Very close to Bogotá, less than an hour away, I discovered fascinating cave paintings of pre-Columbian cultures from this region of Colombia.
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Facatativá Archaeological Park
The Facatativá Archaeological Park, also known as the Piedras del Tunjo, is located in the department of Cundinamarca only 40 km from Bogotá. It has an area of 40 hectares where rocky shelters, cave paintings, and marvelous scenery may be admired. This is the only urban archaeological park in Colombia and one of the main natural parks close to Bogotá.
The park has a number of huge metamorphic rocks. They are the result of the geodynamic development of the lithosphere in this region and were probably on the bed of the lake that covered the savanna of Bogotá. The sixty murals are spread throughout the park.
This is the only archaeological park in Colombia located in an urban environment, and one of the most important natural parks near the city of Bogotá.
The Piedras de Tunja, or Tunja Rocks, are the main attraction in the town of Facatativá and the destination of tourists who come from other parts of Colombia. Aside from approaching pre-Hispanic cultures and encountering this archaeological heritage, tourists can enjoy picnics and rent boats to sail the lake. .
Pictography is characterized by the use of a graphic visual code to express words and ideas. The advantage of this type of communication is that many people, even after many centuries have gone by and without understanding the language, can grasp the meaning; pictographs have no relation with the linguistics or phonetics of a language.
It is estimated that this practice has been used for over 30,000 years.
For more than 30,000 years, humans around the world have been painting on cave walls.
Prior to 1970, visitors could admire numerous pictographs on the surface of the rocks. Unfortunately, during the past three decades, the Park has been exploited as a place for active recreation, with a negative impact of the environment and the archaeological heritage. For this reason, most of the paintings are covered by graffiti.
Since 2006, the Facatativá Archaeological Park is under the supervision of the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia (Colombian Anthropological and Historical Institute, ICANH, by its Spanish acronym) The Institute is working on the recovery, restoration, and preservation of this cultural and historical legacy and is highlighting its importance and archaeological richness.
At present, the stones are being cleaned, protective nets are being set up, and informational billboards are being designed.
Additional information: ICANH: Facatativá Archaeological Park