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Sacred Titicaca Lake

Date of Submission: 01/07/2003
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
Viceministerio de Cultura, Ministerio de Desarrollo Económico Palacio Chico Potosí esq. Ayacuc
Coordinates: 15º14'-16º30' S / 68º27'-69º45' W
Ref.: 1817

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Lake Titicaca is the biggest aquatic mass within the Southern Continent. It is also the highest navigable lake in the world. It has a surface of 8.400 km2, of which 3,690 km2 are on Bolivian territory. Its altitude is 3,810 meters above sea level. Several rivers, primarily born on the mountain range, nourish the lake. On the other hand, only one river drains the waters of this great lake into the Poopó Lake, the Desaguadero River. Lake Titicaca has various levels of depth, the maximum being 283 meters. The water is sweet, transparent and non-colored and is also good for drinking. Lake Titicaca is divided in two parts, divided by the Copacabana peninsula and that of Achacachi or Huata, forming this way the Tiquina Strait. The section to the North is called Great Lake or Chucuito and is six times as large as the other section, called Small Lake or Huiñaimarca. The main islands on the Bolivian side are the Island of the Sun and the Island of the Moon, or Coati. In Perú, the main islands are Taquile and Amantani. Several, very important archeological sites can be found along the Bolivian lake shores and those of the islands. These are: Pilcocaina on the Island of the Sun, the “monastery” or aqllawasi on the Island of the Moon, the Inca Gallows in Copacabana and many other sites like Taraco on the Small Lake. In terms of heritage sites from the colonial era, one can count sites such as Copacabana, with its great basilica, built between the 16th and 17th Centuries; the temple of Carabuco, famous for its mural paintings, as well as several other sites, representative of mestizo baroque or republican architecture in Bolivia.