About San Agustin & Tierradentro
The San Agustín Archaeological Park, Colombia's most important archaeological reserve and declared by UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, is located in the southern department of Huila. This region was inhabited by a mysterious and enigmatic civilization that created fantastic sculptures using volcanic rocks.
Approximately 5000 years ago, one of the oldest pre-Columbian cultures arrived here. Their name, political or social structure remains unknown as well as their subsequent disappearance, which was centuries prior to arrival of Spanish Conquistadores. This was a time of great flourishing of monumental lithic art, and the so-called Agustinian Culture who were master sculptors, designing and erecting enormous stone statues and moving them to higher sacred ground.
The park covers a total area of approximately 500-square-km that includes San Agustín archaeological park and nearby sites. Here, these statues stand today in forms of pumas, snakes, eagles holding snakes, warriors, good and evil and women in childbirth all of which seem to be silently watching over us.
Traveling two hours from San Agustín, there is another archaeological pre-Columbian hypogeum attraction called Tierradentro; which is found half way up a mountain at an altitude 1750masl. If San Agustín is known for its statues, then Tierradentro is famous for its burial chambers, painted with geometric anthropomorphic and zoomorphic patterns in red, black and white. This location has been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, particularly for these subterranean funeral galleries that are extensive, and it seem they have been created by indigenous cultures inhabiting the region from 600 to 900 AD.