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Colombia is an ethnic mosaic, reflected in its culture, folklore, arts and crafts. The different roots and traditions of the Indians, Spanish and Africans have produced interesting fusions, particularly in crafts, sculpture and music. Pre-Columbian art consists primarily of stone sculpture, pottery and goldwork. Indian basketware, weaving and pottery date back to pre-Columbian times but now fuse modern techniques with traditional designs. Colombian music incorporates both the African rhythms of the Caribbean, Cuban salsa and heavily Spanish-influenced Andean music.


Colombia's literary giant is Gabriel García Márquez, whose works mix myths, dreams and reality in a style critics have dubbed 'magic realism'. García Márquez insists his work is documentary, which says a lot about the nature, rhythm and perception of life in Colombia. The best of Colombia's exciting new writers is Moreno Durán, who has been burdened with the reputation of being the best Latin American novelist to emerge since the regional upsurge in literary talent in the 1950s.


Spanish is Colombia's official language and, except for some remote Indian tribes, all Colombians speak it. There are also about 75 Indian languages still used in the country. While the education system includes English in its curriculum, it remains little known and rarely spoken.


Catholicism remains the dominant religion although over three million followers have recently left the Catholic faith and hooked up to other congregations (Anglican, Lutheran, Mormon, etc) or various religious sects.

Colobia Culture


Colombian cuisine consists largely of chicken, pork, potato, rice, beans and soup. Interesting regional dishes include: ajiaco (soup made with chicken and potato which is a Bogotano speciality); hormiga culona (a sophisticated dish, unique to Santander, consisting largely of fried ants); and lechona (whole suckling pig, spit-roasted and stuffed with rice, which is a speciality of Tolima). The variety of fruit is astounding, the coffee and beer more than adequate and the wine execrable.