The Atlantis in the Andes
The Titicaca Lake that divides Peru and Bolivia is primarily a place of legends.
It is said that a treasure is hidden in the lake since the death of the last Inca (the king). That legend said that he had negociated with the conqueror Pissarro to save his life in exchange for a very large quantity of gold, the same as the volume of the room where he was.
The Incas accepted and give the gold to Pissarro, but anyway he kill the king the same. In the anger, seeing that Pissarro had not kept his word, they have thrown in the lake their precious gold.
In Bolivia, the country which is proud to bear the name of “liberator” Simon Bolivar, has lived much of his history in the shadow of its famous neighbor Peru.
The Aymara indians, who live in the highlands, the Altiplano, had therefore been submitted to the authority of the Quechuas and forced to speak their language.
But it has not always been like that. During the three before the arrival of Pissarro and his conquerors, the Titicaca Lake area has its hour of glory with the Tiahuanaco civilization, one of the brightest American Indian.
The city of Tiahuanaco, it was build like a port. It has indeed, docks and wharves. But Tiawanacu is located at 3900 metres above the sea level and miles from the scope of the nearest water. Faced with a such mystery, hitorians have solved by deciding that Tiahuanaco had never been inhabited. It was, acordin to them, a massive monument of ancient gods. Build like a port for that the souls can make their own way to paradise. Why the people of Tiahuanaco have built a port operable at 3900 meters above the sea level? Perhaps because thay are not who have build that.
The trail of the inicial city seems lead to the Titicaca and disappear beneath the waves of the sacred lake.
Many underwater research attempted to discover the myth of El Dorado Peruvian and a hidden city in the lake.
In 1956, took place a first attempt of the young professional diver, William Mardoff, from Chicago. A rich bolivian from La Paz had sent to locate a treasurestuck in the mud. But the popular rumor spoke of bars of solid gold and jewels that adorned the Virgin of the Sun.
With a helmet, Mardoff dive 25 times in the sacred lake. He only took little pieces of pottery.
However, without the inca treasure, he relates the strange vision of a swallowed “city of the gods“…
This ancient city lies in 30 metres deph, half-silted, not far from the island that the indians call “enchanted”.
During his study trip to Peru, the English archaeologist Ephraim George Squier picked up another account of sunken ruins. He went through the bay that stretches behind the Peninsula of Sillustani, shallow and still covered with reeds and aquatic weeds. He observed a lineal wall, which simulates a roadway and which runs from one banck to another, where, barely noticeable under water, were some rows of carved stone, that they could be the remains of the collapse or flooding of buildings…
After that, came the turn of the commander Jacques Cousteau, who dived and discovered the graves of more than 500 meters deep.
But he didn’t find the archaeological remains that he was looking for.
Nor does the French expedition of 1903, nor that financed the 1988 “National Geographic”
These failures have disapointed scientists and twelve years, no longer interested in the lake until an European-South American archaeologists team specialized in underwater researches decided to resume research.
The expedition called “Atahualpa 2000”, the name of tha last Inca emperor, focused their search near the most important island, la Isla del Sol. (The Sun Island)
Thirty researchers diving each day saw their persistence rewarded, discovering the remaains of a road, a wall 700 meters long, a monument and a terrace, ruins of a temple of 250 meters long and 50 meters wide. But this temple remains isolated.
Convenced that it was part of a whole civilization, the archaeologists found no trace of town.
In contrast, they found an island 3600 meters long and 600 wide, now sumerged, and that it was covered by abrupt rise of the lake, the result of a cataclysm happened in the XII century and which cause the decline of the civilization of Tiahuanaco.
This is no doubt the origin of the myth of the Incas, who stood behind the world in the Titicaca Lake and saw the brilliant culture of Tiahuanaco as the genesis of humanity.