Festival Locales New and Ancient
Tiahuanaco Travel Blog› entry 15 of 22 › view all entries
From La Paz, we were to see one last pre-Columbian site, the ruins at Tiahuanaco. But first, it was a fiesta day. We had the good fortune to be in Bolivia on 15 August, the day of Virgen de Urqupiña festival. This fiesta is a major event in the Bolivian calendar and represents a meeting of Catholic and indigenous cultures. There is a reglious procession in which the image of the Virgin is carried and displayed. Traditional beliefs play into it too, and there is a colorful display by participants in costumes and masks and dancers. Participants were happy to display their costumes for visitors. The colors and sights here were like something out of National Geographic.
From the festival, we traveled to the Tiahuanco site, still an important ceremonial center for the indigenous peoples. Built by the Aymara people, Tiahuanaco, much like Pachacamac, represents another culture older than the Incas that flourished from about 700 to 1200 AD. Notable at the site were the sandstone megaliths, El Fraile (The Priest) statue, Gateway of the Sun, and reconstructed walls of the Kalasasaya temple. Also like Pachacamac, much work remained to be done in excavating and interpreting the site.