Unesco World Heritage places in Colombian 

Colombia has is evolving on the list of protected places. Check out the location in here.


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Cartagena is a port city and municipality in the northwest of Colombia. The city is named after the Spanish city of Cartagena and is also called Cartagena de Indias. It is the capital of the department of Bolívar and has a population of 1,075,000 people.

One finds in the old city many colonial buildings, including the Palace of the Inquisition, a cathedral, the Santa Clara Convention and a Jesuit school. Peter Claver, patron saint of the slaves, worked in and out of the school. The city center has been on the World Heritage List since 1980.

Around the city are a number of defensive works, including the castle of San Felipe de Barajas, built between 1536 and 1657; the city walls around the Old City (las Murallas); and the forts of San José and San Fernando, built between 1751 and 1759 near Bocachica.

Outside the city walls you can find the statue of India Catalina, a local Indian hero. In the south lies the modern district, on the peninsula of Bocagrande.

Due to the tropical location, the weather has little variation, with an average maximum temperature of 31 ° C and an average minimum of 24 ° C. Cartagena also has an average humidity of 90%, with a rainy season in October. There is about 1000 mm of rain per year.

Excavations show that this area is already around 7000 years BC. was inhabited. The Spanish explorers made several attempts at the beginning of the 16th century to establish cities here. The first successful attempt was that of Pedro de Heredia. He founded Cartagena on 1 June 1533. For a long time, the city was an important link between Spain and South America.

During the 16th century and the 17th century, Cartagena was one of the most important harbors of the Silver Fleet and therefore a popular target for buccaners. Thus the city was plundered in 1585 by Francis Drake; in 1697 by French admiral Jean du Casse.

In March 1741 the city was attacked by troops of the English admiral Edward Vernon, who advanced to Cartagena with a squadron of 186 ships with 2,000 guns and a Marine Corps of over 6,000 men, but the attack was repelled because of the powerful opposition offered by General Blas de Lezo, his garrison and the people of the city. Vernon had to withdraw when the arrival of a relief army, led by colonel engineer Carlos Suillars de Desnaux, made his position untenable.

2-National Park Los Katíos

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Los Katíos is a national park in the northwest of Colombia, on the border with Panama, with an area of ​​approximately 720 km². The area lies at an altitude of 50 to 600 meters and is part of the Darién Gap, a densely forested region that shares Panama and Colombia. It passes in Panama in the National Park Darién. According to plans for the Pan-American road, it will go through or near the area. The park was declared a world heritage site in 1994 on the basis of the diversity of fauna and flora. The park has more than 25% of all bird species in Colombia, although it covers only 1% of the Colombian land area.

The topography of Los Katíos is quite diverse, with low hills, forests and wet plains. The two largest parts of the park are the Serranía del Darién mountains in the west and the river Atrato and its flood plains in the east.

Due to mismanagement, the park ended up on the list of endangered world heritage in 2009. Thanks to better management and measures against illegal deforestation and overfishing, it was removed from the list again in 2015.

3-Santa Cruz de Mompox

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Mompox, Mompós or Santa Cruz de Mompox is a municipality in the Colombian department of Bolívar. The municipality has 41,326 inhabitants (2005).

The area where Mompox is located was inhabited by the zenú, an indigenous people who lived in the lower reaches of the Magdalene and Cauca. The place has a historical colonial character. Founded in 1537, the city is located 248 kilometers from Cartagena, the capital of the Bolívar department. There are 34,486 Momposinos and Momposinas (2005).

The historic center has been on the world heritage list since 1995. Sights include the old town, the churches Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, Iglesia de Santo Domingo and Iglesia Santo Agostino, as well as a statue of Simón Bolívar and the municipal cemetery. In Mompox there is a botanical garden; Jardín Botánico de Mompox.


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Tierradentro is an archaeological site of 19,000 m² in the Cauca department in Colombia where hypogea and monumental sculptures of human figures have been found. The most important archaeological sites of the park are Alto de Segovia, Alto del Duende, Loma de San Andrés, Alto del Aguacate and El Tablón.  It was credited to the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1995.  The area is now inhabited by the Paez.

The Spaniards gave the area the name “Tierra Adentro” (The land inside), because the high mountains of the Cordillera Central were difficult to access. The high peaks gave them the impression that they were enclosed by the mountains.

The monk Juan de Santa Gertrudis visited the area in 1756. He was the first to write about the graves in his book Maravillas de La Naturaleza.

From 500 to 900 AD, this area was already inhabited by farmers. In the valleys they lived in community groups, scattered on the slopes. They built oval houses with a thatched roof on manicured terraces, and the wall was made of corn stalks. They grew corn, pumpkins, beans, yucca and potatoes. They hunted small game and fish. They manufactured textiles and ceramics. Ceramics were very developed and used for funeral rituals. Their cultural characteristics are similar to those of San Agustín. These similarities can be observed in characteristics of ceramics, jewelry and images. The hypogea are typical of this region. They are grouped under the hill tops or mountain slopes.

Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of hypogea and by carbon dating one knows that the graves date from the period between 500 and 900 n. Chr.

Hypogeum of the Tierradentro culture
The hypogeas were excavated under ridges and they consist of a shaft with a straight, a zigzag or a spiral staircase leading to the entrance of the burial chamber. They were carved into the tuff that was present there, a not so hard volcanic rock. The room is generally composed of niches and pilasters. In the largest tombs the ceiling of the room is supported by two or three pillars. The walls, pillars and ceilings of the burial chambers are often decorated with drawings of geometric, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms, using red and black dyes on a white clay layer. The smaller rooms are 2.5 to 7 meters deep with an oval floor of 2.5 to 3 meters in diameter. The larger ones can have a diameter of 10 to 12 meters.


In 1936, under the leadership of the German geologist Georg Bürg, the first studies of the area were carried out and the open graves of the Alto de Segovia were covered with bamboo and reed to prevent the penetration of rainwater. This protection would be replaced by metal constructions in 1945, the year of establishment of the national park.

In the 1970s, the anthropologists Mauricio Puerta and Alvaro Chaves cleaned and repaired some of the graves and closed the graves that were too damaged. Statues were also cleaned.

Since then, various activities are underway: pumping water from the graves (humidity is a big problem, because it damages the paintings and weakens the construction), perpetuating the construction and wall paintings, improvements to the protective roofs, and so on.

5-San Agustín (culture)

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The Indian culture San Agustín (1000 BC – 1500 AD) is one of the best known of pre-Columbian civilizations that developed in the area of present-day Colombia. The culture flourished in a relatively small area of 2000 km² in the department of Huila and the north of the department of Caquetá, and it disappeared before 1500 AD. Despite the many researches and publications, there is little known about the San Agustín Indians, because the culture had disappeared before the Spanish conquest. The name is taken from the town of San Agustín.


Three elements are distinguished in architecture: the domestic architecture, the grave temples and the temples for the worship of gods.

In many precolumbian cultures life after death was considered more important than life on earth. Little attention was paid to the architecture in the daily life of the San Agustín, and little is known about the fact that houses were grouped into small communities. A typical house was three meters in diameter and built of poles. The walls were made of branches or reeds and covered with clay. The pointed roof was covered with straw.

The ceremonial architecture, the architecture for the worship of the gods and the killing was much more important for the San Agustín. As with other precolombian cultures, the surviving San Agustín architecture consists mainly of burial centers or cities of the dead. Natural stone was the most important building material for the burial chambers. It was available in sufficient quantities in this temperate volcanic area.

The tombs varied in size and finish, depending on the hierarchy and the status of the deceased. A tomb could be rectangular, round or oval with a depth varying from one to three meters. In the tombs of rectangular design, the floor was often made of flat stone, just like the walls and the roof. A striking aspect of the grave cult of the San Agustin culture consisted of closing the burial pit with carefully defined layers of colored earth, in the colors black, yellow and red.

In the rise and fall of the culture of San Agustín three periods are distinguished.

The first period, the Formative period runs from 1000 BC. until the beginning of our era. During this period, farmers settled in the area for the first time. Concentrations of agricultural communities were formed and hierarchical structures were created. The deceased were buried, but the bones were later removed from the grave and kept in urns, and then placed in shafts or tombs. From pollen and plant remains it appears that corn, sweet potato, the tayerknol, chilli, cassava and seeds of the amaranth were important food elements at that time.

The second period is the Regional Classical Period from the beginning of our era to 900 AD. This period is characterized by spiritual development and the religion-based hierarchy in society. The period is known by the manufacture of the characteristic sculptures and funerary monuments. Unlike other Indian cultures, except in the San Agustín culture, it was not customary to bury the dead with many ornaments or art objects. Power and esteem of the chiefs were expressed through the erection of tomb monuments and statues. In this period, 4000 to 8000 people lived in an area of ​​approximately 100 km².

The last period, the so-called Late Period, ran from 900 AD. until about 1500 AD. This period was characterized more by power based on agricultural economics, and less on the basis of religious hierarchy. Statues were probably no longer made during this period. Graves from this period also often contain objects that were used for domestic use, such as ceramics. During this period the population increased further, but people continued to live in approximately the same places in the area as in the previous periods. The culture lasted about 1500 AD. to exist. Why the people disappeared, or where it has moved, is unknown. The fact that the departure could have happened quite suddenly follows from the fact that a number of sculptures have been found that have not been completed.


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Malpelo (Spanish: Isla de Malpelo) is a small uninhabited and largely barren island in the Pacific Ocean about 500 kilometers west of Buenaventura, Colombia. The island, belonging to the department of Valle del Cauca, measures a maximum of 1643 by 720 meters. The highest point of the 1.2 km² small island is with 300 meters the Cerro de la Mona.


Malpelo is formed from Miocene cushion lava, volcanic breccies and basaltic dikes, dated from 16 to 17 Ma. The island and the underlying Malpelorug, together with the Carnegierug in the Late Miocene, originated from a very complex interaction between the Cocos-Nazca Distribution Center and the Galápagoshotspot.


Apart from algae growth, ferns and mosses that grow on the guano of Malpelo, the island is completely ungrown. The island itself houses a modest fauna of crabs (Gecarcinus malpilensis), Malpelohagedis (Anolis agassizi), hazelworm (Diploglossus millepunctatus) and the gecko (Phyllodactylus transversalis). The sea around Malpelo contains a lot of underwater fauna. The island, located on the North equatorial stream, houses a unique shark population; schools of 500 hammerhead sharks and hundreds of silk sharks are regularly observed during SCUBA expeditions. Malpelo is one of the few places where the small sand tiger shark has been observed alive. This shark appears at the dive site El bajo del Monstruo. Around the island is the largest area with a fishing ban of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

7- Cultural landscape of Colombia coffee

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The Eje Cafetero (Spanish for ‘coffee ash’, where ash represents a geometric axis) is the most important coffee-producing area in Colombia. The area is also called Zona Cafetera and Triángulo del Café (‘coffee triangle’). Since 2011, as a coffee culture landscape of Colombia, it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Coffee, among others from the Eje Cafetero, is one of the most important export products in the country. In 2013 Colombia produced almost 11 million bags of 60 kg, a growth compared to 2012 of 41%.


The Eje Cafetero is made up of 48 municipalities in the departments of Valle del Cauca (9), Risaralda (11), Caldas (17) and Quindío (11). The western part of the Eje Cafetero is located in the Cordillera Occidental, while the eastern side is located in the Cordillera Central. The central part is formed by the valley of the Cauca. The climatic (temperatures of 8-24 ° C), topographic (heights of 950 to 3000 meters) and geological features of this mountainous area proved ideal for the production of high-quality coffee. Much of the coffee from the Eje Cafetero is exported to Europe. The most famous brand of coffee in Colombia is Juan Valdez.


The first coffee, a plant originally from Africa, was cultivated on a commercial scale in Salazar de las Palmas in the department of Norte de Santander in Colombia. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the agricultural culture in the current Eje Cafetero consisted mainly of rubber production and agriculture initially concentrated on beans, corn and bananas. In the course of the 20th century, the area became a coffee-producing region.  Over the years, coffee cultivation has improved considerably and harvesting periods have become shorter, although bean is still treated in the traditional way. The quality of the coffee is high, which means that most of the coffee from the Eje Cafetero is not sold in Colombia, but is exported mainly to Europe, but also to the United States.


In the summer of 2013, large-scale protests broke out in the Eje Cafetero against the signing by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of a free trade agreement between Colombia and the United States. The large-scale peasant protests in Colombia started with blockades in Boyacá. The dairy farmers in Belén lost about 30,000 liters of milk per day and in total 8,000 farming families, which together produced 300,000 liters per day, were the victims. The damage caused by the strikes was estimated at 270 million Colombian pesos. At the peak of the strikes, 60,000 Colombian coffee farmers participated in the Eje Cafetero and 100,000 farmers in Huila.


In the area, in addition to the publicly available coffee plantations, there are more tourist attractions. Transport to many of the places in the rural areas goes with typical Willys Jeeps. The Park Parque Nacional del Café in Montenegro, Quindío is specially designed for coffee cultivation.

Municipalities in the Eje Cafetero

The Eje Cafetero sensu stricto is formed by 48 municipalities in four Colombian departments. In a broad sense, other municipalities in the departments and municipalities in the neighboring departments of Antioquia and Tolima are also counted among the Eje Cafetero. The World Heritage is limited to the list below of which the altitudes, unless otherwise indicated, mean the heights of the community centers.

8-Qhapaq Ñan, road network of the Andes

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The Incas had an extensive road network in South America, particularly in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile. These roads were generally well paved and offered the Incas a relatively quick form of transport through the Andean mountains. The road network had a total length of around 22,500 kilometers and rose to a height of 5,000 meters above sea level.

The Incas did not use wagons and had no horses until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. The roads were therefore hiking trails and were also used for transport with llamas and other pack animals.

At the time of the collapse of the Inca Empire around 1532, the Inca Empire was the largest state that had ever existed in the pre-Columbian Americas. However, it could never have grown to such a size without the network of roads that made transportation, communication and administration at a high level possible. Numerous roads ran like arteries to the heart of the empire, the capital Cuzco. This was a strategically good location that greatly stimulated centralization politics. It was the road network on which the greatness of the empire was built. It is therefore not surprising that this system is counted among the largest buildings of prehistoric America.

The expansion of the road network

After the founding of Cuzco, the other Andean tribes of the Urubamba-cultural area, which also included the Valley of Cuzco, were subjected and a large army was built up that, as a powerful glue, kept the peoples together as one whole. Around 1438 they were overthrown by the well-organized bureaucracy of the southern Chincha empire. During this early expansion period, another powerful empire raged along the north coast of Peru that, due to its expansion, threw a series of coastal valleys to its knees and annexed its empire: the Chimú Empire. But after a period of much resistance from the Chimus and strategic warfare of the Incas, this empire was also subjected to the Incas. Followed by the areas of Ecuador, western Bolivia, northwest Argentina and all of northern Chile. This turned the Inca empire into a superpower and they became rulers over an empire that stretched in its length over more than 6,000 kilometers. The expansion of the road network probably ran roughly parallel to the expansion of the empire.

Machu Picchu

Today, the most famous and most popular Inca road is the last kilometers before Machu Picchu. Organized tours start at Kilometer 88 (from the Santa Ana train station in Cusco a few stops) or Ollantaytambo. Due to the large tourist influx, walking on this path is heavily regulated.

On the way you pass the ruins of Llactapata, crossing the river Río Cusichaca, to the village of Huyallabamba at 2270 meters altitude. Towards Valle Llullucha up over the plain of the Llullucha Pampa. The first pass is the Abra de Huarmihuaňusca at 4200 meters. Via the Ruinas Runkuracay one walks to the second pass Abra de Runkuracay at 3900 meters. Along lakes to the Ruinas Sayacmarca and Ruinas Phuyupatamarca. In 1941 the ruins of Huiňya Huayna were discovered to the first Inca gate and to the second Inca gate near Intipuncu, near the terminus Machu Picchu.

Research on the road network

The real pioneering work takes us back to 1978 when the two-year Inca Road Project carried out by the IAR (Institute of Andean Research) took place. This was the first archaeological investigation into the remnants of the Inca roads and was purely based on field exploration. Since the road network, insofar as it is documented, is about 23,000 kilometers long, it was impossible to examine this in its entirety. For this reason, a selection was made of twelve segments each having a length of approximately 150 kilometers.

The selection took into account various factors that are important in choosing the right segments to start a good research.

diversity of ecosystems that determined the course of the roads,
diversity in late prehistoric cultures that each had an influence on the road network as far as it extended within their local borders,
variety in Inca rule that diversified in different ways,
difference and importance of primary and secondary roads and the geographical distribution of the Inca empire.
The aim of this research was to collect comparable data that could give an idea of ​​the construction, construction and ultimate influence of the environment on these roads. This research has achieved groundbreaking results that provide a solid foundation for future research.

Following the Inca Road Project, several archaeological investigations have taken place, each contributing to the reconstruction of the Inca’s road network. One of these studies is that of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) and has mainly dealt with the origins and development of Cuzco.

The origin of the road network

The city of Cuzco, which later became the political and religious center of the Inca empire, was raised around 1300 on the ruins of a mountain settlement of the older Killke culture in the Valley of Cuzco and can therefore be the cradle of Inca civilization. be called. This small kingdom was founded here for strategic motives. It was surrounded by a partly intact road network that was built by the older Pan-Andes States Huari and Tiahuanaco that had disappeared 500 years earlier.

Myths put in writing by the Spanish alphabet Juan de Betanzos and explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa speculate that the ruins of the Killke were destroyed by order of the then Inca king Pachacuti, but the actual revelation lies in the former archaeological research at Hotel Libertador Palacio del Inca, Cuzco, which has hinted only a tip of the veil: the city of Cuzco may have exposed pre-imperial walls that were probably part of the Killke culture.

To support this hypothesis to the undeniable, further archaeological research is required. However, these data only suggest that Cuzco was built on the remains of the Killke settlement and left several walls intact. But this original little mountain settlement can not be measured in any way by the grand Inca city that would overshadow the small settlement for good in the following period. This means that the city has for the most part been raised by the Inca civilization itself.

Writings of the conquistador and poet Garcilaso de la Vega from the earliest period of the Spanish colonization testify to formidable building plans based on construction drawings, building models and geographically mapped areas. None of these drawings, models or maps have survived the centuries and there is no tangible evidence, but that is hardly to be expected in the Andean climate.

Anyone who sees a map of Cuzco can see that the layout of the city has been developed systematically, with or without high-quality planning tools. Cuzco is located in the heart of the Inca Empire (Cuzco = navel / center in Quechua) and is surrounded by the four major districts of Chinchaysuyu, Collasuyu, Antisuyu and Contisuyu. From the south side of the eastern part of Cuzco’s center square, Haukaypata, four main roads ran to each of these districts.

For a long time it was believed that these were the only access to the city. But archaeological field research by UNESCO in the 1980s has shown that there were still more than twenty smaller roads that connected Cuzco with its districts. All these roads crossed the zone that isolated the city of pure Incan ethnicity from the hinterland where the Andean peoples who were subject to the Incas lived. Cuzco was, as it were, surrounded by a belt of an estimated 105 hectares of cultivated land from which 25 roads sprouted to the farthest corners of the empire. This was the cradle of the Inca civilization.

9-Chiribiquete National Park (The maloca of the jaguar)

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Chiribiquete National Park (Serranía de Chiribiquete) is a national park in the Colombian Amazon rainforest. The area has been protected since 1989 and added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018 during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee. It is included as a nature reserve and as an archaeologically valuable area.  During that session, on July 2, 2018, the national park expanded to 4.3 million hectares, making it the world’s largest protected rainforest area.

Chiribiquete has a large biodiversity, and there are many endangered species, including the lowland tapir, the giant otter, the giant anteater and the jaguar. It is the habitat of a number of endemic species, such as the Olivares’ emerald hummingbird.

The Serranía de Chiribiquete are a group of isolated tepuis (table mountains) in the park. At the foot of it, more than 60,000 petroglyphs have been found in shelters in the rocks, some of which are more than 20,000 years old. They depict animals, hunting scenes, fights, dances and ceremonies.

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