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San Augustin

Statues at San Augustin – Tombs of Tierradentro – Chasing Time. (Map this!)

We followed Rio Magdalena from our first encounter in Mompós to a small town about 45 kms from its source. Swift flowing as it was around Mompós, it is even more lively here, its waters boiling, frothing and churling through steep drops and narrow constrictions, cutting a deep canyon in the surrounding countryside.

The countryside is beautiful, made more so by regular rainfall, the steep canyon walls of Rio Magdalena punctuated by waterfalls from the multitude of streams in the area. The verdant, rolling hills around have been cultivated to the hilt, which are lit up by the occasional ray of light, golden green in the backdrop of a stormy, cloudy sky.

San Augustin has more than just natural beauty. It is the nucleus of small family of sites of a lost civilization. From 3300 BC to 800 AD, this mysterious people buried their dead in elaborate tombs made of huge slabs of rock, leaving shamanistic figures in ritual masks to guard the entrance. Little else is known of these people, except the beauty of their sculptures, which is pleasing even to modern sensibilities. In a lovely green park with artificial hills created by this civilization are scattered statues of men, women, anthropomorphs and animals in acts of ritual significance.

Tierradentro is a six hour drive through rough roads with more of the same gorgeous terrain. We had made this detour to see the famous tombs at Tierradentro. Accesible via a spiral staircase, the more famous tombs are painted red and black geomerical patterns with sculpted figures of men staring down from “pillars” carved out of rock. I couldn’t help wondering wonder how long these tombs will remain open to the public.

San Augustin & Tierradentro

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Nowadays it seems that we are always chasing time. There are more sites to see, more quaint villages to visit, more hikes to take, more colorful markets to appreciate. Everyday is a tussle between the time we have left and that “muy lindo” town we must see. The need to relax and cuddle up with a book competes with the next beautiful cathedral to visit. In the end, we try to find a balance, sightseeing is our daily activity but we try to take a day or two off to rest and relax.

2 Responses to “San Augustin and Tierradentro”

  1. sudhir taskar says:

    It is nice to see that you are enjoying yor trip enormously!
    your posts and photos are so beautifully written that we feel as if we are right there experiencing it all!
    take care and have a nice time.

  2. Shreesh says:

    Hello Sudhir kaka,

    Most of the time we have fun but we have our rough days too! We’re still recovering from the ordeal of shipping the car!

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