Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake on earth at 11,463 feet altitude. Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, the Andean peoples refer to the lake as "The Sacred Lake: and legends say that the first Inca rose from its depths and went out to found the Inca Empire. Actually two lakes joined by the Strait of Tiquina, it sprawls over 3,500 square miles, fed by waters from the melting snows of the Andes.
Nearby, on the Bolivian side of the lake, arose the population and ceremonial center of Tiahuanaco, capital of one of the most important civilizations of South America. Tiahuanaco ceremonial sites were built along the lake's shores, indicating that the lake was considered sacred at least 2,000 years ago.
Excavations have uncovered the remains of five civilizations, one on top of the other, the last one ending a hundred years before the first Inca. Tiahuanaco was a pilgrimage site for the Incas.
At the time of the Spanish Conquest, one of the most important religious sites of the Inca Empire was located on the Island of the Sun. Titicaca was perceived by its ancient cultures to be an inland sea connected to the ocean, mother of all waters.