Chapter 2 Part 6

The Approach to Kalasasaya. The Monumental Perron

In considering Kalasasaya of the Second Period of Tihuanacu, it is necessary to pay particular attention to a construction of great importance, not only from the astronomic but also from the monumental point of view. This is the megalithic perron. In the preceding chapter we pointed out the importance of the center of the perron AS THE INTERMEDIATE DIVISION OF THE YEAR OF TIHUANACU. Now we shall concern ourselves with the details of this magnificent architectural work.

The perron (Fig. 23) is located as the principal access to Kalasasaya through the east wall, but it is not in the exact center of that construction. Rather, it is located one meter, one hundred and sixteen millimeters to the north, for the reasons set forth in the foregoing chapter. Bordering it on both sides are two large pilasters, which lend this architectonic work an even more monumental aspect. In contrast to the stair, which is of red sandstone, the pilasters are worked in hard andesitic lava. Comparing their erosion with that of the works of the Third Period found in the same location, it can be seen that a great space of time must have transpired between one period and another. We shall consider this very important point later on, in the study concerned with the age of Tihuanacu.

Figure 23  The great perron which gives access to the Sun Temple of Kalasasaya. It was covered until the year 1903 by alluvial earth which was removed by the Crequi de Montfort Commission. It is not located at the center of the building but is moved to the north 1.116m. for the reason set forth in illustration No. 19. At its foot there is still to be noted an elegant pavement which was later torn away by the aforementioned iconoclasts.

Figure 23
The great perron which gives access to the Sun Temple of Kalasasaya. It was covered until the year 1903 by alluvial earth which was removed by the Crequi de Montfort Commission. It is not located at the center of the building but is moved to the north 1.116m. for the reason set forth in illustration No. 19. At its foot there is still to be noted an elegant pavement which was later torn away by the aforementioned iconoclasts.

The stair steps, which in the main are composed of monolithic blocks, are seven in number; the last two on top form the platform and are made of a single piece.

On the top of the platform there is a superstructure as revealed by the “design made by erosion” in those places where the superstructure does not extend, (Fig. 24). Since this place — shaded in the illustration — shows absolutely no erosion from the atmosphere, or let us say from time, it could be presumed that during the period of the Conquest it carried a part of this construction on the platform of the stair, and that the blocks which composed it were used by the perverse destroyer of that epoch in which the church of the village of Tihuanacu was built.

Figure 24  Schematic drawing of the Perron of Kalasasaya.

Figure 24
Schematic drawing of the Perron of Kalasasaya.

At the present time we see in relief the material which formed the base of the superstructure, or of the platform. However, as can be still observed clearly in the base and pedestals of Puma-Punku, “depressions” must have been produced in the block of the base where it fitted, or more exactly, the superstructure was implanted, and only as the result of the erosion of thousands of years did depressions deeper than the original higher parts finally remain on the platform of the stair.

The upper construction on the platform was of the strangest type and completely contrary to our present architecnographic ideas, which would have demanded an ample entrance to the temple. Consequently, it was not, judging from the amplitude and magnificence of the perron, designed for the entrance of magnificent processions or enormous masses of people during the ceremonies and liturgic celebrations connected with the worship of the sun. Rather, the entrance was narrow (approximately 1 meter 45 centimeters wide) and possibly built for very exclusive use. The priests certainly walked through it during the most solemn moments of the celebration of important proceedings connected with the mysteries of the Sun Temple.

This super construction belongs to the Third Period and was an integral part of the “sanctissimum” with which it communicated directly, since the alignment or interior edge of the platform is in line with the external east wall of the “sanctissimum”, on the extreme north end of which is still found the pillar of the winter solstice of the Third Period, (Fig. 25). In short, although more than ninety percent of Kalasasaya is destroyed, and there have come down to us only the remains of the building’s skeleton, little by little, and especially when serious reconstructive excavations are carried out, greater light will be shed on the tangled secret which, until a little while ago, still covered this famous “Temple of the Sun.”

Figures 25  Pillar of the winter solstice of the Third Period. On the upper part this shows half of a small window where, as can be seen in the reconstructed Figure 25a, the sun appeared for a moment at the winter solstice in the form of a vertical, luminous ray, This was the case since the sunrise was observed from a visual angle of approximately 23° 30'.

Figures 25
Pillar of the winter solstice of the Third Period. On the upper part this shows half of a small window where, as can be seen in the reconstructed Figure 25a, the sun appeared for a moment at the winter solstice in the form of a vertical, luminous ray, This was the case since the sunrise was observed from a visual angle of approximately 23° 30′.


Figure 25a

Figure 25a

The general map (Pl. III) and other detailed maps inserted in the present work, show clearly the arrangement and outline of the perron and the astronomical marks which we have left on the platform for future investigations and calculations.


Continue to Kalasasaya of the Third Period

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