What makes Lake Titicaca so amazing? Is it its enormous size, or is it the legends that surround it in mystery? The largest lake in South America is spectacular, as it is not only the border between Peru and Bolivia but also the highest navigable body of water in the world. Add this record to the heavenly flora and fauna in the Titicaca National Reserve, and you’ll soon realize that this place is magical.
But did this lake hid more than fish and giant frogs? There was one way to find out…
24. The Paradise on Earth
Lake Titicaca is actually is so mysterious and beautiful, that Andeans believed it was the birthplace of the sun. And one day, a diver would find out more about this lake and what it hid beneath the still and bright surface…
Back in 1977, an amateur diver found an amazing reef by the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca. He took a better look and saw a bunch of artifacts! That’s why divers call it a paradise, as it still hides many artifacts until this day. What did they discover?
23. A Tiny Island Deep Underwater
It seems that in the middle of the Lake Titicaca, there was once a tiny island which is now laying on the bottom of the lake. Hidden underwater, the island appeared to have been visited in the ancient times! What was the purpose of this small island?
22. An Underwater Citadel
Countless tales of underwater citadels have spread through time, but archaeologists were hopeful they would find some proof. Although only legends, the lost underwater city turned out to be real! Here is how they found it.
21. On the Shores
All legends are born from a real story, and this time, the shores of Lake Titicaca were filled with the remains of an ancient civilization. Soon enough, archaeologists were researching and trying to find a way to dive at that altitude…
20. Uncovering the Lost Civilization
The ruins left behind by the Incas and proof of other ancient civilizations of Andean, Purakas, and Tiwanaku cultures would soon help researchers discover an underwater temple which was 1,000 – 1,500 years old!
19. Hundreds of Artifacts Spotted in the Late ’80s
It was back in 1988, 1989 and 1992 that divers went again on expeditions to see what secrets Lake Titicaca has been hiding for thousands of years. They ended up bringing back to surface nearly 400 artifacts! But they didn’t see the treasures that were found this year!
18. The Underwater Temple
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In 2000, a team of archaeologists uncovered the ruins of a sunken temple which was probably built by the Tiwanaku people 1,000 – 1,500 years ago. The ruins were almost twice as big as a football pitch, which meant it could have hidden an unbelievable number of ancient artifacts.
17. Locals Helping Out
Back in 2000, archaeologists couldn’t remove anything from that spot, so they ended their research. A few years later, an archaeologist from the Free University of Belgium, Christophe Delaere, dived in Lake Titicaca and was stunned to see such treasures!
16. The Lake Spirit
Myth had it that the lake had mystical powers. The indiginous Aymara people of the Andes believe that the lake has a spirit, and that it must receive offerings.
Researchers started realizing how big their task was! Uncovering the lake’s mystery was now an even greater challenge!
15. Faces of Different Human Races
The scientists already studied the ruins on the ground, like the Tiwanaku wall that has 32 human faces carved into stone, representing different human races. They knew that some interesting artifacts should be underwater as well, but didn’t expect to stumble across this precious object at #12!
14. A Stunning Discovery
As they were searching through stones, archaeologists found statues, pieces of gold and strange figurines. They got back to the surface, and couldn’t wait to get them analyzed and learn more about their past. The results left them speechless…
13. Thousands of Objects and Fragments
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Delaere was also the Belgian co-director of the Huinaimarca Project, and during a ceremony in La Paz, he stated that he and his team found 24 submerged archaeological sites and “2,000 objects and fragments.” What he found was stunning!
12. ‘The Pot of Gold’
Almost 50 years ago, Jacques-Yves Cousteau would fuel the legends of the lake, when the French explorer looked for ‘The Pot of Gold’ in Lake Titicaca. He found signs of the ancient civilization, and today we have the proof. But this temple will soon become a fantastic attraction thanks to the Bolivian culture minister…
11. The Island of Sun
Delaere and the divers found these pieces or artifacts at over 7 meters (20 feet) underwater, just off the Island of the Sun: “There are ceramics and urns from more than 500 to 800 years ago,” explained Delaere. But those were the most recent artifacts. The divers then found something a lot older…
10. Just the Beginning
Archaeologists also found stone vessels, incense containers and animal figurines like pumas that were more than 1,500-years-old, and they said that this research was only beginning. More objects are hidden at the bottom of Lake Titicaca, waiting to be uncovered.
But the Bolivian culture minister has a different idea for the underwater temple!
9. Gold, Ceramic and Vessels
Then, as the search continued, divers found more artifacts and even gold pieces! “We found more than 10,000 pieces like vessels, gold pieces, ceramic,” explained Bolivia’s Culture and Tourism Minister Wilma Alanoca.
8. Many Artifacts Will Remain Underwater
Because the lake kept the artifacts in a great condition, the archaeologists plan only to bring a few to the surface and leave the rest underwater. Here is how the minister plans to show the items that will remain underwater to the public…
7. The Andean Civilisations
Some of the analyzed pieces were estimated to be 2,000 years old, while others belonged to the most important Andean civilization, added Alanoca: “thanks to the investigations it was possible to determinate that they belong to Tiwanaku culture and pre-Inca civilizations.”
6. An Underwater Museum
Wilma Alanoca said that they want to make the temple an underground museum that will be filled with the nearly 10,000 artifacts found underwater in its ruins: “It will be both a tourist complex and a center for archeological, geological and biological research, which will make it the only one in the world.”
5. Preserving the Underwater Structure
With this costly project, the government will be able to protect the structures on land and those underwater. UNESCO and the Belgian development cooperation agency is also helping the Bolivian government fund the project which should be finished in 2020.
4. A One of a Kind Museum
The museum will be made of two parts. One will be on the shore and will display the items that were brought to the surface, and one will be partially submerged and have enormous glass walls that will show visitors the underwater ruins of the lost city!
3. Isla del Sol
Incan mythology says that Isla del Sol is where people were created after the great flood by the god Viracocha who rose from the waters and made the sun, the moon, the stars. Then, he created the first humans in Tiahuanaco, who he named Mallku Kapac and Mama Ocllo…
2. Made of Stone
The first Adan and Eve in the Inca mythology were made from stone and brought to life by the god who told them to populate the world. Now Titicaca is said to be the place where Incas were born, and the place their spirits will return when their bodies die.
1. An Ancient Civilization
Studying this ancient civilization will finally be possible for archaeologists who will be able to visit the future Museum at Lake Titicaca. Moreover, local communities will benefit from the new jobs and make a living without leaving the area.