El Fuerte, a pre-Inca archaeological site at a hilltop overlooking the town of Samaipata, is the main draw for foreigners to this sleepy hill town. Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, El Fuerte contains one of the world’s biggest stone carving. On a gigantic rock surface at the hilltop, pictorial and geometric carvings were made by pre-Inca cultures. The carving began at around AD300 and continued over generations for various purposes, from ritual services to astronomic and weather observations. The Incas added two wall structures with mummy burial niches and a sun gate when they conquered the area and named Samaipata as a provincial capital. The Spaniards then came to occupy the site as a military fort and built a few Andalusian houses on the site. Apart from the sheer gigantic size of the stone carvings, the superimposing of symbols and architecture from various cultures offers a unique character to the site. In recent decades, there were numerous rumours about some sort of mystical energy of the site. Some even imagine the site being used by extraterrestrial to land their spaceship.
Following a raised boardwalk and a loop trail, we spent about 2 hours at El Fuerte to contemplate its unique history and take in the glorious views from the site.
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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought