Archaeological sites in Puno are Peru’s oldest civilizations. In Lake Titicaca the largest Pucara, Tapara and Tiahuanaco cultures arise, which give rise to the powerful Inca Empire.
Ancient Peruvian fertility temple or modern money-making hoax? Either way these monoliths still look like penises.
Chucuito is one of the few ancient sites in the world that is likely to elicit a few giggles. In many ways, you’re supposed to giggle when you walk through the walled-off complex covered in row after row of stone phalluses. Especially considering that this supposed ancient fertility clinic may just be a hoax catering to the immaturity of tourists.
For more than half a century, archeologists and anthropologists have studied Chucuito Temple of Fertility, and have decided, with some debate, that the stones were placed in this order more recently than they were quarried and cut. Scientists even discovered that many of the stones were not originally set straight up, indicating that a perverse opportunist may have had a hand in the temple’s creation. Yet the findings of the scientists mean little to locals who work day in and day out to dispel these claims by giving tours of the temple.
Altogether, there are 86 phallic stones in the temple, and some even stretch to five feet. According to legend, and most tour guides in the city, this temple was frequented by women trying to get pregnant. Under the guidance of a spiritual leader, women would climb aboard the mushroom rocks and be doused in chicha, traditional Peruvian corn beer, which allegedly helped them become pregnant.
Adding to the confusion created by this legend, the site, which is named Inca Uyo, can be translated two ways. In Quechua, it means field, a perfectly logical translation. But a more modern twist translates the word into penis, which unfortunately fits the other side of the debate similarly well.
Although no definitive answer will ever be discovered, the rocks resemblance to male genitalia remains uncanny.
The easiest way to get to Chucuito and the Temple is to take a public bus south from Puno towards Juli. The bus ride will cost a nominal sum and take 20 minutes along the western bank of Lake Titicaca. Locals in town can point you in the direction of the temple.
An abandoned Incan construction project left behind a mysterious “doorway.”
In the early 1990s, mountaineering guide Jose Luis Delgado Mamani was exploring the Peruvian countryside when he came across an area where the rock had been smoothed to a flat surface and adorned with a small alcove.
Known as Aramu Muru and located on lake Titicaca near the border with Bolivia, the flat stone is roughly 23-feet square, with a T-shaped alcove some 6 feet, 6 inches tall carved into it. What purpose the space once served is unknown, but the most likely explanation is that it was an abandoned Incan construction project. Locals are said to call the doorway the “Puerta de Hayu Marca,” or “Gate of the Gods,” and local legends apparently speak of people disappearing through the doorway as well as of strange sights, such as “tall men accompanied by glowing balls of lights walking through the doorway.”
But as much of this type of reporting comes back from those who believe the doorway to be some kind of portal—such as paranormal writer Jerry Willis, who claims to have traveled through the doorway—it is hard to know which “local legends” are legitimate. And photographs of people goofing off in and around the “multi-dimensional portal” do little to add to its mystique.
Know Before You Go
Travel to Puno, near Lake Titicaca, from there take a car/bus to Juli, then from there walk to the ruins.
Feel the magic and the energy of Cusco and Machu Picchu, then continue to where the legend began – Lake Titicaca, to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the peace and tranquility on the shores of the Lake.
Sublime landscapes, wildlife, history, culture - Peru has more than its fair share. Its famed snow-capped Andean peaks shelter the temples and fortresses of the Inca and other pre-Columbian cultures, linked by a network of paved trails.
The wonders of Peru await you as you hike through the Manu Amazon rainforest, traverse the plains of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and stroll the cobbled streets of Cusco on this 15-day trip from Lima. Search for monkeys and medicinal plants in the Amazon, travel the ancient road to Machu Picchu, experience a stay in a traditional community on the shores of serene Lake Titicaca.