from FreeMedia Website

Within the eastern foothills of the Andes in Bolivia there lays in a height of about 1900 m the ruined site "El Fuerte" (coordinates 18 10' 30'' South and 63 49' 10'' West), about 6 km far away from the small town Samaipata situated at the old secondary road connecting Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

The complex about 40 hectares in size was appointed as "World Heritage" to the World Heritage List by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its session held at December 2nd 1998 in Kyoto/Japan.

A first comprehending description of the sand stone rock, in which a wealth of figures, grooves, channels, basins, steps, seats and similar other things are engraved, as well as a depiction of the most important elements was given by the French explorer Alcide D'Orbigny in 1832.

This archaeological site consists of two elements. The hill with its great number of engravings and sculptures may have been the ceremonial centre of the old city (14. - 16. century), whereas the area south beyond the hill was the administration and residential area. The modelled hill raising dominantly above the residential area demonstrates a unique proof of Pre-Columbian culture at the American continent.

In particular striking are the two parallel channels rising within the rocks exactly from east to west and being flanked by engraved rhomboid bands. At the flanks of the rocks, in the north once only, in the south over a length of about 200 m, there are niches of human size carved into the front of the stones showing each the longitudinal wall of a temple.

This complex is a ceremonial site of the Inca and the remains of former settlements from the highland cultures and those of the eastern lowlands. After the destruction of the Inca temples the Spanish conquerors built a patio house at the ruins as a fortification against the lowland Indians (Chiriguano). Probably the name "El Fuerte" is coming from this time.