Cerro Rico



Entrance into the magic mountain...



They are waiting for you inside...


At the entrance hole a patch of sprinkled llama blood. Sacrifice and lucky charm... Although we climb down only to the third of eight possible floors I am soon completely confused in this labyrinth and would be utterly lost without my young leader, a high school student, who earns in his spare time a bit of money by moving heavy wheel charts. Everywhere in the veins the black remainders of spit out coca leaves. The mineros do not live on much different food while at work.

Like all tourists he shows me the statues of the red and white Tio, a figure similar to our devil, with horns and gleaming eyes, the supay. That is worshipped by all mineros . But the affectionate name "Tio" (uncle) actually comes from a transmogrification of "Dios" = god, and in fact his character is not really satanical. But this creature of the underworld, that gets everyday a load of sacrifices (mostly alcohol and coca leaves) and which is one of the many lovers of the beautiful Pachamama, the big mother of the indian earth, such a creature may not be called by the name of the Christian God. It is again a bizarre mixture of all different kinds of religions that is preserved and maintained here. In any case nothing that would really please Jean Paul, if he'd know about it.

The beautiful Pachamama by the way found its reincarnation in the virgin Maria, which is why, apart from spanish traditions, the Lady Day, the Maria worship is so full of magnificent splendour here in the sierra.



----------------------------------------------- With a paraglider above the Inca roads -----------------------------------------------