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Cuevas de Punta del Este

On your trip to Isla de la Juventud do not miss Punta del Este Caves, also known as the Sistine Chapel of Rock Art in Cuba.

Cuevas de Punta del Este
Cuevas de Punta del Este
© burossealain

The Cuevas Punta del Este (Punta del Este Caves), with an are of 33 km2, are located at the southeasternmost point of Isla de la Juventud.

The first pieces of data collected about Punta del Este Caves are from 1903, but it wasn’t until 1922 that some elements of archaeological interest were found, specifically a pre-Columbian temple found by the Cuban scientist Fernando Ortiz. Many years later, in 1967, official efforts towards the rescue and conservation of the caves began, although they had been razed by previous settlers to whom the caves had been home.

Along the walls and roofs of the five large caves, scientists have found more than 230 pictograms that have been the reason for it to be named the “Sistine Chapel of Rock Art”. According to some studies, these paintings date back to before the year 850 BC. The designs are lineal, abstract and geometrical, and symbolically have black and red as their prevailing colours.

The best-known piece is a solar calendar made up of 28 concentric circles with a red arrow between them. When the sun enters the main cave, it follows the astral route illuminating different sections of the mural.

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