The cultural heritage is both material (architecture, archaeological sites, landscape planning, handicraft production, etc.) and immaterial (dances, music, oral tradition, ancestral know-how, etc.). The current cultural heritage of the Lake basin is the result of different settlement phases in the area: Formative--yayamama Period (800BC – 500 AD), Tiwanaku-puquina Period (500-1150 AD), Altiplano-aymara Period (1150-1400 AD), Inca-quechua settlement Period (1400-1532 AD), Spaniard colonization period (1532-1825 AD) and the Spaniard-Republican period (1825-2010 AD).
Considering its scale, this historical trajectory tracing back numerous cultural, religious and linguistic influences justifies the foundation of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in 2010. The cultural heritage of the Titicaca Lake is also characterized by the singularity of its environment. The Lake influence is indeed reflected by atypical farming practices, economic activities linked to the lake resources and also the navigation practice. The fact of turning the lake into a border area from the XVIth century onward also allowed, after its isolation, for the pre-Hispanic ancestral traditions to be perpetuated that are still permeating the social organization (“original” communities), beliefs, know-how (textile production), traditions (dances, chants, gastronomy, etc.), economic mechanisms, architecture, etc.
The current perception of the Titicaca Lake is multiple and varies according to the different interests driving the individuals. This vast water expanse appears simultaneously as one of the most sacred place of the Andean Cordillera, as a touristic opportunity, as the highest navigable lake in the world, as a mysterious water body, a source of revenues for fishers, a forbidden sanctuary, a border, an ecosystem threatened by contamination, the military base of the Bolivian fleet, a recreational place, the birthplace of the Sun, the last shelter of the Inca riches, a constraint for the travelers, the living place of a lake monster, a freshwater source or else the keeper of the past. The Titicaca Lake is perceived at the intersection of all these visions and is viewed as such by any individual contributing to forge this contemporaneous identity, source of various feelings ranging from fear, curiosity and respect.