A Double Level Landscape, Studies for Documenting Chima Territory: The Opposing Juxtaposed Contradiction

Massimo Leserri, Merwan Chaverra Suárez

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter as a result of researchpeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Landscape as a set of elements from a territory related to each other, is an interpretation instrument in which a vision of patrimony, culture and collective identity is built. Identification of these elements is fundamentally linked to acknowledge and characterize a land, its population, and material and immaterial cultural heritage. A landscape that cannot be observed but, in which actions and natural and human interactions, can be defined through emotional experience that occur when traveling. In this sense, landscape of Ciénaga Grande de Chimá [Spanish for Large Marsh of Chima] has a double territorial configuration that juxtaposes in time, i.e., on the one hand, dry landscape (lacustrine in dry season) contrasts with the watery landscape on the other (lacustrine in rainy season), a region’s geomorphological contradiction established by layers and water levels where population is adapted to both dry land and water. A natural condition that allows people to be regarded as amphibian communities. Chima means “Pretty Land” in the indigenous language. The municipality is located on the northwestern part of Cordoba Department in Colombia; in the marsh complex of the lower Sinú river and with an area of 33,668 km2. The region has a predominant thermal ground of dry tropical forest, a relief of plains, slight undulations and geological formations of small height. The territory was part of the old Finzenues’ province, which people has kept traditions and funeral beliefs of the Zenúes’ community. This prehispanic culture built a system of drainage canals and artificial ridges that allowed the community to adapt to floods and preserve irrigated crops. This majestic adequacy of hydraulic engineering caused a modification in the landscape by establishing spatial patterns of artificial platforms in the land, which started to dissapear in the second half of the sixteenth century when Spaniards and other cultures arrived during the conquest. Nonetheless, this research aims, by means of cultural-religious itineraries, at recognizing the most significant elements of this marshy complex to rescue orientation sense and values of greater religious, symbolic and natural identity from its people, especially, the Zenues communities present on the banks of Ciénaga Grande from the Lower Sinu region, without losing contact with water levels variation occurring in separate times of the year. This juxtaposed contradiction of water levels in the land, suggest understanding and representing different forms of the same changing landscape, where observation and travel allow to read and reveal, in this first approach to research, the constant and recognized elements by the indigenous community, despite changes and transformations suffered over time. The research study, based on oral tradition and territory observation, allows to develop and establish a first form of documentation on the landscape of the marshy complex from the Lower Sinu region in Chima.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
    PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
    Number of pages12
    StatePublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
    ISSN (Print)2366-2557
    ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


    • Cienaga grande de chima
    • Juxtaposed contradiction
    • Landscape
    • Water levels


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