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Tomb NSA4, Alto (Hill) San Andrés


The Park, which was accepted in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in 1995 under registration number 743, is placed in Southwestern Colombia , South America. It is under the legal, scientific, and technical protection of Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia, ICANH.

Tierradentro is also the name of a province formed by two municipalities (Inz√° and P√°ez) where 60,000 people (Indians, mestizo peasants, and town dwellers) are ready to attend to your visit.

Read more on Site 743


If you are interested in the conservation aspects of the Park perhaps may be willing to go immediately to the important section Need of an urgent intervention


Please read the note on the use of photos


Please excuse any inconvenience. We are working on the site. We acknowledge that there are some errors and inadequate presentation that are being corrected. Meanwhile, we hope that, as it is, it partially serves its purpose.


Por favor exc√ļsenos. Estamos trabajando en el sitio. Reconocemos que hay errores e inadecuada presentaci√≥n en los que estamos trabajando. Esperamos que, entretanto, aun as√≠, sea de utilidad. Lea la versi√≥n en Castellano (pulse, por favor la bandera correspondiente, arriba a la izquierda)



Contents: Presentation

Who are we?
Purpose and scope of this website.

‚ÜĎ Symbol reconstructed by Chaves and Puerta (1978) of a painting of Tomb NSA6, Alto of San Andr√©s

Contents: Basics

Practical information on visits to Colombia and Tierradentro. Profile of Visitors. Local tourist services.

‚ÜĎ "Salamanders" reconstructed by Enrique Grau from Tomb NA0, Alto de El Aguacate.


Latest News See more news
Reopening of hotel. August, 2th 2009. the Minister of the Interior of Colombia inaugurated, under new administration and after complete refurbishing, the Hotel El Refugio. This hotel, which is property of the Government, had been closed for several years. See more
Management Plan. July 12th, 2009. The Cabildo (Council) of San Andrés is currently evaluating the agreeement reached between the Colombian Institute of Anthropolog and History (ICANH) and the University of Cauca, for the elaboration of the Management Plan of the Park of Tierradentro. See more

Contents: Archaeology

A series of introductory notes on different aspects of the monumental and contextual archaeology of Tierradentro. We talk of the Area of Alto Magdalena to which Tierradentro belongs, of the local chronology and of what archaeologists have said abourt the original creators. There are also some technical and comparative considerations on the type of funerary architecture present in the area and on the stone statuary.

‚Üź Fragment of ceramic representation of the most important symbolic animal of pre-Hispanic Tierradentro (Source. Salvat Editores, 1978).




Contents: Art in the Necropolis

The 78 open tombs of Tierradentro are outstanding for its complex architecture, sculpture and painting, all directly worked in the sheer volcanic rock. Introductory notes are presented on the art found the four Altos (hills), that constitute the necropolis, seen in comparative perspective. Some brief comments are added on the stone statues of the Park and of the surrounding area. See the gallery of photos.

‚Üź Embossment and "a sun" in bass-relief and red painting. Tomb NA22, Alto de El Aguacate.






Contents: Inside the Tombs


It is rather difficult to visit all the tombs in one day. A general and comparative introduction to the 78 open tombs in the four hills is provided attending to architectual complexity, sculpture and painting. A practical topographic coding and a typology of them is added, that facilitates visitor's decisions. Suggestions are made about which tombs to select for an introductory visit and why, having in mind different time schedules.See the gallery of photos.







Contents: The individual tombs and photo galleries

Each tomb has a brief description of its architectural structure, eventual sculpture and painting, and on its current status of conservation.This is a summary result of recent field work carried out by the main author of this website and of the study of available documentation.

Since visitors are forbidden to take flash photos inside the tombs, a gallery of selective art and conservation pictures is presented of each open tomb. Free access to high resolution copies can be arranged, for not commercial purposes, through the main author of the website. There are some ICANH¬īs restrictions on its use (ICANH is the Government institution in charge of the Park)






Contents: Maps
Several maps at different scales are presented to orient the visitor in reaching Tierradentro and in moving whithin. Practical comments are added to improve the service.
Contents: General Info
This section presents additional and practical information about topics such as the local population (Indians, Mestizos, etc.), the "spirit of the place" (human/natural landscapes), and several local attractions.

Contents: The local population

Local population is constituted by American Indians, most of them of the Nasa nation, mestizo peasants and towndwellers, and a minority of Afrocolombians. This section describes their communities, with emphasis on the Indians who have been in the area since pre-Hispanic times.



Contens: The spirit of the place

For many visitors the attraction of San Andrés, and of other local neighborhoods, is constituted not only the by archaeological relics but by the total combination of ancient and modern, natural and human, landscapes that make of the visit a unforgettable experience. A survey of the main features of thiese places or localities is made in the article.



Contents: Churches and other attractions

Another major attraction of the area is given by the 12 Colonial Mission Chapels of mestizo architecture of which the ones of San Andres (in the photo) and Santa Rosa have been restored. Recently, Guanacas library, constructed in giant bamboo (guadua) won a national prize of architecture. In this section we review some of these attractions.




Contents: Conservation

The tombs of the necropolis (and the stone statuary), as archaeological remains, are extremely vulnerable to to deteriorating factors, natural and anthropic (human-caused). A recent survey of the field, supported by a careful inspection of the the available official techical reports, indicates that the Park is suffering "a slow but incontestable process of deterioration" that can be aggravated by uncontrolled tourism. Some tombs need urgent intervention if we want to avoid irreversible damage.The section summarizes the findings of the survey and calls for international support. You can be of great help!






Contents: Stone sculptures

As part of the Alto Magdalena archaeological complex Tierradentro has its own stone statuary. It is not as spectacular as the one of San Agustin, but is another attraction of the Park. Some statues are exhibited in the Park and other are dispersed in the area.


Stone statue abandoned by the road to Inz√°, plain of El Hato.






Architect and archaeologist Alvaro Chaves Mendoza who advanced important studies in Tierradentro tombs has his relics buried in tomb NS20 one of the most complex and beautiful of the necropolis.







The Park, which was accepted in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in 1995 under registration number 743, is placed in Southwestern Colombia , South America.

Tierradentro is also the name of a province formed by two municipalities (Inz√° and P√°ez) where 60,000 people (Indians, mestizo peasants, and town dwellers) are ready to attend to your visit.

Tierradentro.info -(c)Elias Sevilla Casas PhD - Cali, Colombia - 2009