For the Inca trail related to Machu Picchu, see Intipuncu.
The so-called Gate of the Sun is a megalithic solid stone arch or gateway constructed by the ancient Tiwanaku culture of Bolivia over 1500 years before the present.
It is located near Lake Titicaca at about 3,825 m above sea level near La Paz, Bolivia. The object is approximately 9.8 ft (3.0 m) tall and 13 ft (4.0 m) wide, and is constructed from a single piece of stone. The weight is estimated to be 10 tons. When rediscovered by European explorers in the mid-19th century, the megalith was lying horizontally and had a large crack going through it. It currently stands in the same location where it was found, although it is believed that this is not its original location, which remains uncertain.
The Gate of the Sun is a valuable monument to the history of art and ancient architecture. Some elements of Tiwanaku iconography spread throughout Peru and parts of Bolivia. Although there have been various modern interpretations of the mysterious inscriptions found on the object, the engravings that decorate the gate are believed to possess astronomical and/or astrological significance and may have served a calendrical purpose.
Figures on Gate of the Sun
The lintel is carved with 48 squares surrounding a central figure. Each square represents a character in the form of winged effigy. There are 32 effigies with human faces and 16 with condor's heads. All look to the central figure, whose identity remains an enigma. It is a figure of a man with the head surrounded by 24 linear rays that may represent rays of solar light. The styled staffs held by the figure apparently symbolize thunder and lightning. Some historians and archaeologists believe that the central figure represents the “Sun God” judging by the rays emitted from it head, while others have identified it with the Inca god Viracocha.
- Media related to Gate of the Sun at Wikimedia Commons