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Tiwanaku was possibly the capital city of a civilization that emerged in the "Pampa Koani" valley, south of Lake Titicaca, in present Bolivia. The city is estimated to have been in existence already at around 500 BC and have functioned for some 1,500 years up to approximately 1250 AD, when it was abandoned. Its monumental remains testify to the cultural and political significance of this civilization, which is distinct from any of the other pre-Hispanic empires of the Americas.
The settlers of this city perfected the technology for carving and polishing different stone materials for the construction, which, together with profound architectural technology, enriched these monumental spaces.
The first mention of the citadel of Tiwanaku is in 1549, when the Spaniard Cieza de Leon arrived in the area. Certain constructions evidence advanced building methods, such as the remains of the pyramid of Acapana, whose terraces were nearly 50ft wide and 500ft long on each side.
The maximum expression of this culture is reflected in the spatially organized civic-ceremonial center oriented toward the cardinal points, constructed with impressive ashlars stones carved accurately and equipped with a complex system of underground drainage that was controlling the flow of rain waters.
Tiwanaku is located near the southern shores of Lake Titicaca on the Altiplano, at an altitude of 12,631 ft. in the Province of Ingavi, Department of La Paz. The modern town has overlaid most of the ancient city, which was largely built from adobe. However, the monumental stone buildings of the ceremonial center survive in the protected archaeological zones.