San Agustín Archaeological Park in Colombia

The park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995

San Agustin is a small town fairly indistinct from the rest in Colombia: a main plaza perpetually filled with people of all ages watching the world go by, a hodge podge of local shops, the odd man calmly walking the streets with a machete and the ubiquitous sizzling street food carts.

However, it has a historical curiosity which sets it apart. The San Agustín Archaeological Park is a pre-jungle area with some of Colombia's highest waterfalls and some interesting natural attractions.

The most impressive part of all are the 500 statues and tombs that are scattered in groups on both sides of the Magdalena River site. The places are composed of tombs, dolmens and monolithic stone structures linked to the cult of the Jaguar. The size of the sculptures oscillate from 50 cm up to 7 meters in height.

Among the most representative figures of the park are the "Doble yo", representation of a warrior or guardian carved in stone in the naturist style that is a dual being. Its symbolic power is integrated into the masculine and feminine, being a symbol of a magical power of a shaman.

Also, the "Águila con una serpiente en sus garras" is a symbol of creation and power and "El Partero (also called El Obispo)" is a huge effigy of four meters in height and several tons of weight that receives a child and represents life.

These works of art show the creativity and imagination of the northern Andean culture that flourished from the first to the eighth century. Archaeologists have discovered just 10 percent of the statues and ruins, and the theory that huge Mayan-style pyramids and other structures remain buried throughout the area.

The park entrance costs about eight dollars and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995 due to the fact that it is the largest pre-Columbian archaeological site in the continent of South America with 50 Km2.

Finally, you should know that there are three archeological sites outside of the main park that you can explore by horse. The ride is four hours long and it will cost you approximately $20 dollars. This includes seeing one of the few coloured statues remaining and the iconic Chaquira which is carved in rock overlooking a magnificent river valley.

If you have a genuine interest in archeology or are on a slow trip, you must, by all means, check out San Agustin.

Prepared by
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez

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