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On Location pp 115-130 | Cite as

The City of the Present in the City of the Past: Solstice Celebrations at Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Chapter

Abstract

Tiwanaku, Bolivia, is a pre-Columbian archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the “capital of the Aymara world.” Annually on the Winter Solstice (June 21), Tiwanaku and its nearby quiet village of the same name are transformed into a place of national importance. Urban Bolivian pilgrims who attend the Solstice participate in a project of becoming part of “the Aymara,” laying claim to the abstracted Aymara as the root of the nation. This ritual event emphasizes “the Aymara” as both descendents of pre-Columbian Tiwanakotas and as contemporary political actors, reinforcing the category of “the Aymara” as a coherent political body with deep historical roots. The Solstice is a fundamentally urban event transpiring in rural space that symbolically incorporates the growing – and politically powerful – urban Aymara populations of the cities of La Paz and El Alto. This ritual is a performance of a rural ideal enacted in a nonurban urban space: a pre-Columbian city recast as both archaeological site and contemporary rural village, a place linked simultaneously to one city of the past and another of the present.

Keywords

Archaeological Site Urban Space Rural Village Winter Solstice Foreign Tourist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology/AnthropologyBucknell UniversityLewisburgUSA

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