North of the Akapana Pyramid is Kalasasaya, a partially reconstructed 130m-by-120m ritual-platform compound with walls constructed of huge blocks of red sandstone and andesite. The blocks are precisely fitted to form a platform base 3m high. Monolithic uprights flank the massive entrance steps up to the restored portico of the enclosure, beyond which is an interior courtyard and the ruins of priests’ quarters. Note the size of the top stair – a massive single block.

The Monolito Ponce monolith, with his turban (no doubt covering up his deformed cranium), mask, ceremonial vase and walking stick, sits at the center of the first platform. Some say the stick and the vase are symbolic of the dualism of Andean culture (nature versus nurture).

Other stairways lead to secondary platforms, where there are other monoliths including the famous El Fraile (priest).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tiwanaku attractions

1. Puerta del Sol

0.06 MILES

At the far northwest corner of Kalasasaya is Tiwanaku’s best-known structure, the 10-ton Puerta del Sol. This megalithic gateway was carved from a single…

2. Templete Semisubterráneo

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East of the main entrance to Kalasasaya, a stairway leads down into the Templete Semisubterráneo, an acoustic, red-sandstone pit structure measuring 26m…

3. Putuni

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West of Kalasasaya is a 55m-by-60m rectangular area known as Putuni. It is surrounded by double walls and you can see the foundations of several tombs…

4. Akapana Pyramid

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Climb the hill up to Tiwanaku’s most outstanding structure, the partially excavated Akapana pyramid, which was built on an existing geological formation…

5. Kantatayita

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The heap of rubble at the eastern end of the Tiwanaku site is known as Kantatayita. Archaeologists are still trying to deduce some sort of meaningful plan…

6. Megaphones

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At the entrance to the Tiwanaku site are two stone blocks that can be used as megaphones. Entertain yourself for a minute or two with this interesting pre…

7. Puerta de la Luna

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There’s a small gateway carved with zoomorphic designs near the western end of Tiwanaku, informally known as the Puerta de la Luna.

8. Museo Cerámico

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Showcases a small collection of the ceramics found at the site, as well as a ceremonially deformed cranium and artifacts from the Chiripa and Wankarani…