Back side of the Portal (Gateway) of the Sun. This monolithic doorway is located on the Kalasasaya mound, a low platform with walls of alternating tall megaliths and masonry infill.


The mound on the far right horizon is the Akapana mound, Tiwanaku's main platform mound.


Detail of the carving above the doorway in the Portal of the Sun. The central figure is a Staff Bearer. The staffs and the sun-burst rays emanating from the head terminate in heads and circles.


The figures flanking the central image repeat the same icon in side view. The iconography had precedents on the Peruvian coast and is pan-Andean.


The megalithic entrance to the Kalasasaya mound is here seen from the Sunken Courtyard viewing west. The Kalasasaya stairway is a well-worn megalithic construct, with a single block of carved sandstone composing several steps.


The statue in the center of the Kalasasaya doorway is depicted below. Like the Kalasasaya 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 stelae are placed in the center of the 30 m square courtyard.


The entrance side of the Portal of the Sun atop the Kalasasaya mound. The entire upper panel is intricately carved with a repeating pattern of the images seen in the view above. The monolith has broken and was found partially downfallen in modern times. It has been restored to its original position. The fissure is visible above the right corner of the doorway.


Tiwanaku fell from prominence after Lake Titicaca's water level lowered and the shoreline receded from the city. Today the waters are many miles away.


The Sunken Courtyard's style and some details are represented by this archaeological park in La Paz, the capitol of Bolivia. Many of the statues found at Tiwanaku were relocated here, a few of which are seen in this view.


La Paz features several excellent museums which display some of the best ceramics of the Tiwanaku Culture and interpret Andean prehistory. A visit to Tiwanaku is an easy day trip from La Paz. The ruin is on the main highway from La Paz to Puno, Perú.


This megalithic doorway is all that remains of the walls of a building on a small mound near the Kalasasaya.


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.






This is one of two large anthropomorphic figures still standing on the Kalasasaya 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 influence is notable in the ceramic arts of a large portion of the Andes.


This puma vase is a Classic Tiwanaku Period artwork.