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Why travel to Puma Punku in Bolivia

Updated on June 23, 2014
Jim Traveler profile image

Jim is a traveler, a blogger, a free journalist. A man who loves to travel, to write about the places he loves, about the people he met.

What can you see at Puma Punku

Puma Punku is part of Tiahuanaku complex and it lies between La Paz and The Lake Titikaka. We are talking about huge, precise cut blocks of stone, brought to Puma Punku on the Altiplano in Bolivia hundred or maybe thousands of years ago. Some scientists believe that the incredible ruins of Puma Punku in Bolivia are even 17.000 years old. No theory is officialy accepted about what theese ruins are, how were they got there and what the purpose of this mysterious construction was. The technology used by our ancestors to built such a huge complex(see photo) is still a mystery.

One block of stone here in Puma Punku was estimated to be 440 tons weight. The others laying about are even 150 tons. All of them are masterpieces from any modern builder's point of view. Power machines were allowed to anyone at about 500 B.C. when this complex was built. If it is 500 B.C. Other scholars consider 2000 B.C. more realistic. On the other hand, some scholars believe the enormous structure of Puma Punku was the victim of a terrible earthquake or a flood humanity had never seen before. But nobody knows for sure when this disaster took place. Especially when we think that in 1945, an archeologist, Arthur Posnansky proposed that this megalithic structure was buit in 17.000 B.C. He proposed this after taking into account the position of the stars in that very moment and the position of the temple or what unknown people had built at Puma Punku.

The complex of Puma Punku contains blocks of stone of hundred tons.
The complex of Puma Punku contains blocks of stone of hundred tons. | Source

History of Puma Punku

The history of Puma Punku begins in 1945. It was the moment when scholars truly recorded Puma Punku as a mystery. And it was after Arthur Posnansky said that the history of Puma Punku does not belong, actually, to our official civilization. After searching for evidences for more than 30 years, the archeologist said that Puma Punku and its amazing past goes back to more than 17.000 years ago.
And more than that, he said the entire area was in fact a harbour for the Titikaka Lake, while Puma Punku was a promontory on the island Tiahuanaku belonged to or was its center and capital. Some scholars say that the area was in fact an island since the Lake Titikaka was 30 meters deeper than it is today. They found in the ground near Puma Punku skeletons of fish and also of human beings. Their conclusion was, according to Arthur Posnasky that a tsunami coming from the Lake Titikaka and a devastating earthquake destroyed what Puma Punku and its history were.

Yet, the official history of Puma Punku and Tiahuanaku begins in 1549 when the Spanish conquistadors and their leader, Pedro Cieza de Leon discovered the place. They were looking for gold. Legends say they found out that the place was built by gods in one night and not by Inca. In modern times, scholars believe that the area was abandoned at about 1000 A.D. It is also believed that Puma Punku is older than Tiahuanaku which was built as a pilgrimage gate to "The Door of the Puma"(Puma Punku, about 300 m nearby), the place where gods came on Earth for the first time. The Bolivian Gouvernment started excavations in 1960(see photo).
Archeologists are still working to discover more and more of what seems to have been a gigantic temple here, at Puma Punku, in Bolivia.

Scholars believe they are about to find the ruins of the greatest temple in South America.
Scholars believe they are about to find the ruins of the greatest temple in South America. | Source
Puma Punku was built by identical blocks of stone which are believed to have formed a gigantic puzzle.
Puma Punku was built by identical blocks of stone which are believed to have formed a gigantic puzzle. | Source

Who built this strange structure?

Inca people say gods built Puma Punku in one night and not them, nor their ancestors. To build in one night a lot of blocks of stone like those inPuma Punku is like building an amazing puzzle. Or, perhaps, this is the riddle about the place.
Lots of identical structures made of diorite, which cannot be cut by any ancient tools! The hardness of diorite is 8 of 10 and can be cut only by diamond. The inhabitants are talking about a god called Viracocha. The name of this god believed to havebuilt Puma Punku in Bolivia in one night means sea foam. Other scholars believe that he is, in fact, the one who came from a vulcano as his name suggests. Yet, we are talking about incredible, huge structures built as though a mobile modern factory was there. The nearby Tiahuanaku could have been reconstructed. Puma Punku has not got that chance simply because we found here structures that cannot be moved for they are too heavy. Our technology doesn't allow this. So, who could have built this place in one night?
Recently we found out that a Chinese company can build houses in only 2 hours. They are using 3D printers. This might be an explanation which can change history. Might this be the explanation? But if so, who had thousands of years ago the technology to make such things?

Nowadays technology to build identical blocks

Puma Punku

Is Bolivia safe for tourists?

Looking back in time Bolivia was not safe at all to travel to until 1990, due to the poverty of the majority of population and to the drugs war. In fact, that was the time when the coca cultivation was moved by cartels to Colombia. Bolivia was not safe to travel to because of political war, too many coup d'etat and too many military interventions in the state issues. President Evo Morales, elected in 2008 decided it was time for the drugs, tin and silver mining oligarchies to stop. He even bought Russian helicopters in order to fight against theese crime structures.
And, although, Evo Morales policy was to bring back the '50 revolutionary ideeas by a land reform and the nationalization of industry and natural resources, he also invited the Indian population, the real owner of Bolivia to government structures. All theese made Bolivia a safe place to travel to now. In 2007, the opposition tried to get Morales down from office by a referendum. They did not succeed and the president said again : ,,They can drag me from the palace. They can kill me. Mission accomplished for the re-funding of the new united Bolivia"(Skidmore&Smith - Modern Latin America). According to the US Departament of State, most major cities in Bolivia have medium threat ratings for crime. Only Santa Cruz is high. Yet, the crime rate in Bolivia is the lowest in South America and comparable to cities in the United States.

Police - 110 or for tourists - 800-10-8687.

Watch out! The altitude sickness is the first thing you should care about. So, first travel tip to Bolivia is get used to altitude.
Do not go until you are ready and it takes about 2 days to get used to altitude. La Paz is at about 3650 m above sea level. You will feel it. Yet, there are the sorojchi pills which means pills against altitude sickness. You can find them at local pharmacies. And don't forget! If you are a tourist from Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireleand, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechteinstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, New Zeeland, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela you need no visa. Of course if you are not going to stay more than 90 days in Bolivia.

So, what do you think?

Would you go visit Puma Punku?

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    • Jim Traveler profile image
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      Jim Luca 3 years ago

      You are perfectly right. It is the same story as in Turkey, Greece or Japan, China or Cambodia. :)

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      I guess most tourists from elsewhere in the world who visit South America, will go to Brazil or Argentina, or to the ancient ruins of Peru or else to the natural attractions of Equador and the Galapagos Islands. But this hub about Puma Punku certainly makes a case for anyone interested in ancient history or archaeology to also tour the lesser known Bolivia. Thanks, Alun.

    • Jim Traveler profile image
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      Jim Luca 3 years ago

      :) thankx. The story of Tiwanaku is on the way. But first, I'll go to Greece to the ancient Oracle. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      This is the first I have heard of this mystery. THanks for sharing information on it and bringing such an interesting story on the details.

    • BNadyn profile image

      Bernadyn 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      What an interesting story behind these ruins, such a mystery! Thanks for sharing this and for the altitude warning, that is some useful information for travelers here.

    • Jim Traveler profile image
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      Jim Luca 3 years ago

      Thank you, Beverly. Glad you enjoyed it :)

    • Beverly Stevens profile image

      Beverly Stevens 3 years ago from College Station

      Nice article--good information. Thanks