TiahuanacoTiahuanaco (sometimes spelled Tiwanaku) is an important Pre-Columbian archeological site in Bolivia. The ruins of the ancient city are on the eastern shore of Lake Tititcaca, about 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz, Boliva. Some have hypothesized that its modern name is a corruption of the Aymara term "taypikala", meaning "stone in the center".
The site of Tiahuanaco was founded about 200 BC, as a small village, and it grew to urban proportions between 300 AD and 500 AD, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. At its maximum extent, the city covered approximately 6 square kilometers, and had as many as 40,000 inhabitants. Tiahuanaco collapsed around 1100 AD. The city was abandoned, and its distinctive art style vanished.
The Tiahuanaco art style is distinctive, and, together with the related Wari style, defines the Middle Horizon of Andean prehistory. Both of these styles seem to have derived from that of the earlier Pukara culture, centered at the site of Pukara in the northern Titicaca Basin.
Much of the architecture of the site is in a poor state of preservation, since it was subject to looting and amateur excavations attempting to locate valuables since shortly after Tiahuanaco's fall, and on into Spanish Colonial times and the 20th century.