Sheltered in a bay of the Caribbean Sea, the port of Cartagena has the most complete set of fortifications in all of South America. A zoning system divides the city into three distinct neighborhoods: San Pedro, with the cathedral and numerous Andalusian-style palaces; the one of San Diego, old place of residence of the merchants and the petty bourgeoisie; and the popular neighborhood of Gethsemane. (UNESCO / BPI) Location: Bolívar
Located in northwestern Colombia, the Katíos park extends for some 72,000 hectares and is made up of low hills, forests and wet plains. Its biological diversity is exceptional and hosts several animal species in danger of extinction, as well as numerous endemic plants. (UNESCO / BPI)
In this park stands, in the midst of an impressive natural landscape, the largest set of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures of South America. The representations of deities and mythological beasts are executed with great mastery in different styles, ranging from abstraction to realism. These works of art show the creative force and
imaginative of a culture of the northern Andean region that flourished between the 1st and 8th centuries. (UNESCO/BPI)
This park groups pre-Hispanic monumental statues of human characters and contains numerous hypogea dating from the sixth to the tenth centuries. These vast underground tombs of enormous dimensions (some mortuary chambers are 12 meters wide) are decorated with motifs that reproduce the interior decoration of the dwellings of that period. The monuments of the park testify to the social complexity and cultural richness of a pre-Hispanic society of the northern Andean region. (UNESCO/BPI)
Founded in 1540, on the banks of the Magdalena River, Mompox played an important role in the establishment of Spanish domination in northern South America. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the city grew parallel to the river and its main street served as a dam of the river. In its historical center the harmony and integrity of the urban landscape has been preserved. Most of the buildings still fulfill their original function, thus offering an exceptional image of what was a Spanish colonial city. (UNESCO/BPI)
This sanctuary of fauna and flora, which includes the island of Malpelo (350 inhabitants.) and the surrounding maritime zone (857,150 inhabitants), is 506 km from the Colombian coast. Its vast marine park, which is the most extensive prohibited fishing zone in the entire tropical area of the Eastern Pacific, is a habitat of vital importance for a whole series of marine species in danger of extinction worldwide. It is also an important source of nutrients and, therefore, an area of great accumulation of marine biodiversity. The island of Malpelo is, in particular, a sanctuary for giant groupers, flying fish and rare species of sharks. Its coastline is considered one of the most extraordinary places in the world for diving, due to the exceptional beauty of its steep cliffs and caves. In addition, its deep waters serve as a refuge for a considerable number of pelagic species and large marine predators, whose natural behavior remains unchanged in this protected environment. (UNESCO/BPI)6
It is a vast transportation road of some 30,000 kilometers built over several centuries by the Incas -using in part pre-Inca infrastructures already existing- with a view to facilitating communications, transport and commerce, and also for defensive purposes. This extraordinary system of roads extends through one of the most contrasted geographical areas of the world, from the snowy peaks of Los Andes that rise above 6,000 meters to the Pacific coast, through humid tropical forests, fertile valleys and deserts of absolute aridity. The transportation road reached its maximum expansion in the fifteenth century, reaching to extend throughout the length and breadth of the Andean mountain range. The new World Heritage Site consists of 273 components and extends over 5,000 kilometers. The components have been selected to highlight the important social and political function of the transportation road; masterpieces of architecture and engineering and related infrastructures dedicated to commercial activities, accommodation and storage of goods; and sites with religious significance. (UNESCO/BPI)
Each year, during the four days preceding Lent, the Carnival of Barranquilla presents a repertoire of dances and cultural expressions of the different Colombian cultures. Due to its geographical location on the Caribbean coast and its economic boom during the colonial period, the city of Barranquilla has become one of the first trade centers of the country and a place of convergence of Amerindian, European and African people and cultures.
This miscegenation of diverse local traditions transpires in many aspects of the carnival, in particular in the dances (such as the monkey and the female monkeys originating in the Americas, the African congo and the paloteo, of Spanish origin), the musical genres (mainly the cumbia) , but also other variants such as puya and porro), and popular instruments (tambora and alegre, maracas, claves …). The music of the carnival is usually performed by sets of drums or wind instruments. The material culture of artisan objects is profusely expressed through floats, costumes, ornate hats and animal masks. Groups of dancers with masks, actors, singers and instrumentalists delight the crowds with their theatrical and musical performances inspired by both historical events and today. The contemporary political life and its personalities are object of mockery in the speeches and satirical songs that give a burlesque character to the carnival.
The town of Palenque de San Basilio, with a population of about 3,500 inhabitants, is located in the buttresses of Montes de María, southeast of Cartagena regional capital. Palenque de San Basilio was one of those fortified communities called “palenques”, which were founded by fugitive slaves as a refuge in the seventeenth century. From the big amount of palenques that existed in previous times, only San Basilio has survived until today, becoming a unique cultural space.