El Peñón de Guatapé

The Rock of Guatape (Spanish: El Penon de Guatape), also known as the Stone of El Penol (Spanish: La Piedra de El Penol), or simply La Piedra or El Penol, is a landmark inselberg in Colombia. It is located in the town and municipality of Guatape, Antioquia. The town of El Penol, which borders Guatape, has also historically claimed the rock as their own and thus the monolith is sometimes referred to as the “Stone of El Penol” instead of the “Rock of Guatape”. The landform is a granitic rock remnant that has resisted weathering and erosion, likely as result of being less fractured than the surrounding bedrock. Penon de Guatape is an outcrop of the Antioquia Batholith. Near the base of the Rock, there are food and market stalls for shopping. About halfway up the stairs, there is a shrine to the Virgin Mary. The summit contains a three-story viewpoint tower, a convenience store, and a seating area

History : The indigenous Tahami, former inhabitants of this region, worshiped the rock and called it in their language mojarra or mujara (meaning “rock” or “stone”). The rock was first climbed officially in July 1954. In 2006, Luis Villegas, Pedro Nel Ramirez, and Ramon Diaz climbed the rock in a five-day endeavor, using sticks that were fixed against the rock’s wall. A new species of plant, named Pitcairnia heterophylla by a German scientist, was found on the top of the rock. A viewing spot was built on top of the rock, where it is possible to acquire handicrafts, postcards, and other local goods. It is possible to see the 500 km shore-perimeter dam. There are 740 steps to the uppermost step atop the building at the summit, a fact reinforced by yellow numbers also seen in the climb up the stairs. In the 1940s, the Colombian government declared it a National Monument.

Graffiti : On the northern face of the stone there are painted large white letters “G” and an incomplete “U” (only the single vertical stroke was completed). The towns of Guatape and El Penol had long disputed ownership of the rock, and the residents of Guatape decided to settle the matter by painting the town’s name on the rock in huge white letters. It did not take long for the residents of El Penol to notice the work, and a large mob was assembled to stop it. Only the “G” and part of the “U” were completed

Properties : The rock rises from the bottom of the hydroelectric dam of Penol-Guatape. This monolith was spotted as a border landmark between country farms and the two cities.

At its highest part, on the rear (southeast side), it has an elevation of 2,135 metres (7,005 ft) over sea level. with an average temperature of 18 °C (64 °F). The “Penol” has 22 cubic megametres (7.81020 cu ft) of rock mass and it is 285 metres (935 ft) long and 110 metres (360 ft) wide. It has some rock breaks, one of which was used for the construction of the 650 stairs that can be used to go to the top.

Access : Coordinates : 6.22, -75.179444 / To/From Medellin: Direct buses from Medellin leave from the Terminal del Norte (directly connected to the Caribe Metro Station), passing through El Penol and the entrance to La Piedra on the way to Guatape (about two hours). Two companies provide service: Sotrasanvicente,  861-0595, and Sotrapenol,  851-5912. Each company provides service approximately every hour starting at 6am. The average fare is 12,000 COP . Many buses continue to San Rafael. The last bus from Medellin to Guatape is at 7:00pm. The last bus from Guatape to Medellin is at 6:30pm (7:45pm on Sundays and Holiday Mondays).


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