Tiwanaku (Spanish: ''Tiahuanaco and 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 AD 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 the La Paz Department, Ingavi Province, Tiwanaku Municipality, 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.
Some have hypothesized that Tiwanaku's modern name is related to the Aymara term taypiqala, meaning "stone in the center", alluding to the belief that it lay at the center of the world. The name by which Tiwanaku was known to its inhabitants may have been lost as they had no written language.