Photographer's Note

Villa de Leyva - A shock for the Spanish conquistadors

Nearby Villa de Leyva there’s an archaeological site of the agricultural Muisca civilization that lived between 600 and 1600 AD.
The site may be strongly interconnected with astronomy. There’s an observatory in the form of 115 smaller stone columns arranged in rows.
Spread over the site there are also 30 much larger megaliths which are clearly phallic in form. They symbolize fertility of the land and society.

The Spanish conquistadors who arrived in this valley in the 1500s were shocked at the sight of these megaliths. They called this site ‘El Infiernito’ (‘the little hell’).

Unfortunately the majority of Muisca architecture did not survive due to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The Muisca civilization was one of the culturally rich societies in the pre-Columbian era.
This site is one of the legacies left behind.

At the end of my journey through Colombia I regretted not to have seen more of the ancient civilizations.
Very interesting pre-Columbian sites are located in the south of the country. For example at San Agustin. But Colombia is a giant country and you can’t get anywhere in 24 days ...
Another famous site is Ciudad Perdida in the north. But to get there you have to go for a long hike of several days. A more difficult hike than the well-known trek to Machu Picchu in Peru because Ciudad Perdida is located a very humid and hot part of Colombia.

Information from The Rough Guide to Colombia and from

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6234 W: 22 N: 14735] (58483)
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