Altiplano Cundiboyacense

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Altiplano Cundiboyacense
Arcabuco Rural Detalle.JPG
Typical landscape of the Altiplano, near Arcabuco, Boyacá
Country  Colombia
States Cundinamarca, Boyacá
Part of Andes
Cities Bogotá, Tunja, Sogamoso, Duitama
River Bogotá, Chicamocha
Elevation 2,600 m (8,530 ft)
Capital Bogotá
Highest point
 - elevation 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
Lowest point
 - elevation 2,000 m (6,562 ft)
Geology Paleozoic-Holocene
Orogeny Eastern Ranges, Andes
Timezone Colombia Standard Time (UTC-5)
Topography and outline of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense
Petroglyphs discovered in Sáchica

The Altiplano Cundiboyacense is a high plateau located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes covering parts of the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá. The altiplano corresponds to the ancient territory of the Muisca. The Altiplano Cundiboyacense comprises three distinctive flat regions; the Bogotá savanna, the valleys of Ubaté and Chiquinquirá, and the valleys of Duitama and Sogamoso. The average altitude of the altiplano is about 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) above sea level but ranges from roughly 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) to 3,000 metres (9,800 ft).


Altiplano in Spanish means "high plain" or "high plateau", the second part is a combination of the departments Cundinamarca and Boyacá.


The limits of the Altiplano are not strictly defined. The high plateau is enclosed by the higher mountains of the Eastern Ranges, with the Sumapaz mountains in the south. The Tenza Valley is located to the east of the Altiplano.


The earliest evidence of inhabitation of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense has been found in El Abra, near Zipaquirá at 12,400 +/- 160 years BP.[1] Other ancient preceramic sites are Tibitó with an estimated age of 11,740 +/- 110 years BP and Tequendama dated at 10,920 +/- 260 years BP.[1] In the earliest ages of human population prehistoric animals as the Cuvieronius, Haplomastodon and Equus amerhippus were living on the Altiplano.[2]

The ages between 3000 and 1000 years before present corresponds to the Herrera Period, and the era between 1000 BP and 1537, the year of the Spanish conquest, to the Muisca Confederation.[1]

Present-day, due to the large population and agriculture of the Altiplano, the original vegetation is at risk.[3]

Rock art[edit]

Various archaeological sites with petroglyphs or pictographs have been discovered on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, among others in Bojacá, Bogotá, Chía, Usme, Cogua, Cota, Facatativá, Nemocón, Madrid, Mosquera, Sáchica, Sibaté, Soacha, Subachoque, Suesca, Tenjo, Tocancipá, Zipacón, Zipaquirá.[4]

Timeline of inhabitation[edit]

Timeline of inhabitation of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia
Tequendama Aguazuque Piedras del Tunjo Archaeological Park BD Bacatá Lake Herrera Checua Tibitó El Abra El Infiernito History of Colombia Spanish Empire Spanish conquest of the Muisca Muisca people Herrera Period Prehistory of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense Bochica Muisca mummification Ceramic Andean preceramic Muisca agriculture Hunter-gatherer
Altiplano Cundiboyacense.png


Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg

Muisca Confederation

Altiplano Cundiboyacense (subdivisions).png


Subdivision of the Altiplano, from NE to SW:
Duitama-Sogamoso Valley
Ubaté-Chiquinquirá Valley
Bogotá savanna

The Altiplano is subdivided into three major valleys, from northeast to southwest:

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is located in the centre of the Altiplano
Lake Tota, Colombia's largest lake is situated in the northeast of the Altiplano
The Tequendama Falls are the most impressive waterfalls of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, located in the southwest
Santa María del Lago wetland


Most important city of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense is the Colombian capital Bogotá. Other cities are, from northeast to southwest:


The Altiplano Cundiboyacense hosts a number of rivers and lakes.








The average temperature on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense is 14 °C, ranging from 0 °C to 24 °C. The dryest months of the year are from December to March, while rain is more common in April, May, September, October and November. From June to August strong winds are present. Hail is common on the Altiplano.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Botiva Contreras, 1989
  2. ^ Cardale de Schrimpff, 1985
  3. ^ Calvachi Zambrano, 2012
  4. ^ (Spanish) Petroglyphs on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense
  5. ^ (Spanish) Climates of various cities of Colombia