Tiwanaku (Spanish: Tiahuanaco or Tiahuanacu) is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. It is the capital of an empire that extended into present-day Peru and Chile, flourishing from AD 300 to 1000.
Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important civilizations prior to the Inca Empire; it was the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five hundred years. The ruins of the ancient city state are near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca in Tiwanaku Municipality, Ingavi Province, La Paz Department, about 72 km (45 mi) west of La Paz.
The site was first recorded in written history by Spanish conquistador Pedro Cieza de León. He came upon the remains of Tiwanaku in 1549 while searching for the Inca capital Qullasuyu.
The name by which Tiwanaku was known to its inhabitants may have been lost as they had no written language. The Puquina language has been pointed out as the most likely language of Tiwanaku