Colombia’s Cultural Heritage: Archaeological Park of San Agustín

The Archaeological Park of San Agustín was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. It is considered the heritage of a civilization of enigmatic sculptors, who used volcanic rock to develop their art, immortalizing their existence. The origin of its name is unknown, but there are two theories that gave this pseudonym of “San Agustín” to this region. The first one says it was due to the presence of the Augustinian Missionaries in the year 1600. The second one refers to the passage of the Saint Bishop Fray Agustín de la Coruña through the area.

Archaeological Park San Agustin Monolith

It is believed that in the XXXIII century B.C., one of the three oldest cultures in Latin America after Caral and Chavin in Peru, settled in this region. Its legacy has been passed down for decades through hundreds of monolithic sculptures on sacred earth weighing more than 5 tons, and 1.20m to 7m in height. To date, more than 300 pre-Hispanic statues have been discovered throughout San Agustin, Isnos and Saladoblanco. 

The pieces are distributed in three sites: San Agustín, 4 km from the municipality of Isnos; Alto de Los Ídolos, where the tallest statue is located at 7 meters high; and El Alto de las Piedras, 7 km from Isnos.

Archaeological Park San Agustin Monolith

The great majority of the statues of San Agustin are in the same place where they were originally found and are characterized by being engraved on one side with images of humans or animals looking in an easterly direction. It is believed that they were part of a ceremonial centre of funerary practices, transcending the laws of nature.

To visit this place, you can take a flight from Bogota to the city of Neiva, and from there, there will be a 5-hour ground transfer to San Agustin. Another option is to take a flight from Bogota to Pitalito, which is located 50 minutes away from this Archaeological Park.

Archaeological Park San Agustin Monolith

This destination is usually visited in combination with the desert of La Tatacoa, on a 4 days/3 nights journey. Another alternative for history lovers is to include a visit to the Tierradentro Archaeological Park, also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. It is known for its incredible underground tombs spanning between mountains and canyons, one of the largest necropolises in the world.

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