The Temple of the Sun - Coricancha (Inca Ruins)
Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire, was built out of stone and adorned
with gold. The Coricancha is a fine example of how the the fusion of Inca style
and Colonial styles of architecture evolved into the Cusco of today (according to Inca Ruins). Originally
the site was a ceremonial center featuring a number of stone rectangular
buildings laid out as to be the convergence of ley lines connected to numerous
"huacas" or power spots.
On the Summer Solstice sun light from the opening in one of the rooms
illuminates a specific niche in which sits the Inca chief. The rooms were
adorned with elaborate gold ceremonial objects including a huge gold sun disk
which was considered sacred. After the Spanish Conquest much of the structure
was torn down and reassembled as the Church of Santa Domingo. A considerable
amount of the original Inca structure was left intact and integrated into the
Tiahuanaco, near the shores of Lake Titicaca, was the
center of a powerful, self-sustaining empire in the southern Central Andes. The
roots of the Tiahuanaco capital can be found in the early village underlying the
1.5-square-mile civic-ceremonial core. The city was settled by 400 B. C. on the
Tiwanaku River, which empties into Lake Titicaca 9.3 miles to the north. The
small farming village evolved into a regal city of multi-terraced platform
pyramids, courts and urban areas, covering a total 2.31 square miles.
The megalithic entrance to the Kalasaya mound is here seen from the Sunken
Courtyard viewing west. The Kalasaya stairway is a well-worn megalith, a single
block of carved sandstone. The statue in the center of the Kalasaya doorway is
depicted below. Like the Kalasaya mound, the Sunken Courtyard is walled by
standing stones and masonry infill. In this case the stones are smaller and
sculptured heads are inset in the walls. Several stele are placed in the center
of the 30 m square courtyard.
Little is known of the 30,000 to 60,000 urban dwellers or of the city's
crafts or administrative functions. Little is known about the storage system
that was required for the bounty of surplus foods from the agricultural fields,
the vast llama herds on the Poona, and the abundant fish caught in the lake. The
core of this imperial capital was surrounded by a moat that restricted access to
the temples and areas frequented by royalty.
The largest terraced pyramid of the city, the Akapana, was once believed to
be a modified hill, and has proven to be a massive human construction with a
base 656 feet square and a height of 55.8 feet. Its base is formed of
beautifully cut and joined facing stone blocks. Within the cut- stone retaining
walls are six T- shaped terraces with vertical stone pillars, an architectural
technique that is also used in most of the other Tiahuanaco monuments. On the
summit of the Akapana, reached by wide staircases, there was a sunken court with
an area 164 feet square serviced by a subterranean drainage system.
Associated with the Akapana are four temples: the Semi-subterranean, the
Kalasasaya, the Putuni, and the Kheri Kala. The first of these, the
Semi-subterranean Temple, was 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. Named for archaeologist Wendell C. Bennett who conducted the
first archaeological research at Tiahuanaco in the 1930's, the Bennett Stela
represents a human figure wearing elaborate clothes and a crown. The ancient
Tiahuanaco heartland is estimated to have been about 365,000, of whom 115,000
lived in the capital and satellite cities, with the remaining 250,000 engaged in
farming, herding, and fishing.
This megatlithic doorway is all that remains of the walls of a building on a
small mound near the Kalasaya. Much of the readily accessible masonry at the
ruin was used to construct the Catholic church in the village. A nearby railroad
bridge also has Tiwanaku stone.
Adjacent to the sunken court, residences of the elite were revealed, while
under the patio the remains of a number of seated individuals, believed to have
been priests, faced a man with a ceramic vessel that displayed a puma-an animal
sacred to the Tiwanaku. Ritual offerings of llamas and ceramics, as well as
high-status goods made of copper, silver and obsidian were also encountered in
this elite residential area. The cut-stone building foundations supported walls
of adobe brick, which have been eroded away by the yearly torrential rains over
Tiahuanaco society was self-sustaining, for its agricultural, herding, and
fishing resource base was more than sufficient to support the complex state
administrative apparatus and the population under its control.
The Tiwanaku Empire collapsed between 1000 and 1100 A. D. It was a
magnificent royal city that was calculated to inspire awe in the commoners. The
walls of the temples and the stone monolithic statues and gateways are now shorn
of their gold, textiles, and painted surfaces, which for centuries had shimmered
from afar in the bright sunlight.
This is one of two large anthropomorphic figures still standing on the
Kalasaya mound. This one faces the entrance and is placed on the central axis.
The andesite stone used at the ruins was transported from 100 kilometers
distance. The sandstone was quarried about 10 miles from the site.
Tiwanaku is found at an altitude of 12,500 feet.
This could be the oldest city in the world, thought by some to be built by an
extraterrestrial race who created the Nazca Lines as well.
Traditionally it is thought to have been built by the predecessors of the Inca Civilization over 2,000
Around the turn of the century Bolivian scholar Arthur Broznansky began a 50
year study of the ruins of Tiwanaku. Using the science of Astronomy he concluded
that the city was constructed more than 17,000 years ago long before any
civilization was supposed to have existed. He called this city the 'Cradle of
Steede felt that the ancients constructed the site with astronomical
alignments in mind called Celestial Observatory.
As the sun rises each day it moves along the horizon and it rises in a