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Visit San Agustin in Bogotá


San Agustin, near the Ecuadorean border, is the only place in Colombia where pre-Hispanic monuments have been discovered. But even if you don't have a chance to travel to the famous site, you can still experience a sample of the monuments in Bogotá, in a tiny park behind the Central Cemetery.

The original San Agustin is a bucolic region where you can walk through the forest and encounter hundreds of the mysterious monuments, which mix human and animal characteristics and often tower three meters high. In contrast, the tiny park near the cemetery is tucked behind a police station and surrounded by busy streets and small industries.

mascara_san_agustin

A mask, a copy of one in San Agustin.

Nobody knows who built the original monuments, or exactly what they represent. However, anthropologists speculate that the monuments represent reincarnation, since many are placed on top of tombs, and that they portray the mixing of human and animal spirits. But who knows, perhaps the original sculptors were just having fun.

The Bogotá monuments, which are mostly less than one meter tall, were created by local sculptors, including some of the headstone carvers at the nearby cemetery.

 

doble_yo

'El Doble Yo.' The original monument may represent an alter ego or a male and female god.

ligia

This fearsome monument holding an infant may portray a god eating an infant, or a male midwife.

monuments

smiler

This smiling figure has a more modern look.

replica_san_agustin

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