When I visited the tombs in Tierradentro, I was able to get closer to the ancient pre-Columbian societies that inhabited this region of Colombia.
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Tierradentro Archaeological Park
The Tierradentro Archaeological Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is located in the northeastern region of the Department of Cauca, not far from the border with the Department of Huila, amid mountains and primary vegetation, and covering an extension of 2,085 square kilometers.
The Tierradentro region is world famous for its abundant archaeological vestiges that include underground graves and stone statues similiar to the ones in San Agustin.
The Spaniards called the region Tierradentro for the mountain knots and deep canyons of its topograhy that generated the sensation of being closed in by mountains with little possibilitity of escaping, the sensation of being tierra adentro; that is ‘inside the earth’.
This culture is different from others in the region mainly by having two stages in its funerary rituals instead of one.
The hypogea were carved out of volcanic rock, which forms the region's subsurface soil.
Hypogea are underground pre-Hispanic tombs that amaze because of their architectural design and decorations. They are nine meters deep and are composed of a descent tunnel with ingenious snail stairs that serve as the entry to the funerary chamber. The tombs were carved from the volcanic rock that forms the bedrock of the region.
The Tierradentro hypogea are characterized by well-developed pictorial work on the surfaces of the chamber murals, ceilings, and columns.
The motifs form complex geometric and figurative designs in several colors: red, black, orange, gray, purple, and yellow.