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Ciénaga

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Haga click sobre la imagen para ampliarla Reflection of Ciénaga. Photo: Miguel Barahona

Reflection of Ciénaga. Photo: Miguel Barahona

This is the tour of our route – not in a battered motorboat, but on a modern bus, along a narrow line of paved road, with Ciénaga Grande on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other.

The road takes us to Ciénaga, no longer a “mysterious town”, nor the small and prosperous town of the Banana Zone where the historic episodes immortalized by García Márquez in his novels took place, but a thunderous, chaotic city with remnants of its past splendor.

Ciénaga was founded by Friar Tomás de Ortiz and is located 35 kilometers from Santa Marta. Richard McColl, a journalist from London’s BBC, called it “the capital of Colombian magical realism”.

Ciénaga: The Capital of Magical Realism

Ciénaga, a municipality in the department of Magdalena is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, on the northeastern tip of Ciénaga Grande.

Haga click sobre la imagen para ampliarla Main square in Ciénaga. Photo: Nicolás Pernet.

Main square in Ciénaga. Photo: Nicolás Pernet.

  • Setting of the tragic episode in Colombia’s history known as the “banana massacre”, masterfully recreated in Cien años de soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude].
  • Way station on the journey undertaken by Simón Bolívar from Barranquilla to Cartagena, in the novel El general en su laberinto [The General in His Labyrinth].
  • The town experienced important transformations between 1920 and 1930 due to the “banana boom” driven by the United Fruit Company. The dazzling, short-lived kingdom of wealth was recreated in Cien años de soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude]. The author makes the decline of the Banana Zone coincide with the decline of Macondo.
  • In La hojarasca [Leaf Storm], his first novel, surely written between 1950 and 1953, García Márquez introduces his readers to this universe of splendor and fleeting hopes produced by the arrival of the banana company.

Consult the complete texts on Ciénaga in Las rutas de García Márquez guide, available at the following bookshops: Librería Nacional in Cartagena and Barranquilla and Librería Ábaco in Cartagena.

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