Mythical Stories

The Madremonte

The peasants describe the Madremonte in different ways: she sometimes appears as a mossy and rotten woman, rooted in the swamps, living in the sources of streams and near large stones. She generally appears in areas of tangles and maniguas, with leafy trees and in jungle regions.

Some of her describe her with eyes sprouting like candles, large, with long hands and an impressive expression of fury, always dressed in sticks, plants, leaves and vines. Others describe her as a tall, stout, elegant woman dressed in branches, fresh leaves, fronds, vines and green moss, and with a tall hat covered with green leaves and feathers; her hair is covered with vines and moss that do not let him see her face, and also, because the hat with so many branches dull her face. She sometimes appears in the stubble turned into a bushy bush in movement that she angrily observes the humans passing through the jungle or the mountains.

The Madremonte attacks when there are great storms, winds and floods and storms that destroy crops, harvest, and livestock. Peasants say they hear her bellowing and infernal screams from her on dark, stormy nights. Sometimes they hear a sharp, deep, and penetrating moan, which mysteriously expands in the bush, amidst the thunder, lightning, and spark lightning. Some peasants believe that the floods and storms in the rivers are due to the fact that the Madremonte is bathing at the source of the streams; so, this water becomes cloudy.

The multiple descriptions found show us the fantastic richness with which they paint this legendary being that has a relationship with the ecological spirit of our peasants, until a few years ago when he had not yet awakened his undemeasured desire to wipe out the jungle to turn it into grass crops, where the trees stopped illuminating the landscape with the pride of their green foliage.

Some peasants believe that Patasola is the personification of a mother who killed her son and was condemned to wander the mountains. Another popular version says that she was a beautiful woman, much sought after by men, but perverse and cruel, who gave herself to debauchery, and that for this reason her leg was amputated with an axe and thrown into the fire in a bonfire made with corn cobs. The woman died as a result of her mutilation, and since then she has roamed the thickets of the mountains crying pitifully for comfort. She is enraged when she sees Christian men; she dislikes meeting the axe, the fire and the candle; likewise, she hates the comb and the machete. People, to protect themselves from it, carry dogs or other domestic animals.

The peasants say that if Patasola appears suddenly, it is necessary to remind him of the objects that served to amputate her leg: the axe, and the candle.

El Mohán, Moján Or Muan

The Mohán sometimes appears as a gigantic man with an abundant beard and hair, reddish eyes of intense brilliance like fiery embers, a large mouth, gold teeth, the burned complexion of an old Indian, and in general a very demonic appearance. He appears quite playful, in love, very obliging and serene. He chases the washer girls; by the Magdalena River, say the peasants who have seen him go down on a raft, playing guitar or flute, with great fright.

He is judged to be the creator of the music of whirlwind, bambuco, aisle, mucura, etc., and he is seen and heard playing musical instruments such as tiple, requinto, maracas, in the old style. His song is not known, “verses” are not attributed to him, nor is a poetic language recognized.

The peasants believe that the Mohán is cannibalistic, since he likes the blood of infants, who, after taking it from them, eats them roasted over litter bonfires. He likes beautiful and young women, mainly marriageable girls, whom he chases to take to rivers.

Around the puddles and on the rocks where he lives, he likes to guard his treasures in gold, precious stones, jewels, bracelets, nose rings and numerous jewels. Some say that he has an underground palace with many treasures, gold and precious stones.  Mohán is mischievous, a walker, a trickster, a witch, and a libertine.

He protector of forests and jungle animals. He appears in various anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures, with a mossy body, covered with lichens and ferns. Some peasants have seen him as a “Tree Man” on the move; others like a monster that appears with the figure of a giant monkey and always hairy and with a lot of moss and dry leaves.

When there is cutting down of forests, destruction of trees or burning of the natural environment, the Hojarasquín del Monte appears in the form of a dry trunk and remains hidden until the forest turns green. That is why many farmers have respect for the dry logs in the forests.

Leafhopper makes walkers lose in the forest. However, it sometimes happens that when you like a person, he shows you the way out of the forest; For this reason, many people invoke it to ask for help from the walker lost in the mountains. The peasants say that the footprints of the Forest Leaf appear as traces of the hooves of deer, tapirs, or others, to mislead hunters.

Indigenous Population

Before the arrival of the Spanish to Caldense territory, several indigenous communities subsisted, in chiefdoms distributed throughout the region, especially in the mountains near the Cauca River, due to the better quality of soils. As already mentioned, they were divided into headquarters, these governed by a Chief, who was the governor of the tribe or indigenous village.

In the North, in what is now Aguadas, Pacora, Salamina and Aranzazu, the Concuyes who the Spanish changed their name to Armados due to the golden clothes they wore, lived in this area as well as Los Pozos and Paucuras, which lived in the rivers of the same names, the Picaras and Carrapas, the latter occupying vast areas of the North and in the municipalities of Neira, La Merced and Filadelfia in the center, in the west, Riosucio, Supia, Marmato, Anserma, Belalcazar, Risaralda, San José and Viterbo inhabited the Cartamas, the Ansermas subdivided into many tribes, they lived from the southwest of Antioquia to the North of Valle del Cauca.

In the same way to the east, in Pennsylvania, Marquetalia, Marulanda and Manzanares the indigenous tribes were less numerous and therefore less recognized, some of them were the Marquetones and Pantagoras, who also lived in what is now known as the Magdalena Caldense, La Dorada, Norcasia, Samana and Victoria along with the Palenques and in the south of the department in what is now Villamaría, Palestina, Chinchina and Manizales lived the most developed indigenous culture of what is currently known as the Coffee Axis, the Quimbayas who they were famous for their production of high quality and beautiful gold pieces, recognized both nationally and internationally for the beauty of their sculptures.


The Petroglyphs El Dorado​

They are in the Salineros Village of the Arma district. Archaeological testimonies, inheritance of the Armas and Paucuras, indigenous communities that inhabited this region 450 years ago and left their mark on these stones. Although the meaning of the figures has not been determined, it is believed that the indigenous people shaped their cultivation work and certain rituals on the rocks.

One of the stories that cross the cardinal points of Aguadas, tells about a cave located at the top of the well, jurisdiction of the municipality of Pacora that is believed to communicate with the Petroglyphs, which can only be entered up to a certain point, which is If the line is crossed, it turns off and it is said that you will never return, guaqueros continue, even today, risking their integrity to find the great treasure Pipinta.

This method, consisting of chipping the surface, either by chipping the rock or scratching it; it tells stories that happened at that time, events that the first men wanted to teach or transmit to others and that, as they did not have a writing method, they had to “draw” their experiences. Also, the petroglyphs, were used to identify the goods of each one.

Thanks to the significance of these wonderful engravings, today we know the way of life of our ancestors, what they liked, their stories and much more; they are usually figures of animals, objects, spears, houses, people, figures that symbolize their gods and others still unknown; it is possible to find them in different sizes and surfaces.

Caldas Railway

The Caldas Railroad was a cargo and passenger rail network in Colombia, this transportation system supplied what is now called Old Caldas, connecting it with other railroad companies and allowing the easy transport of goods and passengers, between different regions of the country.

The beginning of the construction would be inaugurated on July 16 of 1915, in the place known as Puerto Caldas with a ceremony to which important personalities of the region arrived; the section between Puerto Caldas and Pereira Station, and during its first 10 kilometres, was in charge of the engineers Jorge Escobar and Alfonso Bernal, who despite numerous inconveniences associated with climatic factors that produced large overflows and floods of the Cauca River on the corridor Planned, and which in turn forced the implementation of unforeseen works such as sewers and bridges, would reach the La Marina station, near the town of Cartago, and deliver the line to the national government.

The First World War and the consequent decrease in coffee exports to the contending countries, caused the work to be postponed until August 1915, already under the authority of the Antioquia engineer Luis A. Isaza. Four years later the construction began and on July 2 of 1917, the first 10 km were inaugurated, leaving Cartago, in 1919, the section was inaugurated until the Villegas station, in 1923, the Pacific Railroad was connected with that of Caldas until reaching Manizales, passing first through Villamaria, at that time the route had ten tunnels with varying lengths from 25 to 105 meters. In 1929, it arrived in Armenia, in 1951, this railroad became part of the National Railroad Council and by 1959, a mob pulled up the railroad tracks in Pereira, leaving Manizales disconnected from the system, ceasing operations.

Manizales Air Cable​


The Aerial Cable was a means of transport that communicated Mariquita (Tolima) with the city of Manizales (Caldas). It was one of the most important engineering works carried out in Colombia, in response to the difficult topography of the region that made it difficult to build a railway.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the roads that communicated the city of Manizales, with the ports on the Magdalena River and the Llano del Tolima, were mainly the mule tracks, mainly those of Aguacatal and La Moravia. The first one crossed Herveo through its central part, entering through the Holdon path, on the border with Fresno, crossing the Aguacatal river, to which it owes its name, passing through its Municipal Headwaters and going up through the Paramo de Letras, towards Manizales. For its part, the Camino de La Moravia, crossed Herveo, to the east, on the border with the Municipality of Marulanda, entered through Padua (called Guarumo, at that time), coming from Fresno and Mariquita, advanced up the mountain range crossing the path from Mesones and going down to cross the Perrillo River, until we found the El Brasil path, where there were roadside inn and lodging for the muleteers and continued its journey behind the Cerro Bravo Volcano, in search of the city of Manizales.

La Camelia Station (El Cable) in Manizales:

In the first decade of the 20th century, an English company called The Ropeway Extension obtained a concession from the Colombian State to build an Aerial Cable, which would cover an approximate extension of 72 kilometres, linking the cities of Mariquita, in Tolima and Manizales in Caldas Department, generating in the region a modern means for cargo transportation and activating the trade of products and services between the two regions.

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