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Gateway of the Sun

Gateway of the Sun, Kalasasaya Temple, Tiwanaku, Bolivia.
Gateway of the Sun, Kalasasaya Temple, Tiwanaku, Bolivia.

The stone doorway at the site of Tiwanaku, known as the Gateway of the Sun, was carved from a single monolith and depicts one of the principal icons of Tiwanaku (A.D. 400-1100) religion, a front-facing figure holding two staffs at arm’s length. This figure appears to be a descendent of the old staff god of Chavín times, almost 2,000 years earlier. Flanking the figure are 48 intricately carved winged creatures, which some scholars suggest is a representation of an ancient calendar.

Text Source: Morell, Virginia, and Kenneth Garrett. "Empires Across the Andes." National Geographic Magazine June 2002: 106+. National Geographic Virtual Library.
Photograph by:
  • Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic Creative