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Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a secluded mountain range separated from the Andes that runs through Colombia. Reaching an altitude of 5,700 m just 42 km from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada is one of the world's highest coastal ranges. The Sierra Nevada serves as the source of 36 rivers. The range is in the Departments of Magdalena, Cesar, and La Guajira. 

The highest point of the Sierra Nevada group (and Colombia in general) may be either Pico Cristóbal Colón or Pico Simón Bolívar both in the towns of Santa Marta and Aracataca; it has yet to be determined which is higher.

The main pillar of the Andes cannot be reached from the Sierra Nevada without dropping below this level. This makes its highest point the world's fifth most important summit.

Indigenous Peoples in the Sierra

On its mountains live four separate but related communities or reserves: the Arhuaco, Wiwa, Kogi, and Kankuamo. Together they reach more than 30,000 people. 

They call themselves ‘the older brothers’, and believe that they have a mystical wisdom and understanding which surpasses that of others. They refer to outsiders as ‘the younger brothers.’ 

The older brothers believe it is their responsibility to maintain the balance of the universe. When there are hurricanes, droughts, or famines around the world it is said that they are the cause of human failure to keep the world in harmony.

Balance is achieved by making offerings to the sacred sites to give back to the earth what is taken out of it.

Mamos

Spiritual leaders are called Mamos. The Mamo is responsible for maintaining the natural order of the world through songs, meditations, and rituals. 

Mamo training begins at a young age and continues for around 18 years. The young male is taken high into the mountains where he is taught to meditate on the natural and spirit world.

In Western culture, the Mamo could be seen as the priest, teacher, and/or doctor. 

 

 

 

 



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