Bolivia’s Gate of the Sun: Stonehenge after a gap year
When I first heard someone talk about the Gate of the Sun, I thought maybe a hipster psychedelia band had dropped a new album. Or perhaps it was the name of an art installation at Burning Man Festival #socool. It turns out it actually literally might be a gate to the Sun…
What we definitely know it is is a large stone archway, located around 12,000 feet above sea level near Lake Titicaca, which is near La Paz in Bolivia. The area is home to an array of ruins, some of which are believed to be dated back to around 14,000 BC, which would be late Stone Age era, and pre-dating the advent of agriculture. This particular ruin is three metres high and is made of a single piece of stone.
The stone is covered in engravings of winged effigies, some of them with human heads and some of them with condor heads. They all look towards a central character who remains enigmatic despite a lot of speculation. A lot of people believe that it could be the Inca god Viracocha. Others seem to believe it is representative of the Sun God, because of the linear markings that surround its face.
There are some markings that are actually upon its face that people have suggested represent tears, and therefore it may be a “weeping god”. Though, personally, I don’t see it – so I think we’ll go with happy Sun God/Viracocha.
Nobody really knows how it came to be, particularly given how far back it’s been dated – it pre-dates many other ancient structures like the pyramids of Giza, and is thought to be over ten thousand years older than our very own Stonehenge. I like to think of it as a kind of exotic Stonehenge, like if Stonehenge went on a gap year and “found itself”. I’m sure it would come back covered in new inscriptions, and full of new spiritual beliefs.
For now it remains a mystery, though – Bolivia’s Gate of the Sun, home of a (hopefully) happy God.
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About Jordan Deadman
My travel experience, limited by my own admission, leaves me with only one place worth talking about – Italy.
My first plane journey was followed by a monumental coach ride through the Italian countryside, before we eventually arrived at a place where they’d literally painted an extra star onto their sign, to make it two stars. The welcome was warm but the furniture was bad, so bad in fact that I broke my bed on the second night – and I was not a promiscuous twelve-year-old by any means.
Perhaps not so big on home furniture (in my hotel at least), Italy made up for this shortcoming with the amazing architecture and food that I experienced while in Tuscany. For example, their towers, though wonky on occasion, often house viewpoints that are worth the 500 steps up on a belly-full of ice cream. And the restaurants in Siena make pizza like you would not believe, I tell you, they would put Papa John’s out of business!
Jordan used to work in our sales team