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A location in southern Colombia is home to some of the most impressive cave paintings in the world. Chiribiquete is known among Latin American archaeologists as the “Sistine Chapel” of the Amazon. This national park was declared a cultural and biological heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2018. 

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Chiribiquete: Amazônia houses the “Sistine Chapel” of rock painting. photo: Álvaro Gaviria

In the Karijuna language, spoken by the indigenous people who inhabited the region, Chiribiquete means “hill where it is drawn”. Little was known about this place, until Carlos Castaño, a Colombian archaeologist and anthropologist, had to make a trip to the Colombian Amazon in 1986. There, he found a lost treasure: more than 75,000 rock paintings depicting the region’s rich biological diversity .

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Imagem: National Parks of Colombia

“It is an absolutely transcendent place due to its symbolic and cosmogonic meaning, which perhaps refers to the first moments in America”, explains Castaño. According to him, the rock art of Chiribiquete, which includes paintings of animals such as the jaguar, is one of oldest cultural manifestations on the continent. The estimate is that some of the drawings may have been made some 20,000 years ago

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Chiribiquete: Amazônia houses the “Sistine Chapel” of rock painting. photo: Álvaro Gaviria

According to the expert, the nickname “Sistine Chapel” is perfect to define the place. This is because the drawings that are there have great quality and refinement, in addition to having a sacred character. “There are few places in the world with these conditions,” says Castaño.

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Imagem: National Parks of Colombia

This video is produced by the Amazon Territorial Directorate of National Natural Parks of Colombia 2013.

Soham Hamsa

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