 19 small niches. These types of niches are used by priests to place their idols in when they are praying. They can be found in every Inca site still standing. Yet curiously, David tells me this on the way out:

“Nobody knows why there are 19,” he says.

My initial thought was why would anybody even question why there are only 19? Why has the question been raised? It was not until I visited the Inca Museum that I realised there may be some significance in the number after all!

Our last stop is Sacsayhuaman, the formidable fortress looking out over the city of Cusco. Sacsayhuaman represents the head of the Puma whilst the city is laid out in the shape of it body, and you can read more about the symbolism and mystery of Sacsayhuaman in another post.

An Insight into the Inca and Cosmo Visions in Peru

26 07 2012

The Sun God Virococha

An Interview with Retired Peruvian Historian Abraham Valencia Espinoza

There is little information about the Inca of Peru available in England, at least in London anyway. Before I embarked on my travels to Peru however, I was fortunate enough to be put in contact with a delightful and very helpful lady, Fresia Orihuela of Daily Tours in Cusco (Av. Sol 315, Tel: +51 084 277712). Fresia was taken by the idea for my book and subsequently arranged an interview with Senor Abraham Valencia Espinoza, a retired historian who had an illustrious career as an anthropologist at Cusco University for 50 years.

Dr. Valencia originates from Quechua and specialised in the study of ancient civilisations in South America. He has conducted a mountain of research into pre-Colombian cultures together with studies of Andean mystics and Cosmo visions of Shamanic tribes. I met up with him at his home in Cusco to learn more about Andean cultures and what modern man could learn from ancient civilisations. In order to communicate we enlisted the services of a translator, a pleasant and mild-mannered gentleman, David Choque.

Dr. Valencia is wearing a white shirt and beige trousers. His friendly face is capped with greying hair that curl into tiny spirals. To ease into the interview I ask how the Inca were able to achieve such extraordinary feats of engineering and how they learned such progressive architectural skills.

“Before the Inca there were tribes who possessed this knowledge. The Tiwanakans, the Wari’ and the Pucara were the most important.”

Senor Valencia explained these civilisations became very knowledgeable about architecture and engineering. But I still wanted to know how they acquired the knowledge. The professor replied, “They were shown by Viracocha. It goes back to the myths.”

The Legend of Virococha

Viracocha is said to have arrived in South America from across the ocean and walked into the highlands. Dr. Valencia told me about the legend I discovered in Isla del Sol, that talks about Viracocha rising from the depths of Lake Titicaca on a bed of white foam.

The Virococha Temple, Raqchi, Peru

“Viracocha looked totally different to the other people in the area,” Dr. Valencia said. “The people thought he was something mythical and were frightened of him. They didn’t trust him and treated him as an enemy. They threw rocks at him with slings so Viracocha started a fire.”

The interpreter David, a very knowledgeable man himself told me about an event that happened in the ancient past and is still remembered to this day. The region described in the myth is called Kanamarka which means ‘burned city.’ According to legend, the people were afraid of the fire and fled from the village. When they reflected what they had done to Viracocha they were overcome by guilt and returned to the settlement to make their peace. It was agreed they would build a temple in honour of his wisdom. The ruins of the Wiracocha Temple can still be found in the former Aymara community of Raqchi.

I was curious to know whether Senor Valencia subscribed to the orthodox teachings of historians so I ask him when he believed advanced civilisation began. He replied more than 5000 years ago.

“Thousands of years before or hundreds?”  I say.

The learned man gave a wry smile and said, “The Incas were the last culture to have knowledge of the ancients. That is why they were so good at medicine, architecture and maths etc.”

“Knowledge that had been passed down for thousands of years,” I pushed. He nodded his head, but didn’t give a date. Orthodox historians tell us

CNC Cut Stones – Space-age Technology at Tiwanaku

advanced civilisation began in Mesopotamia in modern day Iraq around the year 5500 BCE. Yet here I was with a former historian of the Andes region hinting advanced knowledge in this area of the world may well be much older. My curiosity satisfied I decided to leave it at that, but asked his opinion about the engineering feats achieved at Tiwanaku.

In order to cut stones so precisely they had to work day and night. They used Amorite stone to shape the other stones.”

Knowing that some of the stones at Tiwanaku are diorite, I quizzed Dr. Valencia about how they could have been cut with Amorite. Dr. Valencia replied that the ancients knew of volcanic stones which contained diamonds. This is how they were able to carve diorite. The answer was perfectly acceptable but for one major detail: the Tiwanakans would still have needed the right tools and know-how to cut shapes into the stone with such precision.

“People in the Raqchi area still working with them,” Dr. Valencia told me. His evasive answer suggested I wasn’t going to get an answer.

I was interested to know more about Senor Valencia’s study into Cosmo visions. “Shamans enter a Cosmo vision where they go into the Milky Way and can read the future.” They sounded very much like the description I had read in Diane Dunn’s book, ‘Cusco: The Gateway to Inner Wisdom.’

“There are three worlds, “Dr. Valencia said. “The Upper World, Our World and the Under World. When a Shaman enters a Cosmo vision he enters the Upper World.” As an after-thought, Dr. Valencia said, “but there has not been any real Shaman’s like in Inca times for years.”

David enhanced on this and told me most Shamans today are fakes. “Not even the Q’ero is 100% authentic.” That’s not to say all Shamans are pretenders, many do still practice ancient traditions, but because traditions have died out over time, it is considered Shaman’s today are not as powerful as they were in the ancient past.

Dr. Valencia tells us a story about a very powerful type of Shaman known as Alto Misayoq. It is said they are struck by lightning in order to gain special powers. Earlier that day I had seen a picture depicting such a scene in the office of a Shamanic healing centre. Dr Valencia told us that the last genuine Alto Misayoq living in Cusco died 51 years ago when he was still a boy. The man had a scar on his back in the shape of lightning. His predictions were considered to be so creditable that even the Catholic priests invited him in to the church to help people. He was so well respected that when he died the entire city turned out for his funeral.

Stars were important to the Inca

“What important artefacts tell us most about the past,” I asked.

Inca Pottery

Dr. Valencia told me to look for artefacts with stars on them. I had already found many ceramics depicting stars and had come across a lot of evidence that supported the fact ancient cultures had an in-depth knowledge of astronomy.

“And the magnetic stone, the Hatun Taqe Viracocha,” Dr Valencia said. “This is very important.”

Translated from Quechua the name means ‘The Great God Viracocha,’ and represents the upper world of the Inca. In 1613, Pacuakutiq Yanki Salgamaywi, a native chronicler, painted an oval shaped image in a painting to represent Viracocha and the stone has become synonymous with the mythical creator God ever since.

I wanted to know how the Quechua scholar felt about how the traditions of his indigenous culture were dying out. He looked pensive for several moments and a solemn glaze reflected in his dark eyes.

“Traditions are dying out because myths are disappearing. Nobody talks about Viracocha anymore,” he said. “One particular myth tells the story of a war between the Chankas and the Incas. After weeks of vigorous fighting the blood in the streets reached all the way up to the ankles. Viracocha helped the Incas defeat the Chankas. Afterwards he left South America – the way he had arrived; by boat.”

It was an interesting myth, but the chronology didn’t fit. If Viracocha had first appeared during the time Tiwanaku was built – said to be 500AD – how could he helped the Inca defeat the Chankas in 1438?

“Modern culture is destroying indigenous traditions,” Dr. Valencia continues. “Native children want to create some level of class and try to live in white society, but they struggle. They can’t move forward and they can’t go back. They’re just stuck in the middle.”  In Peru, these people are known as Choclo’s.

“Do you think the influence from Europe hindered the progress of South America as a culture and a continent?

“The arrival of the Spaniards had a totally negative effect on South America. They destroyed the culture, traditions and beliefs,” Dr. Valencia said. As I had already heard in Puno, the Spaniards executed anyone who refused to adopt Christianity as their religion. That was especially the case for Inca rebel leader Amaru Tupac who was executed in the main square at Cusco.

To end the interview I asked the burning question, the main reason I was here.

“What can the modern age learn from ancient cultures?”

“There is a lot to learn from tradition. Respect the Gods is the first. Give to Pachamama and the Universe gives back to you. The Incas were much more economical than us because their systems were more efficient.”

Travel Reflections in Brazil

25 07 2012

Seeing reflections in water is like looking at the world in a different way which is what you do naturally when you are a traveller because discovering the cultures of other countries broadens your mind and subsequently the way you think…these shots are moments of inspiration I had recently, but now I am on to the theme of travel reflections I will to be looking for more of them…

The Temple of Fertility, Peru

24 07 2012

A symbol of fertility

On the way to the Gateway of the Gods in Peru, a short ride from Puno is the small village of Chuquito. It is here where you find the ancient Inca Temple of Fertility.

There are no prizes for guessing what the Inca came here to wish for, but what you do find may come as a bit of a surprise; and even raise a few eyebrows. Planted in the ground like giant stone mushrooms are dozens of phallic shaped carvings. Known to the Inca as Falo’s they represent reproduction. Dozens of protrude proudly from the dry soil and dozens more are buried helmet first into the ground.

Said to have been between 1300-1500 BCE, the Temple of Fertility was not only a place people came to pray for children, but also to worship the sun so that it would continue to shine and Pachamama would remain fertile so the crops would grow. These two important aspects were always at the forethought of Inca thinking and they worshipped them obsessively in their traditional ceremonies and rituals. Gold specks found in broken ceramics indicate the site was very important to the Incas.

The fertility ritual involved offerings of roses that were placed in a crevice carved into the stone at the bottom of the Falo. Coco leaves would also be offered and placed into the groove in the head of the stone penis. The woman then sits on the stone above the rose petals at the front of the monument whilst the man sits behind her with his legs straddled around the Falo. Together they pray for children.

Whilst our guide Juan Jose explained the ritual (using me and an attractive Bolivian girl as dummies) local women and children joined us to listen. The children listened intently whilst the women smiled. It struck me that none of them – adult or

Alright Treacle

child – actually knew the true meaning of the ruins just a short walk from where they lived. They had no idea what this temple meant to their ancestors. It got me thinking what children are actually taught in schools here? The young people of indigenous descent that speak Spanish, what do they know about their ancestry?

Perhaps the answer to that question can be found outside the colonial church a short walk from the ruins. Outside the church is a stone monument carved into the shape of a catholic cross. This marks the spot where Indians were flogged to death if they refused to revert to Catholicism.

Chuquito was used as an important central administrative site and military base by the Spanish. After the conquistadores had defeated the Inca they pillaged the land of gold and silver mined by the Indians. It was bought here before being shipped to Europe.

The treatment of the Indigenous peoples across South America was atrocious. Many were raped and murdered, used as slaves and tortured. The survivors were forced to turn their back on centuries old indigenous traditions and religious practices.

The choice was simple. Accept Christianity or die. Indians had to present written evidence they had converted to catholism. Failure to do so meant they would not be allowed every day necessities like corn and salt.

The Arrival of Spanish Conquistadors

Many of the Spanish conquistadors were impoverished men, peasants, artisans or the lower ranks of nobility. They saw South America as an opportunity to acquire wealth and used the Indians as slaves to mine the land. At one point the Spanish banned the Inca from chewing coca leaves, but when the production levels dropped gave it back to them. One Spanish chronicler wrote that the new Peru would not have been built had it not been for coca leaves.

Indians were flogged to death here…

The conquistadors mal-treatment of indigenous peoples in the early years of their conquer is not the only occasion western forces have abused South American natives. A little over a hundred years ago, 30,000 Amazon Indians were enslaved, raped and tortured by British tyrants.

The Peruvian Amazon Company, a British-registered rubber magnet, exploited South American Indians in what became a rubber boom in the Europe and American markets. Under the guise of traders, agents of PAC rounded up dozens of Amazonian tribe´s people and abused them with constant flogging. It was often the case that the end result was murder. In just 12 horrific years many tribes were wiped out.

Between them the British and the Spanish destroyed entire civilisation in the Americas and it´s only because the indigenous people´s went underground that their traditions just about survive today. In my time exploring Bolivia and Peru, together with what I know about the history of South America, I can´t help but feel that the reason for European superpowers to subjugate people here was more to do than land and financial gain, but to peel their knowledge of esoteric wisdom and the human capacity to understand the truth of life. Their reasons for arriving in South America and destroying the cultures of Peru certainly had nothing to do with the fertility of life!

Inka Express: Puno to Cusco

22 07 2012

There are several ways to get from Puno to Cusco in the south of Peru, but the Inka Express is one of the more unique and interesting ways. For 97 (20GBP) soles you not only do you get to admire the stunning Andean mountainscape, but you also visit several archaeological sites and other places of interest in Peru along the way.

I arrived at the cross-continent bus station in Puno, the Terminal Terrestre, early in the morning and showed my bus ticket to a Peruvian lady minding the main entrance into the depot. She told me in rapid-fire Spanish I had to get my ticket validated. I didn’t understand. She spoke slower. I still didn’t understand. She pointed to a kiosk and mimed stamping my ticket.

“Oh,” I said. Why hadn’t they told me that in the office when I bought the ticket?

“It will cost you one sole,” the woman said in Spanish. She didn’t need to mime that!

The bus for the Inka Express is easy to find. Just look for the balloons strapped to the front. Well that and it’s a golden luxury liner that dwarfs the little local buses that ferry people around Peru. It had tourist bus written all over it (metaphorically speaking) and probably costs ten times less with the local service, but they also take ten times longer and are ten times more uncomfortable.

Local Buses in Peru

Local buses in Peru aren’t always the most comfortable and tend to rattle. They will get you to your destination, you just don´t know when – or how, half the time!  At least you know you can rely on the Inka Express. Having said that, as I approached two men were taking photographs of each other with the bus in the background and I wondered whether I had made a tourist v traveller mistake. The same idiots turned out to be argumentative and annoying, but that was in an unfortunate incident in Cusco later on. Yes, the Inka Express is for tourists, but they are so light on passengers it´s not so annoying considering the locations you get to see that you wouldn´t ordinarily.

I nestled into my comfortable reclining chairs and enjoyed the fresh cool of air-conditioning – a welcoming novelty in comparison to the cheap seats I had been travelling in. It didn’t feel like a 7.30am start the touching-plastic bucket seat do. But twelve hours to make the 390 km journey to Cusco still felt like it was going to be one hell of a ride.

We left on time and were soon in the chaotic Puno traffic amidst the usual blaring trumpets of Peruvian car horns. Maria, the hostess handed out blankets. I wrapped it around me and jotted down notes in luxury comfort. I didn’t expect buses in Peru to be this cosy. As we made the windy trip up the mountain side with the winking waters of Lake Titicaca below, I sipped a cup of on-board coca tea – part of the purchase price – and ate cereal bars I had bought from the supermarket the night before. This didn’t feel like hell.

Typically for Peruvian transport, we made an innocuous stop at the side of the road just outside Juliaca to pick up a group of girls that had just arrived in the airport. They clambered on to the coach wearing team hockey gear and carrying sticks and sports bags. They were giggly and loud and disturbed the moment of tranquillity. Fortunately they soon settled.

Juliaca is an odd town, mainly because of the half-built houses. It was clearly a town in mass development, but one where every other establishment is either a garage or a motor accessory shop. It seemed everybody there was a mechanic. They should have been a builder.

Pucara Museum

Entrance to museums is included in the ticket purchase price for the Inka Express and our first tour stop was the sleepy village of Pucara, home to the first ancient culture in Puno which existed from around 300 BCE – allegedly. They were famed for building many temples around Lake Titicaca together with practicing human sacrifices.

Three hundred and ninety metres above sea level we were dwarfed by a looming rock highly visible beyond the quaint colonial church. On the adjacent hill, written in stone on the lush green surface were the words: VIVA PUCARA.

Pucara Museum

Pucara museum sits next to it in a peeling red-painted building that looked nothing out of the ordinary. It could have been anything, certainly not somewhere that looked like it housed dozens of sacred ancient artefacts. Its main features were stone monoliths with carvings that showed representations of sacred animals that were central to the culture of this important pre-Inca civilisation. In Pucara, the frog was very important as it represents water and was a signal for rain.

As with most ancient cultures I had already read about and encountered in the Andes region, the snake also featured predominantly. In Andean cultures the snake represents wisdom; the link to the underworld which in turn represents the inner self. The Puma, representing strength and the material world, is also evident. I also found ceramics of the Felino similar to those I had seen in the museum of the Isla Del Sol and Tiwanaku in Bolivia.

The room in the far corner of the museum is home to the most interesting of artefacts, the statue of Hatun Naqak, a symbol of the decapitator. Cupped in his hand is the head of a child. Human sacrifices played a major part in the lives of the Pucara culture and the head was considered the greatest offering to the gods. Daniel, our guide told us that many indigenous cultures practiced the same rituals; the Nasca and the Moche among them. Human sacrifices ended with the Aztecs in Mexico. All this we have still yet to see.

On the wall framed behind glass was a description of the Sala ritual – rite of fertility. Early man was motivated to make sacrifices to the gods; and they were clearly not afraid to kill babies as an offering in return for the fertility of the land. Their desperation was driven in part by fear and in part by hope, but they always sought credence from the gods – even if that meant sacrificing infant children.

Stunning Scenery in Peru

Back on the road we passed vast open fields sprawling at the feet of green hills huddled together like sleeping giants. Cattle grazed on the tufts of grass. Lone shepherds stood watching over their flock; most of them Aymara women. We passed through a small village where a young couple were having their wedding photographs taken. They only had six guests. Perhaps the small congregation was all they can afford.

Jagged mountain peaks reached into grey clouds and appeared to be on fire. Their bulky mounds were streaked with snow that looked like the hide of a Holstein cow. It was there that we reached the highest point of our journey, a place they called La Raya. The thin air reminded me of La Paz.

Likewise, the colourful women sitting by their stalls selling thick woollen clothing and Llama skin rugs. We were wrapped by the hills and had ten minutes to stretch our legs and take pictures of the snow-tipped peaks and rolling hills that cast a shadow against the surface of a small lake.

Around 12.15 we arrived in Sicuani for lunch in Buffet Andino, a quaint restaurant built from bamboo. Ambient pan-pipe music radiated from speakers nestled in an open upstairs window. The all-you-can-eat buffet has a combination of chicken spaghetti, beef and onion stew, roast chicken with potatoes, boiled rice and seasoned vegetables. Hot drinks are included in the price of the meal though over-priced cold drinks were extra. For dessert I had custard trifle and jelly. It was delicious but feeling my beer-bloated belly I was thinking I should have had a slice of juicy watermelon.

A trip to Raqchi

The highlight of the Inka Express tour is Raqchi, a tiny community a short drive from Cusco. It has approximately 2000 inhabitants though it appears much smaller. If you want to spend time here, tour operators in Cusco organise two day trips for around US$140 (84GBP).

It’s in Raqchi that you find the remains of the Viracocha Temple – the Viracocha ancient Andean cultures regarded as the creator God. According to legend the temple came to be built after Viracocha arrived in the region. The inhabitants were initially afraid of him because of his appearance and treated him like an enemy, throwing stones and sling shots.

To defend himself, Viracocha set the fields on fire. Even today, Raqhci means, place of the scorched earth. The Aymara villagers were so afraid of what this stranger had done they considered him a God and welcomed him into their community. In return Viracocha passed on his worldly knowledge and to show their gratitude and respect, the temple was built in his honour.

The Raqchi temple would have looked impressive in its time. Measuring 302 feet by 84 feet it boasted the largest single roof in the entire Inca Empire until the Spanish arrived and scrupulously knocked it through. To support the roof twenty-two pillars were erected and the windows were spiritually cut into the quarter shape of the Andean Cross – or as our guide described it, “The Inca Cross.” Erm, wrong! The concept of the Andean cross had been around long before the Inca appeared on the scene!

The Virococha Temple near Cusco

Mainstream archaeologists date the Virococha Temple to the 15th century AD and describe the settlement as a “habitual dwelling.” Given there is evidence of ruined houses and storehouses the latter is a given, but according to legend Virococha was not 10,000 years old: Remember that Virococha is associated with Tiwanaku in northern Bolivia which mainstream archaeologists say was built in 500AD.

Unsurprisingly there is little information about Virococha Temple. To be fair only eleven columns still exist after the invaded Spanish demolished it. But perhaps there is no coincidence that when the temple was built this region was inhabited by the Aymara peoples who were descendants of the Tiwanakans, a culture with the ability to produce outstanding feats of engineering using advanced technology – supposedly long before man was supposed to have possessed the tools and the skills to achieve such precision.

The more I learn about ancient cultures in this part of the world, the bigger the mystery about the Tiwanakans becomes. Yet other than the site in northern Bolivia, there are no other settlements attributed to this fascinating culture; only legacies of their knowledge we are told was adopted by the Inca and mingled with the architectural knowledge of other cultures.

I ask the question again; what is it about the Tiwanakans the powers that be want to hide? Perhaps we will never know, although are next stop perhaps gives us at least some insight!

Museo Wiracocha in Andahuaylillas

The last stop of the Inka Express tour is the colonial church and Museo Wiracocha in Andahuaylillas. The church is the typical garish colonial monstrosity plastered in gold and silver. But the museum, although very modest, has several fascinating artefacts.

In some Andean civilisations, such as the Nasca culture, and before them the Paracas tribes, would bind the heads of their infants, believing it would elongate the cranium and make them more intelligent. In the Wirococha museum there are some excellent examples of this obscure practice together with an explanation why.

This is what museums scholars have to say:

“Cranial deformations in the Inca Empire were performed with the goal of developing greater consciousness. By putting pressure on the cranium, the Inca were able to double the volume of the cerebral mass. A few days after birth, the head of the newborn would be placed into a splint where it would remain until the child reached nine or ten years of age, the stage at which the number of neurons in a child’s brain increases most rapidly. It is during this time that they need to learn as much as possible, above all else, language and exact sciences.”

Cranial Deformation in Ancient Andean Cultures

Cranial deformation was in existence long before the Inca experimented with the effects of elongated skulls; and what´s more can be found all over the world. The earliest recorded evidence of skull malformation dates back to 45,000 BCE in Neanderthal skulls found in a cave in Shanidar, Iraq. It was also a practice undertaken in Mayan and Egyptian cultures and represented a higher status or increased intelligence.

The Old World of the Huns are also known for a similar practice, as were the East Germanic tribes in late antiquity around 300-600 AD. In the island archipelago of Vanuatu and the tribes of south-western Malakulan in the South Pacific, the elders are known to have continued this ancient tradition into current times. Like the ancient cultures before them, the operation is to portray superior intelligence of a person or indicate a higher status in society. In all cultures, it was believed that stretching the skull brings people closer to the spirit world.

Skeletons in the Wirococha Museum also portray a recurring theme that is found throughout the ancient world. It is known that the Inca and other Andean cultures before them would swathe their dead in textiles, an exact replica of Egyotian mummies. The only difference is the Andean culture used to place their dead in the foetal position so the soul was ready for rebirth.

Ancient Spirals

Another interesting aspect about the Wirococha museum was the explanation of spirals – a representation I had seen repeated throughout much of the artwork on ancient ceramics. A simple printed hand-out on the wall explained that the spiral represented:

  1. The origins of life
  2. Evolution
  3. Reaction
  4. Expansion
  5. The Milky Way

It was an unapparent discovery at the time, but one I would come to learn far more about much later in my research – and one that potentially has a far-reaching understanding of ancient believe and man´s origins.

I left the museum with much to muse about and made the final leg of our journey. We were greeted in Cusco with a torrential downpour, but fortunately taxis were waiting outside the offices of Inca Express where the bus terminates. The short journey to the city centre of Cusco is around 3 soles (60p) and all in all, what I thought might be a gruelling and annoying journey was an enjoyable trip made easy.

Travel Photos: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

22 07 2012

Surrounded by mountainscapes and volcanoes on all sides, Lake Atitlan offers visitors some of the most stunning scenery in South America. There are no taxis, just boats and tuk-tuks…

The Gateway of the Gods: Amaru Muru, Peru

21 07 2012

A portal to another dimension..?

“Many people have gone missing in this area,” my guide, Juan Jose tells me. “Children, groups of musicians; all just disappeared.”

We are on the edge of a field in the middle of nowhere, 12,800 feet above sea level in the Andes mountains and 35Km from Puno in the south of Peru. Looming over us is Hayu Marca, a surreal rock formation made of red-brown sandstone with deep rivets melted away by volcanic lava. Even more strange is a mysterious doorway carved into the side of a rock. Locally, this site is known as Amaru Muru; according to legend this is “The Gateway of the Gods.”

Popular myth tells the story of the Inca Priest Amaru Muru fleeing from his temple with the sacred ‘Golden Solar Disc’ which connects man with the cosmic energies of Love. The priest gave the disc to the Shamans who watched over the portal in a remote Aymara region near Lake Titicaca. Legend says the Shaman showed Amara Muru how to enter through the doorway into another dimension. He was never seen again.

The doorway was only discovered as a tourist attraction in 1996, although the natives have known about the location and what it represents for centuries. Strange beings in unusual clothing have been reported passing through the doorway and disappearing towards the lake.

Juan Jose is short and tanned with jet black hair. He wears jeans, a blue-striped shirt and shades. He kneels in the doorway facing the wall, his palms pressed against the side of the rock.

“At noon the gateway opens,” he tells me. “If you enter you never come back to this life.” It is one O’clock and we’ve missed our chance to escape to another dimension by a lunch hour.

Local Shaman’s still visit the site to perform ceremonies for tourists making offerings of coca leaves, corn and pieces of grain to Mother Earth which they call Pachamama. The remnant of a fire where a Shaman has performed a ‘despacho’ is evident between the rocks in front of the portal.

“At night the energy is strongest,” Juan Jose tells me. “People are afraid to come here after dark.”

An elderly man who lives in the Aymara village ten minutes walk away watches us with interest – but keeps his distance leaning on the rock near the entrance.

It’s my turn to kneel in the crevice and I press my head against the small blackened groove in the wall. This is where the priest, Amaru Muru supposedly placed the sun disc to unlock the portal. With my arms outstretched I place my palms against the rock either side of the doorway. As I meditate I feel an electromagnetic pulse emanate from the rock. The deeper my thoughts the stronger the vibrations pulse through the palm of my hands.

Why did ancestors of the Inca carve a doorway into a rock face..?

Years ago in Amsterdam, I attended a workshop and was asked to perform an exercise with a girl I had just met. We were instructed to look into one another’s eyes for about a minute. Then we were asked to close our eyes and go deep into ourselves to a place we felt safe. After another minute had passed we were asked to repeat the exercise. Look into one another’s eyes then withdraw into ourselves to a place we feel safe.

We were then asked to hold out our palms, up towards one another, but without touching. When we did an electric pulse vibrated in our fingers. The experiment was to identify how the electro-magnetic energy we have in our bodies can be used to help us to connect – or be repelled – to others. This is how the vibrations coming from the rock at Amaru Muru feel, only the ancients used this power we have to connect with the Universe.

Some people claim to have had strange experiences in the portal; visions of stars, columns of fire, the sound of strange music. Others say they saw tunnels and crystals. Outlandish and beautiful images are quite common in meditation and everyone has their own experience. This is what I believe happens at Amaru Muru, but because of the height in electromagnetic energy which stems from underlying ley lines and through the rock, meditation is much more forceful.

A spiritual healer from America claims to have passed through the portal at Amaru Muru and was stuck on the other side for some time before he could find his way back. An account of his claim is posted on the internet by a third party. If it is true he is the only known person to have passed through the gate and returned. I emailed and asked if I could interview about his experience. That was 6 months ago. I haven´t had a response.

I kneel and meditate in the doorway. A lightness washes over me. Maybe this is the point I transcend into another world. Nothing more happened. I concentrate harder, but still nothing. A few spectacular images of flying through space and into planets, but nothing unusual. It seems I am not physically destined for other worlds yet and they will remain purely in my imagination. My rightful place is here on Earth.

Amaru Muru – nothing on earth quite like it!

Perched on the rock above me an Andean Pakir calls to a mate. Somewhere in the distance comes a muffled whistle. The world around me is still a powerful presence.

We make our way back to the car. Along the dirt road we pass Aymara villagers returning to from a days work by the roadside. They carry spades and picks. “Buenas Tardis,” we say to exchange pleasantries. They are cheerful and polite.

Four women and a man stop us and speak in Spanish to Juan Jose. “They want to know if you want your photograph taken with them.” How could I refuse – even though it cost me five soles for the pleasure.

The Aymara women tell us they have been filling in the trenches to bridge a path on to the main road. It was the rainy season and the trenches had filled with water and blocked their path out of the village. To fill it they had used sand and gravel. Their natural surroundings were suitable to ensure they had not been stranded.

The encounter reminded me how indigenous cultures rely on nature to solve their problems. It struck me how limited we are in the west because we throw money at tradesman to fix our problems for us or the council repair whatever needs fixing with the street – eventually.

Whilst we talk to the women, a man leading donkeys carrying bundles of mustard flowers comes towards us from the opposite direction. As they pass one of the donkeys collides with me and bumps me off the road. Perhaps that was my penance for trying to escape to another world.

The Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

20 07 2012

The Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the sacred island of the Inca and sits in Lake Titicaca near the border of Peru and Bolivia. You can reach it from Puno in Peru, but I chose to stay in Copacabana as I was coming from the Bolivian capital of La Paz and by all accounts the views of Lake Titicaca are better from this side.

At 38,000 metres above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world which makes the Isla del Sol the highest island in the world that can be reached. Legend has it that the first Inca King, Manco Capac was born on the Island. Subsequently the Isla del Sol was regarded as the most sacred of places for the Inca.

To get to Isla Del Sol from La Paz catch a bus from the cemetery (Cemeterio). You will hear people shouting “Copacanana, Copacabana” in rapid, barely audible Spanish. The nominal fare of 15BOB (£1.20) is a bargain considering the journey is almost 4 hours. The downside is you are designated a seat and have to sit next to whoever bought the ticket before or after you.

Buses in Bolivia – smelly

Unfortunately I was seated next to a Bolivian boy who had the same dirty smell of poverty I had noticed on my first day in La Paz. But then again my hostel didn´t have hot running water thus didn´t really wash so I know how the poor buggers feel. I didn´t exactly smell like morning coffee myself!

In front of us was a man in his 40’s – old enough to know better – playing pop music through his mobile phone. If the music wasn’t horrendous enough by itself, the bassless tinny tones emitted from poor quality speakers made it even worse. If I hear “Lady in Red” one more time I will have to rip my ears off!

The journey to Lake Titicaca is non-descript; rundown neighbourhoods where women in traditional dress sell their Alpaca woollies and home-made soups by the side of dusty roads. People (mostly men in western clothes) mill about the streets without seeming to be doing anything other than loiter. The scene was a familiar sight in Bolivia.

En route partially built houses show no signs of completion. There are no builders or building equipment. Perhaps work had stopped due to the rainy season, though most just looked abandoned. It crossed my mind that the perspective owners might have run out of funds. Either way, I get the sense that construction work in general is pretty slow in Bolivia. I’m not holding my breath that Tiwanaku will be restored any time soon.

The Legends of Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is a sacred region for the ancient tribes. Many of the Aymara still inhabit the region. Indigenous myths say the sun god Viracocha rose from the depths of the Lake on foam – just as Aphrodite did in Greek mythology. It struck me that two myths from two different parts of the world shared the same image.

Breathing through my mouth in an attempt to quell the sickening whiff, I look out the window to see Titicaca shimmering beside us. She looks magical. The immediate change in scenery is like traversing into another world.

The Bay at Lake Titicaca

Spanning 118 miles, the sprawling lake feeds from 37 rivers than run down the Andes Mountains. One of the mouths is San Pedro, a tiny village on the shores of the lake at a point known as the Tiquina Straits.

We were ordered off the bus, but because I didn´t speak Spanish I didn´t know why. Still I was relieved to get some fresh air and escape the nasal insult and audio torture. After a lot o finger pointing it became apparent that the bus would cross the lake on a barge whilst the rest of us jumped into a small boat.

And it was small. About 25 of us squeezed into a tiny space where there was barley any room to put my feet let alone get two full cheeks on the seat. I tried to make myself comfortable, but it was impossible wedged in between two large Bolivian women in life jackets. I didn´t put my jacket on otherwise I wouldn´t have been able to sit down at all. Despite some slight buttock discomfort, the ride was peaceful, the air was fresh and the views simply stunning.

The coach is pulled over by a very slow moving tug boat, but the time delay is an ideal opportunity to grab a drink and nip to the toilet. I wander into the local market where people are selling some kind of food, none of which I recognise. I bought something that looked vaguely edible. Pastry. It was offered to me with a limp looking corn-on-the-cob and two boiled potatoes that looked like they´d been shit out of a camel. I took the two meat and veg pasties, which were pretty tasty, and fed the rest to waif a dog. He turned his nose up at it as well! Then it back to the bus for another hour of ear and nose assault.

Copacabana has the feel of a seaside resort. Tacky! The two main streets are geared for tourism, lined with restaurants, hotels, and shops selling garments woven from Llama and Alpaca wool. In the main Plaza is an extraordinarily big church considering the small size of the town.

Like all the colonial churches I have seen, Copacabana’s is over-decorated with silver and gold that was pillaged from the land of the indigenous peoples by the Spanish. Bizarre carvings of religious figures leave you with the same uneasy feel you get watching a horror movie. Everything about it is over-the-top and ugly.

Copacabana Church – dripping in pillaged gold!

Attached to the side of the church is a long, narrow room. This is known as the Capella de las Velas – Place of Candles. People come here to melt wax and make wishes.

On the wall were several sculptures moulded from candle wax. They represented wishes – cars, houses and dollar signs. One person had sculptured a heart. For me, the scene summed up modern day values and the fact that materialism outnumbers the desire to love and be loved. Why do we hate each other so much? Welcome to the world we live in.

Tour Operators in Copacabana

There are plenty of tour operators in Copacabana. Buying a ticket to Isla del Sol is simple and costs about £2. The boat leaves from the harbour at 8.30am or 1.30pm and is usually packed to the rafters, top and bottom. I’d been told that on a good day a seat on the roof is great for the views and fresh air. In rainy season though it’s best not to chance the outdoors, instead find shelter underneath.

The morning sky was ambiguous; a chill clung to the air. I found a downstairs pew. On the boat I met Julian, an Englishman who has been living in Peru and Bolivia for the last five years undergoing intensive Shamanic training. He told me each part of the Island represents a different chakra – puma, eagle, hummingbird, snake and condor. Julian says he feels a dragon there as well.

“Which parts of the island represent which animal?” I ask.

“They keep moving around,” he tells me, “but the north tip of the island is most definitely Puma.”

“How do you know the difference between the energies?”

“It’s something you learn over time. Each animal represents a different chakra. That’s how you know. San Pedro helps with that.”

His reference to San Pedro was of the hallucogenic plant, a masculine form of the better known ayahuasaca. Julian explained that the “medicine” gives you an outward experience whereas ayahuasaca is more inward. They are both used by Shamans to connect with nature and heal past wounds.

Stunning views from the Isla del Sol

Lake Titicaca is mysterious. Perhaps it was my imagination recalling the strange myths and legends the lake is associated with, but the water looked to be shape-shifting. On one side of the boat the surface had a chrome-smooth shine, yet on the other side the colour was the thick black of an oil spill.

As we approached the island, black-grey clouds hung ominously over the hills like fire smoke and I feared the day might be ambushed by a terrific downpour. A solitary shack sits at the bottom of a grass covered hill shaped like a camel’s hump. As we round the corner it is evident this is a remote corner of the island.

Further along the coastline five more bungalows peak from the hillside. There are no paths. The only place for the residents to go is into the water. I wonder who would choose to build a house on cragged rocks beneath steep, harsh hills. Who would want to live here? As we navigated the island more houses appeared. It seems plenty of people want to live here – in fact about 3000 of them.

The Isla del Sol is not very big. You can hike it north to south in about 3 hours. This route is downhill and easier though the terrain is still rugged and tiring; but the views are outstanding.

Most of the major tourist attractions are on the north side of the island with a few lesser important Inca ruins down to the south. To get into the archaeological sites buy a ticket from the museum for 10BOB (£1).

Inca Sacrifices

Making the steep climb along the donkey trails and Inca paths, donkey’s grazed quietly alongside scrawny sheep. A horned bull lazily watched over them from a grassy knoll above. A trickle and gush of water lingered on the breeze, accompanied by the chorus of birdsong.

The Inca´s sacrificial slab

On the northern tip of the island in Challapampa, you find the sacred rock which is shaped like a Puma. Opposite is the ceremonial table – which is really a polite way of saying, sacrificial slab.

It is believed Inca men inhabited the Isla del Sol whilst female slaves were held on the Isla del Luna, a two hour boat ride away. The most attractive and intelligent of these women were used for child birth. The others were sacrificed to the gods.

A short walk from the Sacred Rock is the Chinkana, a labyrinth of rooms looking out to the lake. In the side of the walls were the same niches I had seen in the ruins at El Fuerte in Bolivia and their reoccurrence was beginning to make me think they held some kind of significant importance. I would later learn the coves is where the Inca stored their dead relatives between death and burial.

As midday bedded in, the sun that gave the island its name banished the cold and dispelled all threats of rain. Somewhere within ear-shot a lone sheep bleated; perhaps separated from the herd or merely wanting attention. Either way, her call went unanswered. Below the steep cliffs the emerald waters of Titicaca sparkled.

I began the trek to the south side of the island and looked out across the lake to find the triangle of mountains that jut out from the water. The area is said to be a central energy vortex of the cosmos, and therefore the Gods.

Another rumour about the Isla del Sol is a tunnel that leads all the way to Cusco. It’s supposedly submerged underwater and no longer visible. In the 1960’s French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau explored the Lake in search of sub-aquatic temples but only found ancient pottery.

The Secrets of Lake Atitlan

However, in 2000 the Atahuallpa expedition lead by Italian scientists claimed to have discovered a road and a wall that lead to a temple. They claimed the submerged site dates back around 1500 years and has been attributed to the Tiwanakans who dominated the region long before the Inca.

Is there a lost city under Lake Titicaca?

However, there is some suspicion about the authenticity of the Atahuallpa expedition. Akakor, the company conducting the explorations have failed to provide sufficient video footage of their findings on their website, nor have they produced a peer-reviewed report.

Bolivian archaeologist Carlos Ponce is one of the researchers that is sceptical about Akakor’s claims. He finds it hard to believe that 12 previous expeditions failed to identify the road and a 2300 foot wall, nor does he believe a short expedition of 20-days would have produced such results.

In addition to the road, wall and temple, Akakor also claimed to have discovered the fabled cave where it is believed the Inca’s practiced child sacrifices. The Italians also claim bones of children were recovered – yet have not produced any physical or documented evidence to support their claims.

Akakor are also excavating Tiwanaku. I have my doubts we will learn anything convincing about the enigmas it represents. Nor does it surprise me that the reconstruction works have been delayed. I was beginning to ask myself what it is about the Tiwanakan civilisation scientists don’t want us to know? Bolivia had certainly left an impression on me.