Our visit to Puma Punku is dedicated to our son Viktor, who is a great supporter of the Ancient Aliens theory
Bolivia’s capital La Paz is not the “crowded dirty and poor place up in the middle of nowhere” we expected it to be. To our surprise, we found a bustling modern city with tall buildings, traffic jams and busy people, like everywhere else. We check-in in a nice clean new hostel ‘La Perla Negra’ (The Black Pearl) near the bus terminal in the center of the city, no noise after 9:00 p.m., with stunning view from the upper terrace, where Ivo and Maya can play unlimited billiards and foosball. It’s $20.00 per night for the three of us, breakfast included. We love the place and recommend it.
It’s raining and it’s cold most of the time- it’s rainy season, so our options for exploring the town and its surroundings are limited. Plus, Ivo has terrible altitude sickness with high fever (La Paz stands at 4000m above sea level) and we skip the famous Camino de la Muerte bike ride, leaving it for the next time we are around.
But we decide to check out another Valle de la Luna taking a bus to the outskirts of La Paz and hitchhiking back through some surprisingly rich area with multi-million dollar villas, which we didn’t expect to see in Bolivia at all.
Valle de la Luna
Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is situated about 10 kilometers from downtown La Paz. Tall spikes formed by erosion in the clay mountain cover a large area overlooking the capital.
We spend three days in La Paz: watching the carnival, walking around the market, and riding the Teleferico- a cable lift used as public transportation, like bus and metro in other cities, with affordable rates and spectacular view, passing directly over rooftops and backyards of people’s homes.
Not far from La Paz is a famous archeological site we don’t want to miss- Puma Punku. It is worth paying it a short visit while in the area, especially for those fascinated by ancient civilizations and their mysteries. Puma Punku is considered the greatest mystery of all times.
A small mini-bus with a few other tourists and a few locals takes us 72 km west of La Paz to the town of Tiahuanaco, a typical Bolivian town with dirt roads and houses made of red clay bricks among the naked brown hills and green pastures of the Bolivian dry highlands. Named after an important pre-Inca civilization, the ancient ruins of Tiahuanaco and the Puma Punku site represent one of the oldest and highest urban cities ever built- the main headquarters of a powerful empire, as well as a sacred center of the Andean region, where the indigenous people went on pilgrimage to worship the Gods.
The Tiwanaku community grew to 20,000 people between 600 and 800 AD but disappeared completely around AD 950 as a result of climate change and a great drought in the Titicaca basin. Rediscovered in 1546 the local descendants of the Tiwanaku people told the conquistadors that tall giants built this place, as the people of that time didn’t have the technology to transport and shape such large monoliths and complex interlocking granite stones with perfect sharp edges and unknown purpose, which to us look like parts of a complex machinery.
The Puma Punku ruins are one of four structures in the ancient city of Tiahuanaco. The others three are The Akapana Pyramid, the Kalasasaya Platform, and the Subterranean Temple.
The mystery remains today. Who built these structures? What are they? How were they built? And to what purpose?
These are probably the oldest and strangest ruins on the face of the Earth. The stones in Puma Punku are made up of giant granite and diorite, some hundreds of tons brought in from over 10 miles away, and the only thing that could have cut them is diamond, which means that the people who built this place did not use traditional stone cutting techniques of the ancient times. But they didn’t use diamond either. Even today it would be hard to cut such giant heavy interlocking blocks with the precision and sharpness achieved in Puma Punku many centuries ago.
So who did all this? One possibility is that a cataclysmic event such as a great flood wiped out the ancient peoples and their advanced technology (whatever it might have been) along with any records they may have kept. Another theory supported by the tale of ‘the tall giants’ suggests that only aliens visiting our planet could have done it.
We still don’t know…