<< Previous Next >>

A shock for the Spanish conquistadors

A shock for the Spanish conquistadors
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4187 W: 17 N: 9780] (40376)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2016-08-01
Categories: Ruins
Camera: Canon PowerShot S1 IS
Exposure: 30 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2017-06-19 8:03
Viewed: 854
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] 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 http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas/el-infiernito-sacred-site-muisca-civilization-colombia-003975

holmertz, swapankumarroy, ikeharel, ChrisJ, Fis2, PiotrF, papagolf21, jhm, alvaraalto, rychem, Cricri, lousat, batalay, mcmtanyel, pajaran, maloutim has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekEarth members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekEarth members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To alvaraalto: Grensstreek met VenezuelaPaulVDV 1 2017-06-20 06:45
To batalay: The Muisca CivilizationPaulVDV 1 2017-06-24 03:46
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hello Paul,
Once again i have learned something from TE today. I was not aware of this culture but you present it in three well composed photos. Furthermore the surroundings are very scenic, so this must have been a rewarding trip within the journey. Great colours and sharpness, as with all your photos from Colombia.
Best wishes,

Ciao Paul, great view of interesting archeologica site, excellent clarity, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

One important observation you made Paul, is this quote: "the legacies left behind".
It clearly maybe the only evidence to extinct-tribe who lived there prior to the Spaniards conquistadores era.
Well shown, the place looks preserved and cared.
Good evening,

Hello Paul,

Very interesting and well informative text about the Muisca architecture, the whole atmosphere is pleasant and charming with great color contrast and light.

warm regards,


  • Great 
  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 13581 W: 0 N: 16002] (167158)
  • [2017-06-19 9:52]


quelle vue et iamge quelle forme de ces statues sueprbe rendu sur la pierre et iagme dans ce champs avec les arbre de très anciennes pierres.
Bravo et maiité

  • Great 
  • ChrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 14077 W: 1033 N: 27980] (133668)
  • [2017-06-19 10:52]

Hello Paul,

A good trio of these enigmatic statues that remind me of lingam in Asian cultures, especially India, but also Thailand, Cambodia & Indonesia. The trees give an indication of size. Excellent sharpness, color and saturation. Tfs!

  • Great 
  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9329 W: 157 N: 14980] (121965)
  • [2017-06-19 13:19]

Witaj Paul!
Interesting place, stone columns make impression.
Good frame, colors and sharpness.
Well done.
Good night.

Ciao Paul
gli invasori pensavano di avere a che fare con degli uomini primitivi, ma qui la cultura era molto evoluta.
Il territorio è molto vasto e le cose da vedere sono sempre tante, difficile farlo durante una vacanza.
In ogni caso ti sei gustato questo sito che mi sembra molto interessante.

  • Great 
  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3818 W: 2 N: 6279] (31714)
  • [2017-06-19 14:35]

Hello Paul,
Interesting place with smaller stone columns.Thank you for informative notes.Photos in the workshop are also very interesting.
Good composition and quality, fine presentation.

  • Great 
  • dta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6044 W: 277 N: 11617] (89809)
  • [2017-06-19 14:40]

Bonjour Paul ,
sujet intéressant et particulièrement bien mis en image . Ca ressemble beaucoup à nos menhirs bretons .

Bonjour, cher Paul,
Ce archéologique est une merveille à l'état pur, ces pierres levées semblent défier le ciel depuis des siècles. La disposition fait penser à un parc paysager de la plus belle facture.
Très belle et très intéressante composition.

  • Great 
  • BennyV Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2444 W: 34 N: 4380] (24631)
  • [2017-06-19 22:37]

Dag Paul

Dit zou hoog op m'n lijstje staan als ik Colombia zou bezoeken. Een fascinerende plek mooi gefotografeerd.



Hi Paul,
Nice capture of these ancient structures. Interesting note, they had advanced knowledge of astronomy. Actually, a lot of ancient nations had but then, the Church, made them look evil...


  • Great 
  • Tue Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 8893 W: 57 N: 14898] (55184)
  • [2017-06-20 0:44]

Hallo Paul,
Prachtige foto van dit landschap met deze indrukwekkende stenen monumenten. De compositie is uitstekend en het berglandschap vormt een mooie achtergrond. De kleuren, zeker ook de vele schakeringen van de stenen, komen mooi tot leven in dit fijne zonlicht.

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24173 W: 523 N: 40384] (173922)
  • [2017-06-20 5:01]

Dag Paul,

U hoeft helemaal niet bescheiden te zijn over uw werk, want het is goed.
U toont geschiedeins op een volwaardige manier, en de samenstelling is eveneens volwaardig.
We leren iets, zien iets moois en de kwaliteit is ook perfect.
Uw twee extra foto's zijn iets extra gekleurd, maar helemaal niet storend.
Bedankt voor uw bijdrage.

Groeten uit een heet Oost-Vlaanderen,

Dag Paul
Al jouw foto’s van Colombia laten ziet wat voor een prachtig en fantastisch land het is, maar vandaag bleek toch weer dat het nog steeds ook een gevaarlijk land is. Nu door het bericht van de ontvoering van een Nederlandse televisieploeg. Gelukkig ben je heelhuids thuisgekomen om ons te laten zien hoe mooi en interessant het land ook is.
Groet Rob

  • Great 
  • rychem Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3248 W: 0 N: 7370] (54439)
  • [2017-06-20 8:18]

A very interesting subject and a splendid photo, very well composed, perfect depth and details, my compliments

  • Great 
  • Cricri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15276 W: 159 N: 26717] (140116)
  • [2017-06-20 9:29]

Bonjour Paul
C'était un beau séjour de presque un mois!
bel endroit historique qui fait penser a des menhirs
bonne qualité d'image, couleurs, deux intéressant WS
Belle soirée

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11567 W: 126 N: 20803] (107619)
  • [2017-06-20 11:32]

Hi Paul,very interesting post about this place not famous like others but still dedicated to astronomy. I'm just seen other things about precolombian era in Dominican Rep,so i'm interested to what happen's there too. 3 lovely pics made in the usual top quality and useful note too.Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9869 W: 144 N: 24747] (121217)
  • [2017-06-21 0:12]

Hello Paul Seeing the shape of this megalith the conquistadors could be shocked :). 24 days was quite a long journey but for bigger countries it can be not enough. Not possible to see everything. Pity fro San Agustin,. I have seen some pictures from there and they were very interesting.
Funny thing. When I told that I was going or I was in China recently, almost all people said: But you have been in China already! China is also a big country and still there are many places that I would like to see.

Kind regrad s Malgo

Hello Paul,

This is a fascinating archaeological site that I knew nothing about. The monoliths are somewhat reminiscent of the Mayan Ruins in Honduras, the Toltec Ruins in Mexico, and, if they are astronomical, perhaps the Avebury and Stonehenge. Were there any explanations about their astronomical alignments? It's good to learn something new, I had not heard of the Muisca that survived for a thousand years, but then like so many other civilizations just disappeared.

Warm regards,


Hi Paul,
I wonder why the rocks were so scary to the conquistadors?
Perfectly composed scene. The rocks make an intriguing foreground and a beautiful landscape opens up in the distance. Great light combines well with the thick clouds which are touching the mountains. Excellent post processing work which emphasized the details and colors, the clouds feel almost three dimensional and the rock also stands out of the picture.
Great reportage,

Hello Paul,
Interesting structures caressed by the trees. I like your light management and the DOF.

Dobro vece.
Lep pogled, interesantan i dobar tekst ...
Dobar rad sa lepim fotografijama u radionici, lepo pokazano, dobar kontrast i perspektiva, lepe boje, lepo uhvacen trenutak sa oblacima koji dolaze. Lep arheoloski lokalitet i zeleno drvece, lepa planina u pozadini.
Prijatno vece i mirna noc, sve najbolje.

Good evening.
Nice view, interesting and good text ...
Good work with nice photos in the workshop, beautifully shown, good contrast and perspective, nice colors, nice moment with the clouds that come. A beautiful archeological site and green trees, a beautiful mountain in the background.
Pleasant evening and quiet night, all the best.

Bonjour Paul,
Un post très intéressant sur la civilisation néolithique de Colombie.
On parle aujourd'hui beaucoup de mondialisation, mais elle existait déjà en ces temps anciens ! Ces alignements de mégalithes ressemblent étrangement à ceux de Carnac, de Stonehenge... et de bien d'autres en Europe et dans le monde...
Quant au choc des conquistadors (!) il est vrai que la religion chrétienne a voulu jeter l'opprobre sur tout ce qui était lié à la sexualité, alors que c'était aussi lié à l'Amour et au fondement de la Vie. Dieu seul sait pourquoi, car il ne s'agissait pas là du message du Christ !
J'aime ton POV acec ces deux mégalithes surplombant la vallée luxuriante et les montagnes dans le fond.
Merci du partage et bonnes vacances où que tu sois :-)

  • Great 
  • jmdias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10380 W: 175 N: 17502] (77779)
  • [2017-10-27 15:47]


I visited san augustin, an amazing place, but not this area in villa de Leyva. nice view of the area and excellent note explaining. TFS.



Calibration Check