Eternal City lago Wi˝aymarca

The immense inland sea called Lake Titicaca is famous throughout the world, but the southern end of the lake, accesible through the narrow Strait of Tiquina has a separate name, it is called lago Wi˝aymarca, which, when translated means "Eternal City." And a legend has it that there is a city submerged beneath this lake.

lago Winaymarca location map
Lago Wi˝aymarca to the south of lago Titicaca.

There also exists in Bolvia a legend in which the gods decide to punish a city on the edge of a lake by submerging it in a day of earthquakes and floods. The principal god, Tunupa, a god of the sea who had tried to persuade the people to amend their degenerate ways is cast by the people adrift on the lake in a reed boat which is then carried southwards to crash against the southern shores of the lake. A great aperture opens up in the side of the lake, carrying the god southwards in a great flood of water until he reaches Lake Poopo where he disappears into the waters in the region of Pampa Aullagas.

leyenda del desaguadero p01 cover
"La Leyenda del Desaguadero" illustrated version published by the University of La Paz


Because of the greed and misdeeds of the people the chief of the Gods decides to
punish the city and bring against it earthquakes, floods and bolts of lightning.

tiwanaku atlantis inhabitants flee city
The inhabitants of (an earlier?) Tiwanaku are destroyed by earthquakes and the rising waters of the lake.

desaguadero atlantis city submerged
The city is submerged by the lake

Isn't that so like the tale of Atlantis, where the gods decide to punish the city because of their greed and misbehaviour, submerging the city in a single day and night of earthquakes and floods?

So is there any truth in this legend? Well, as it turns out, Yes. And a recent (2019) documentary from "Expedition Unknown" starring Josh Gates, has even called it "Atlantis of the Andes." Not to be confused with the earlier 2001 documentary "Atlantis in the Andes" setting out the theory that Atlantis was based on a description of the Bolivian Altiplano.

Message from Eduardo Monta˝a of AtlantisBolivia
"The 21st of June (2016) I was in a rowing boat on lake Wi˝aymarca celebrating the Andino New Year. In the early hours of the morning with the first rays of the sun and a full moon, we found ourselves in the interior of the small lake where we saw these (underwater) structures, which surely belong to the "eternal city" of Wi˝aymarca, buried under Lake Titicaca. Then the Legend of the Desaguadero (of Thunupa) is true."

eternal city Wi˝aymarca  eternal city Wi˝aymarca
Stones beneath the waters of lake Wi˝aymarca from the eternal city

walls beneath lago Winaymarca
Walls beneath lago Wi˝aymarca filmed by Josh Gates "Atlantis of the Andes" expedition

Posnansky thought that Tiwanaku dated as far back as 15,000BC and that the city had been at one time submerged by the waters of Lake Titicaca due to higher up lakes bursting their banks and pouring water down into Lake Titicaca. His opinion was based upon materials found in excavations at the Kalasasaya in Tiwanaku. His findings are rejected by modern archaeology, but local legends talk of submerged buildings beneath the lake that is, lake Wi˝aymarca but there are also legends of a golden city sunk beneath Lake Titicaca itelf.. Evidence of submerged terraces were found by divers of the earlier Akakor expedition and historically, the levels of the lake have always risen and retracted as a result of climate change..

All around the edge of the Altiplano there is what is called a "strand line" marking the edges of the former prehistoric lakes which once covered all the Altiplano. This strand line should be perfectly horizontal but it isn't, it slopes towards the south meaning that the southern end of the Altiplano has sunk in elevation and the northern end, where Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca are situated, has risen in elevation. Posnansky was not sure whether this happened as a gradual process or took place in a single day of cataclysm. Similarly it is thought that at one time the Lake Titicaca ended where is now the Strait of Tiquina, but in a cataclysmic event the Strait opened up, forming lago Wi˝aymarka, drowning the city there and the water rushing southwards over the entire Altiplano in a giant tsunami, thus corresponding to the Legend of the Desaguadero. Prior to this event, the water drained not from Lake Titicaca south to Lake Poopo as it does today, but from Lake Poopo north towards Lake Titicaca, and some say in the days of the paleolakes Ballivan and Minchin (earlier higher lakes before Titicaca) exiting the Altiplano by the valley passing by where La Paz stands today and draining eastwards into the Rio Beni until blocked off by cataclysmic forces because today that route would be blocked off by the higher elevations around El Alto in La Paz.

Evidence of destruction of ancient agriculture by earthquakes can be seen on Google earth for the regions around Tiwanaku.

Interpretation: The Altiplano is known to have sunk at its southern end as can be demonstrated by the shorelines of former lakes which instead of being horizontal, are now inclined towards the south.

The Akakor expeditions which began in the year 2,000 have discovered sunken walls, terraces and temples below the waters of lake Titicaca in the southern Wi˝aymarka part of the lake. These are thought by them to date to around 4,000 BC. Others think Wi˝aymarka may have been created around 8,000 BC at the end of the Ice Age.
Another report based on lake cores says the lake dropped 16 to 18 metres from its present level for a period of 200 years in 450 BC. And the lake was completely dry from 450 to 250 BC.

Meanwhile another report published by Cambridge University Press, 2017 says "in 4483 BC Lago Wi˝aymarca was dry, as indicated by a sediment unconformity. At 2383 BC, the basin began to fill, as indicated by the dominance of shallow epiphytic species. It remained somewhat saline with extensive wetlands and abundant aquatic plants until 1783 BC, suggesting a saline shallow lake. Wi˝aymarca remained a relatively shallow lake that fluctuated on a multidecadal scale until 767 AD, when freshwater planktic species increased, suggesting a rise in lake level with a concomitant decrease in salinity. The lake became gradually fresher, dominated by deep, freshwater species from 1167 AD. By 1937 AD, saline-tolerant species were rare, and the lake was dominated by freshwater planktic diatoms, resembling the fresh and deep lake of today."

It seems probable that some time possibly as early as 8,000 BC or as late as 2383 BC, the passageway today known as the strait of Tiquina opened up allowing the waters of Lake Titicaca to flow south, drowning all the inhabitants of Wi˝aymarka and sweeping south in a wall of water which also wiped out everything in the Lake Poopo region of the Altiplano. Since the people who built the walls and structures now underneath lago Wi˝aymarca built them at a time when it was dry land, this must have been prior to 2383 BC, making them older than the currently published dates for Tiwanaku or in the period 450 to 250 BC when the lake was temporarily dry.

altiplano flooding
The water overspilling from Lake Titicaca would have swept south destroying everything in its path.

legends of Bolivia
This illustration by Rene Rojas from "Legends of Bolivia" shows the city being overcome by a wall of water.

sukakollus of Atlantis
Careful study of Google Earth satellite imagery shows evidence of a previously unknown culture on the Altiplano which was then superceded by a later culture, such as the people who built these sukakollus (agricultural plots with water channels) in this region of Peru close to lake Titicaca.

sukakollus of Atlantis
Oblique view of abandoned sukakollus with concentric plots and dried up water channels in this region of Peru close to lake Titicaca.
photo by Jois Mantilla

concentric suka kollus Peru
Abandoned suka kollus with concentric rings of land separated by water channels in the region of Acora, Peru near lake Titicaca
from a video by Huerfano Pajarillo .

Akakor press release 2009 relates discoveries under Lake Titicaca to Atlantis
akakor expedition Akakor video footage    Akakor press release 2000


bbc report on akakor
BBC report on Akakor underwater expedition


legend of the desaguadero
Atlantis origins in Bolivian legend - the Legend of the Desaguadero

fuente magna
Fuente Magna - found at Chua on the shores of lago Wi˝aymarka - proto Sumerian writing in Bolivia

sun temple
Previous underwater explorations around Lake Titicaca.

fuente magna
Head of a snake from temple partly submerged on the shores of lago Winaymarka from Arqueologia Sudamerica by Carlos Ponce Saguines.

temple lake titicaca
Photo from 1934 showing ruined temple walls from the previous site. The site extends underwater and was filmed by Cousteau.

temple lake titicaca
Head of the snake at the above temple photographed recently by Eduardo Monta˝o of Atlantis Bolivia

underwater museum bolivia
Underwater museum being built at Santiago de Ojelaya in Bolivia.

map lake titicaca
Physical map of Lake Titicaca.

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Contour map of Lake Titicaca.

atlantisbolivia atlantisbolivia.org