jueves, 6 de julio de 2017

El simbolismo de las formas: consideraciones para la lectura del antiguo arte cristiano, presente en la Iglesia Matriz y Basílica del Espíritu Santo de La Grita | Understanding Ancient Christian Art, the Basilica of the Holy Spirit (La Grita – Táchira State)










Texto: Samir A. Sánchez (2017)




Un marco histórico

El arte cristiano y su universo simbólico llegan a La Grita, el mismo día de su fundación como urbe. Hecho que, según las crónicas de la época, tuvo lugar el 10 o el 11 de abril de 1576.


Una vez fundada por los españoles la ciudad, la misma recibió el nombre de Espíritu Santo de La Grita. 'Espíritu Santo' por la devoción religiosa personal del fundador, el Capitán Francisco de Cáceres, y por fijarla como ciudad capital de la gobernación y capitanía general que le otorgara Felipe II en 1572, denominada 'Gobernación del Espíritu Santo', y 'La Grita' por el nombre geográfico que ya había recibido en 1558 el valle -que luego sería el emplazamiento de la ciudad- por parte de los primeros españoles que entraron en él.


En cumplimiento de las leyes de nuevo poblamiento dadas por la Corona española en 1573, en los actos fundacionales fue asignado, delimitado y preparado el terreno sobre el cual se edificaría la iglesia parroquial y las casas de Cabildo o Ayuntamiento.



Iglesia Matriz del Espíritu Santo de La Grita y Casas del Cabildo, La Grita, Estado Táchira (Foto: Memoria y Cuenta del Gobierno del Estado Táchira, 1957, reproducción con fines didácticos).



En cuanto a la iglesia, fue la segunda levantada en territorio tachirense, siendo la primera la parroquial de la Villa de San Cristóbal, en 1561.  Allí, se atenderían los servicios cultuales y sacramentales de los nuevos pobladores, quienes decidieron establecerse en ellas. Por ello recibieron la denominación de iglesia matriz o iglesia madre de las demás iglesias que se levantaron en las jurisdicciones de San Cristóbal y La Grita, cuyos territorios originales comprendían el actual Estado Táchira y otros que actualmente están integrados en los estados Mérida, Zulia, Barinas, Apure y en la República de Colombia (valles de Cúcuta y el territorio de San Faustino).


En el caso de la ciudad de La Grita, se conserva en documento el testimonio de una segunda ordenación de su urbanismo, hecho por el mismo capitán fundador. Fechado el 25 de abril de 1578, allí quedaron definidas las medidas de calles y cuadras o manzanas, la repartición de solares así como los espacios para la edificación de la iglesia y de 'las Casas del Rey' (Casas de Ayuntamiento o Cabildo y Cárcel):  



«Todos estos cuadrángulos de esta otra parte contenidos en la traza moderna que el Señor Gobernador Francisco de Cáceres hizo en el repartimiento. De los solares de la ciudad del Espíritu Santo, los cuales da a los vecinos, y otras personas en recompensa de los trabajos que pasaron en ayudar a pacificar a los Naturales de la ciudad por no haberles podido dar otra cosa, algunos de ellos, los cuales aquellos se obliga cada uno edifique las casas de su morada dentro del dicho término y si no la edifica que pierda dicho solar, y desde ahora, y para siempre jamás daba para ellos y sus hijos y herederos y sucesores para que hagan y dispongan conforme a su voluntad como cosa propia, según y como por la Orden que Su Majestad les hace merced, sin exceder, ni faltar un punto, lo cual confirmo para perpetua memoria y  para que esta traza no perezca y siempre esté fija y permanezca mandó se pusiese y fijase en el Libro de Cabildo y en el Archivo de esta ciudad, toda la cual traza así de solares y plaza y anchura de calles ha de ser de la forma y orden siguiente. / Han de ser las calles veinte y cinco pies en ancho, y los pies de doce puntos. La Plaza ha de ser de doscientos y cincuenta pies en anchos con calles, y cuadrada toda ella de manera que de pared a pared ha de haber doscientos y cincuenta pies, contando las calles como dicho tengo. La Santa iglesia de esta ciudad ha de estar hacia Caricuena y las casas del Rey a su lado, y los de más solares, como están señalados, entiéndase que una cuadra son cuatro solares, y un solar, ha de ser de doscientos pies de esquina a esquina, de manera que ha de tener en circuito la cuadra ochocientos pies, entiéndase que la cuadra donde está la Santa iglesia y las casas del Rey no ha de entrar otra persona, y asimismo en otras dos cuadras, no entren más de dos vecinos en cada una por ser angostas, como está señalado, y el dicho Señor Gobernador toma la otra cuadra angosta para sí lo que es su voluntad que todo se cumpla, guarde, ejecute / Item Que por cuanto todos los solares que doy nombro al compañero con quien linda y porque podría haber error, no valga sino aquellos son los que dan derecho. Los otros no, porque como llevo dicho podría haber algún error, que me ha parecido ser más cómodo los solares en la forma que van señalados: se hagan cuatro solares, prolongados en manera que  todos tengan las puertas a las calles reales, y a esta traza, tiene un solar cien pies de frente de doce puntos y cuatrocientos de largo. Asimismo se dio muchas estancias en los ejidos y fuera de él. Se dan con cargo que se cerquen y dejen caminos reales para los pasajeros y vecinos y Naturales y ganados y si algún daño hiciere, por él recibiere algún daño el ganado, el tal dueño de la Estancia pague el ganado doblado, por la primera vez, y así vaya doblando la pena, como fuere haciendo el daño, a otro ganado [...]» (FIGUEROA, Marco, El Táchira de Ayer y de Hoy, Impresores Unidos, Caracas, 1941, pp. 89 y ss. Archivo Parroquial de la Parroquia del Espíritu Santo de La Grita, Libro Racional, f. 187, de un traslado hecho por “el Ilustre Ayuntamiento y en fe de ello lo signo y firmo en esta ciudad de la Grita en siete de agosto de mil ochocientos años, de que doy fe. Aquí el signo. Juan Monzón. Escribano Público y de Cabildo”).



La fórmula establecida para el terreno de la iglesia no cambió nunca. Así, en los cuatrocientos cuarenta y un años de historia de la ciudad de La Grita, sobre el mismo espacio asignado a la iglesia, se han levantado y destruido o arruinado diferentes edificaciones o estructuras materiales, pero el uso para el cual fueron construidas una y otra vez, no ha sufrido ninguna alteración en el tiempo.



Tiempos de nostalgia

Resultaría en vano entrar a entender y valorar la estructura arquitectónica y ornamental de la actual iglesia-basílica menor del Espíritu Santo de La Grita, en 2017, si de forma previa no se conoce, comprende y valora -por igual- tanto la espiritualidad cristiana de la época como los orígenes artísticos de la obra, decodificando todo aquello que, en un profuso lenguaje simbólico, quisieron dejar sus autores a través de espacios, formas y volúmenes.


Para ello, se debe partir del conocimiento de su estructura y forma presentes. Edificada sobre el eje longitudinal de una planta basilical romana de tres naves, posee dos capillas laterales, techos en maderamen de pares y nudillos (hasta las reformas de 1959) sostenidos por pilastras dóricas con canaladuras, una cúpula abovedada y semiesférica, un imafronte clásico y una maciza y elevada torre lateral. Una obra material iniciada luego del terremoto de 1875 y concluida entre 1890 y 1915.


Sobre su actual orientación cardinal, por ser el primer símbolo cristiano que debía caracterizarla, ésta se ha mantenido por igual, invariable, desde 1576. El agrimensor urbano colonial –siguiendo una costumbre o ritual iniciado en las iglesias del paleocristiano, de orientar las construcciones sacras hacia el punto cardinal que marcara el sol naciente, hacia la ciudad santa de Jerusalén- debía trazar a regla y cordel el eje axial o recta fija de la planta rectangular de la iglesia, en un sentido determinado por los horizontes  este-oeste.


Así, el presbiterio o cabecera del templo daría hacia el oriente y la fachada o testera hacia el occidente. No obstante, las condiciones geográficas de un valle y meseta intramontana andina, correspondiente al espacio donde se edificaría la ciudad de La Grita, no permitieron esta precisión. Lo máximo que la geografía del terreno permitió acercarse al oriente, fue en un eje longitudinal en sentido sureste-noroeste, el mismo adoptado para las calles y cuadras o manzanas de la urbe.  


La estructura total de la iglesia, incluyendo las modificaciones ornamentales realizadas entre 1959 y 1963, aún se caracteriza por presentar las formas y volúmenes determinados en los planos de 1875 y fijados en 1915, sin alteración. Por lo cual, se consolida como un verdadero patrimonio o herencia cultural y monumental universal, irrepetible, digno de ser preservado para las generaciones venideras. Como un ejemplo, emblemático, de conocimiento y contemplación de la arquitectura clásica neorrenacentista en tierras americanas. 




Iglesia Matriz del Espíritu Santo de La Grita para 1930. Se observa la antigua techumbre de pares y nudillos, el arco de entrada a la capilla del Santo Cristo de La Grita (izquierda) y la puerta de acceso lateral o Puerta del Cordero (Foto: Rafael Vicente Dulcey, 1930, reproducción con fines didácticos).

Esas características originales que han llegado hasta nuestros tiempos, quedaron 'atrapadas' como en un daguerrotipo decimonónico, en el género o gusto artístico que ha sido calificado por los historiadores de arte como «la arquitectura de los tiempos de nostalgia». De esa vuelta nostálgica al clasicismo, a la relectura de las fuentes arquitectónicas griegas y romanas, y a su racionalismo constructivo.


En el caso del arte cristiano del objeto estudiado, este devino en una apuesta por representar, desde la monumentalidad de la antigüedad clásica, todas las verdades, dogmas y misterios de la fe, en el entendido que «Non est enimaliud Dei mysterium, nisi Christus» (No hay otro misterio de Dios fuera de Cristo), según lo exponía San Agustín. Así, sacramentos y misterios debían estar expresados en una narrativa continua visual estructural. Aquí el símbolo precedió a la forma, un hecho algo difícil de comprender en los actuales tiempos.



Hermenéutica del tiempo, fe y símbolos

Como se esbozó al inicio del anterior apartado, la distancia temporal que se interpone entre el sujeto que valora o juzga y el hecho histórico valorado o juzgado, obliga a desatarnos de nuestra mentalidad actual y contextualizar, colocándonos en la mentalidad y circunstancias de los ministros eclesiásticos de la época, de los alarifes constructores, artesanos pintores y escultores que levantaron la iglesia parroquial y basílica del Espíritu Santo de La Grita presente, quienes trazaron su inspiración original y vivieron la dinámica histórica que la produjo.  


Ante la interrogante que surge sobre el por qué se hizo como la observamos, la clave para cualquier respuesta que supere el nivel del juicio simplista y acrítico, viene dada o se encuentra al profundizar en la espiritualidad tradicional de la época: más que iglesia (del griego ecclesia, asamblea, lugar de reunión del pueblo de Dios, que es el sentido en la actual espiritualidad católica postconciliar, expuesto en el documento Lumen Gentium, de 1964 sin soslayar el sentido escriturario de «Casa de Dios» y lugar sagrado para el culto -cánones 1214 y 1220 del Código de Derecho Canónico de 1983), la misma fue entendida como el templo: una construcción griega o romana de la representación material del poder divino, o como una salomónica, donde prevalecía la primacía del culto por ser la morada de Dios y puerta del cielo, que refiriera la Escritura (Gn 28:17), lugar donde «habitaría el Nombre del Señor» (1 Re 8:29) o, según las visiones de Isaías y Ezequiel, donde los quicios y dinteles se conmovían ante la voz de los serafines que cantaban «Santo, Santo, Santo, es el Señor Dios de los ejércitos, llena está toda la tierra de su gloria» (Is 6:3-4). De allí que fuese edificada con toda la magnificencia y esplendor que se podía ejecutar.


De la misma manera, toda la obra, en forma y ornato, al igual que en la Edad Media, no quedó desvinculada de las exigencias pastorales de esos tiempos, de su sentido catequético: ser una biblia abierta para el creyente que la contemplara o entrara en sus espacios. Todo debía responder –con rigurosa disciplina- a una alegoría o símbolo, y cada uno de ellos estaba asociado con la ortodoxia católica, tridentina, de la revelación y la fe. Aquí no se permitían ni libertades artísticas de alarifes y artesanos, ni improvisaciones teológicas de los curas párrocos.



Fachada o imafronte y torre

La lógica explicativa nos coloca, en primer lugar, frente o ante la obra, el imafronte de los griegos. Por ello, sobrio y severo, su perfil denota una altura que va disminuyendo en la medida que su ancho se prolonga. Los trabajos de mampostería y cubrición fueron iniciados en 1911 y finalizados en 1914.


Su concepto artístico deriva del diseño de la fachada de un templo tetrástilo griego. Dos figuras geométricas tridimensionales simples la estructuran: un triángulo superpuesto a un rectángulo.


Con éstas se construía, en el lenguaje simbólico de los números, heredado de los pitagóricos y cristianizado por el románico medieval, un verdadero códice en piedra y argamasa para ser leído y entendido por el creyente y neófito, y permanecer oculto e indescifrable para el lego.


La proporción, orden y armonía del rectángulo (sección inferior), era la representación en símbolo de los cuatro textos de los evangelios. El triángulo (sección superior) –que ostenta en su vértice superior el agregado de una linterna crucífera ciega o cerrada así como dos acróteras en los vértices inferiores, resultaba en la alegoría de la Santísima Trinidad, del Dios uno y trino.


Así, los evangelios (rectángulo), en su contenido, se entendían como la perfección de la ley divina, natural y revelada aquí en la tierra, a través de Cristo. Esa nueva ley es la gracia del Espíritu Santo (titular de la iglesia, representado en el tímpano del frontón triangular en la figura simbólica de una paloma descendente, según se había descrito en el evangelio de San Marcos 1:10) dada a los fieles igualmente a través de Cristo, y que actúa por la caridad o el amor, el «Dios es amor» de la epístola de San Juan (1 Jn 4:7).


En esta misma lectura unitaria, las cuatro columnas dórico-romanas acanaladas, simbolizan a las cuatro columnas de la revelación y de la fe: los evangelistas Mateo, Lucas, Marcos y Juan.


Para ellos, desde una lectura del arte, la tradición cristiana del período artístico conocido como el románico, ya había transformado el número cuatro pitagórico por cuatro símbolos figurativos, el tetramorfos. Figuras asociadas a partir de la identificación de las mismas con las primeras palabras del texto de cada evangelio y, en consecuencia, con cada uno de sus autores: Mateo, con una forma humana alada (un ángel), por cuanto inicia su evangelio con la genealogía de Jesús; Marcos, por un león, al iniciar con el envío de Juan el Bautista a predicar a la región de Judea, cuyo emblema masorético o desde tiempos antiguos era el león de Judá; Lucas, un toro, por iniciar con el sacrificio que ofrendó a Dios el padre de Juan el Bautista, Zacarías, sacerdote del grupo de Abías en el templo de Jerusalén, y Juan, el águila, por cuanto inicia su evangelio con la palabra, el verbo que representa a Jesús, y que se asoció con el intelecto, con la facultad del pensamiento. Este, al igual que el vuelo y la visión del águila, resultaba la experiencia humana más elevada de aprehensión, abstracción, comprensión y reflexión.


Continuando con la lectura del arte de la fachada de la iglesia parroquial matriz-basílica de La Grita –desde el pensamiento cristiano de sus realizadores- se tiene que el creyente sólo podía entender o entrar en el conocimiento -representado en los repetitivos círculos concéntricos de las metopas de la cornisa y de la torre- de estos misterios divinos, a través de su alma. Era la única que podía traspasar la decadencia corporal y entrar al reino de los cielos con tres facultades que nunca morían: la memoria, el entendimiento y la voluntad, como lo enseñaba el antiguo catecismo tridentino del P. Jerónimo Ripalda, S.J.


De allí que el acceso principal al templo se diera a través de tres puertas y se colocaran sobre las mismas, por igual, tres óculos o vanos. A la iglesia matriz de La Grita, todo cristiano debía entrar corporalmente pero debía salir en espíritu. De allí el sentido de la forma y tamaño de las puertas, las mismas copiaban o adaptaban la estructura de los arcos de triunfo romanos de la época imperial. 


Los modelos más seguidos por los arquitectos para las nuevas y monumentales iglesias de Roma y luego de todo el mundo cristiano, fueron el arco de Tito, c. 81 d.C. (en el Foro Romano, de una única puerta o vano), el de Lucio Septimio Severo, 203 d.C (en el Foro, y de tres puertas o vanos) y el más elaborado, el de Constantino, en el 316 d.C (de tres puertas o vanos). Replanteados, esos nuevos y ornamentados arcos vendrían a simbolizar, en las fachadas de las iglesias, el triunfo del alma -ascética y moral, que los atraviesa- sobre el mundo.


Una antiquísima tradición religiosa, documentada desde la Alta Edad Media, acostumbraba a asignarle un nombre a cada una de las puertas de las iglesias, al momento de su consagración. Si bien, en el caso de La Grita se desconoce si se dio este acto, por norma, la puerta central o mayor llevaba el nombre del titular de la iglesia. De haberse dado en el caso estudiado, el nombre de esta puerta debió ser el de «Puerta del Espíritu Santo».


Al extremo izquierdo del observador, maciza y elevada, está la única torre. La misma marcó para muchas generaciones la identidad de la urbe. Allí, cumpliendo la función dual de campanario y reloj público, repite una forma geométrica simple, en ascenso constante y uniforme. Sobre una base cuadrada, la estructuran un paralelepípedo, dos cubos y una semiesfera de cierre, todos superpuestos.


Todas estas partes se visualizaban en lo simbólico –luego o seguido de su funcionalidad- como los escalones del ascenso gradual y triunfal del cristiano desde la tierra hasta el cielo (representado por la cobertura de cierra de la obra: una semiesfera rematada por la cruz calada). Allí el cristiano oirá gozoso las campanas de gloria que anuncian la presencia de Jesús resucitado, como señor del tiempo (reloj público) y de la historia.

Este contexto, circunscrito a las imágenes, los símbolos y el espacio ritual, era explicado por San Juan Damasceno (cir. 675 - cir. 749), cuando, en plena controversia bizantina de la herejía iconoclasta, defendía en sus homilías que: «La imagen es un recordatorio, de forma exacta como las palabras lo son a un oído adiestrado. Lo que un libro es para alguien que sabe leer, una imagen lo es para alguien que no sabe. La imagen habla a la visión como las palabras al oído; trayéndonos, a nosotros, el entendimiento» (M. H. Allies, St. John Damascene on the Holy Images, London and Philadelphia, 1898, p. 19. Migne, PG, XCIV, col. 1248).  



Recinto interior y presbiterio

Traspasado el umbral de la fachada, se tiene que el espacio interior de la iglesia matriz del Espíritu Santo de La Grita está distribuido sobre un diseño basilical –o de planta rectangular-, con dos capillas perpendiculares al rectángulo anexas, reformadas (en 1963) y de antiquísima tradición: la del Santo Cristo de La Grita y la de Ánimas.


A su vez, ese rectángulo basilical se presenta dividido en secciones longitudinales que se denominan naves en la terminología artística sacra, por su asociación alegórica con la iglesia como la barca o nave de Pedro, que navega mar adentro sobre aguas turbulentas (Lc 5:4).


La central, la más amplia, elevada, con mayor iluminación natural desde la altura para simbolizar la presencia de un mundo superior, y con una focal visual directa al altar mayor, se denominaba nave mayor o nave de la asamblea, por ser el lugar donde se congregaba el pueblo; las laterales recibían los nombres, por su función litúrgica, nave de la Epístola (a la derecha de la fachada o izquierda del altar mayor) y nave del Evangelio (a la izquierda de la fachada o derecha del altar mayor).


Las pilastras clásicas originalmente sostenían las arcadas y un techo a dos aguas de pares y nudillos, el cual fue sustituido con un entramado metálico que mantiene la forma exterior de techo a dos aguas y sostienen la cubierta de tejado, original de fines del siglo XIX. Internamente, toda la techumbre de las naves fue cubierta (en 1963) con plafones siguiendo un estilo basilical romano neorrenacentista (o de cubiertas planas), siendo la que se observa en la actualidad.



Interior de la Iglesia Matriz y Basílica menor del Espíritu Santo de La Grita (Foto: Diario de La Nación, 1998, reproducción con fines didácticos).


Las gruesas pilastras exentas servían de representación simbólica-teológica de los doce apóstoles, «que eran considerados como columnas de la iglesia» según San Pablo (Gál 2:9), y por ello se colocaban doce cruces con una luminaria o candelabro, distribuidas junto a las columnas que se encontraban a lo largo de los muros internos laterales, las cuales eran bendecidas por el Obispo el mismo día de la consagración del templo en memoria de los apóstoles. La estructura continua de las arcadas, que recorren todas las pilastras, venían a ser la representación de Cristo que unía y congregaba a su pueblo bajo su égida o escudo (techos).


A su vez, las formas de las naves y macizos muros de tapia pisada, servían como aislantes del ruido del mundo exterior y acentuaban el silencio del templo, por demás simbólico del silencio que está pidiendo la presencia de Dios, en palabras del arquitecto alemán de la postguerra, Rudolf Schwarz (1899-1961).


El altar mayor, en un espacio rectangular y sobre un presbiterio elevado, venía a ser el lugar más sacro y el foco principal del diseño del recinto. Allí, originalmente en un altar neobarroco tipo retablo, se conservaba la reserva eucarística o el Santísimo Sacramento, y sobre ese altar se levantó, en 1890, la cúpula semiesférica, cerrada o sin óculos que aún cubre el techo del presbiterio. El primer domo que se construyó en el Estado Táchira y en los Andes venezolanos, siguiendo la técnica renacentista de anillos completos, actuando el último como cierre y clave de la bóveda. Asimismo, responde al modelo romano de cúpula perfecta por cuanto, al prolongar de forma imaginaria su sección inferior, genera o crea un círculo y una esfera.


Erigida sobre un basamento cúbico como símbolo de la esfera celeste y del empíreo, reproducía un modelo arquitectónico tomado de las tumbas paleocristianas conocidas como martyria. Las mismas eran construidas, como señal, sobre el lugar donde estaban enterrados mártires o santos, por lo cual, a la distancia, se convertía en un indicador visual que, bajo esa semiesfera en bóveda, se encontraba un altar o lugar donde -en el momento de la consagración y transubstanciación, o transformación del pan y el vino en el cuerpo y sangre de Cristo- el cielo y la tierra eran uno en ese punto, marcando la santidad del lugar, y por igual servía para mantener la memoria que allí descansaban restos de mártires y santos, en espera de la resurrección final.



Otro detalle que destaca bajo la cúpula, en la clave del arco toral que separa el presbiterio de la nave central y colgante de una cadena, es la presencia de una arqueta elaborada en plata que -en forma de paloma- reproduce un píxide de los primeros tiempos del cristianismo. 


En esos tiempos iniciales (siglo I al III d.C), los cristianos se reunían en casas para los servicios religiosos y para la conmemoración eucarística, las cuales se conocían como domus ecclesia (casa de la asamblea o casa de los convocados). El pan eucarístico que no se consumía, una vez terminada la celebración, era guardado en una caja pequeña -denominada píxide- que adoptaba diferentes formas simbólicas, entre ellas la de la paloma, como representación del Espíritu Santo, y que pendían de una cadena junto al altar, para luego llevarlo a los cristianos enfermos o  prisioneros que no podían ir a la ecclesia (asamblea).


El píxide en forma de paloma que se encuentra en el arco toral de la iglesia matriz de La Grita, es único en el Estado Táchira. Por las marcas de platería que presenta, con probabilidad fue elaborado a fines del siglo XVIII o en el siglo XIX. Se desconoce quien lo elaboró o dónde. En su interior se guardan documentos que hacen referencia histórica a las reformas que se han realizado en el templo.   



Color y ornamentación subsidiaria

En el proceso de restauración que se adelanta en la iglesia matriz de La Grita, el estudio estratigráfico a través del cual se pudo obtener el color o colores originales de la iglesia de fines del siglo XIX e inicios del XX, revela la presencia, tanto en exteriores (fachada y torres) como en el interior, de colores base como el amarillo, blanco ostra, el azul y el violáceo, entre otros.


El uso de los mismos, en la arquitectura religiosa cristiana hasta mediados del siglo XX, estuvo asociado directamente con el empleo de los denominados colores litúrgicos, que eran tomados a su vez de las denominadas, en la época, vestiduras sagradas o vestiduras de misa. Las mismas variaban dependiendo de las témporas o la división del tiempo en el calendario de la iglesia.


La liturgia tridentina eclesiástica -vigente en la época de la construcción de la iglesia matriz de La Grita-, en su Rituale Romanum, admitía generalmente el uso de cinco colores: blanco, rojo, verde, morado (o violáceo) y negro, más el azul y el amarillo, por privilegios particulares pontificios a las diócesis donde era tradición utilizarlos.  


Así, las rúbricas sobre el color prescribían que el blanco, símbolo de pureza y dedicación a Dios (Ex 28:39), se utilizara permanentemente en las vestiduras sacerdotales correspondientes al alba y, alternado, en la casulla, dalmática, capa pluvial y paño humeral, en las festividades de la Natividad del Señor, la Santísima Trinidad, la Transfiguración y Cristo Rey, entre otras. El azul para las festividades de la Santísima Virgen, en especial el día de la Inmaculada Concepción. El violáceo o morado para el tiempo de Cuaresma o previo a la Semana Santa (y por ello asociado en la edificación estudiada como símbolo de la presencia del Santo Cristo de La Grita) y el tiempo de Adviento, en señal de penitencia. El negro en el Viernes Santo y en todos los oficios y misas de difuntos. El amarillo para la solemnidad del Corpus o la fiesta del Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo. El rojo en las memorias de los apóstoles, mártires y en las misas votivas al Espíritu Santo. Y el verde, símbolo del peregrinar y de la esperanza del cristiano en su salvación, en todas las misas del tiempo ordinario.


Otras formas ornamentales, como es el caso de las figuras estilísticas subsidiarias presentes en la estructura externa de la iglesia del Espíritu Santo de La Grita, reproducen la medieval flor de lis, símbolo heráldico de María Santísima. Su ubicación, sobre los pináculos angulares –en color azul- del último piso de la torre, marca una lectura continua de la simbología de dicha torre, anteriormente explicada, al representar a María como llena de gracia y merecedora de compartir lo más alto, la gloria de su hijo resucitado.


Asimismo, la catena de ovos (o forma de huevo) encontrados en las balaustradas, uniendo cada pináculo con la flor de lis, y figura propia del arte griego clásico, en el arte cristiano vinieron a simbolizar el renacer de todo fiel que ha resucitado con Cristo a la vida eterna. Desde el siglo XII, en la iconografía medieval la forma oval o de huevo pasó a simbolizar la resurrección de Cristo y la nueva vida, de allí el origen de la tradición occidental de los denominados «huevos de pascua», que se intercambiaban al salir de la misa de la pascua de Resurrección, entre los feligreses.


De las formas ornamentales presentes en la cúpula, sobresalen cuatro pebeteros con llama, que se ubican en los cuatro extremos o esquinas del cubo que la sostiene. Según la tradición grecolatina, vienen a simbolizar el fuego sagrado, la llama o luminaria perpetua que debe brillar, de forma inextinguible, sobre todo lugar sagrado y -en el caso en estudio- dicho lugar estaba -y continúa estando representado- en el altar mayor con el Santísimo Sacramento y las reliquias de los mártires y santos con las cuales había sido consagrado ese altar mayor,


Para la espiritualidad cristiana tradicional (o anterior al Concilio Vaticano II), la flama o luz sobre los lugares de sepultura se colocaba a partir del sentido que la tradición de la Iglesia le daba a la antigua jaculatoria del «Requiem aeternam dona eis, domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis» (Concédeles Señor el descanso eterno, y brille para ellas la luz perpetua). Palabras del Introito o canto de entrada (Proprium) a la antigua misa tridentina para el oficio de difuntos, denominada litúrgicamente Missa pro defunctis, y que a su vez fueron tomadas por las primeras comunidades cristianas de Roma, del texto apócrifo conocido como Libro IV de Esdras (4 Esdr 2:34-35), en el siglo II o III de nuestra era, cuando recitaban -en salmodia- las preces del Réquiem. 


El otro aspecto, el del rito de colocar o 'sepultar' restos de mártires en la piedra no friable del altar mayor –dentro de una caja denominada lipsanoteca, ha sido de obligatorio cumplimiento desde el siglo VIII al momento de consagrarse una nueva iglesia en la cristiandad occidental. Esta costumbre está inspirada en un pasaje del Apocalipsis de San Juan: «Cuando abrió el quinto sello, vi debajo del altar las almas de los degollados a causa de la Palabra de Dios y del  testimonio que mantuvieron» (Ap 6:9).


La base superior cúbica de la cúpula fue ornamentada en sus exteriores con un friso clásico, dórico, en el cual, entre los triglifos y en el espacio correspondiente a las metopas, se colocaron rosetas. Si bien son propias del arte griego, siguen la lectura simbólica cristiana en el mismo orden que la presente en la torre: son la alegoría de María Santísima, la «rosa mística» cantada en las letanías lauretanas desde la alta Edad Media. Entendida como mediadora y último escalón para ascender al paraíso o al empíreo (representado por el domo o semiesfera de la bóveda).


El mismo friso, con rosetas estilizadas en sus metopas, recorre el perímetro superior final del muro de cerramiento que da a la calle 3. Una única entrada se abre en este muro: «La puerta del cordero», estructurada por vano en encuadre lineal con la capilla del Santo Cristo de La Grita, el «Crucifixus pro nobis» (Él fue crucificado por nosotros) de los textos paulinos. De allí que, sobre el dintel de la referida puerta y enmarcada por una sencilla lacería, se colocara la imagen del cordero místico o el cordero pascual apocalíptico, la representación simbólica de Cristo inmolado por el género humano (Ap 5:6-9 y Jn 1:29).




El Santo Cristo de La Grita, talla del siglo XVII; La Dolorosa o Nuestra Señora de las Angustias y San Juan Evangelista, esculturas de vestir, del siglo XIX con rostros y manos tallados en madera, en el altar de la antigua capilla, en la Iglesia Matriz del Espíritu Santo de La Grita (Foto: Rafael Vicente Dulcey, 1930, reproducción con fines didácticos).

Otra representación simbólica en los frisos clásicos dóricos de la fachada y de los dos cuerpos superiores de las torres, en las metopas o espacios que median entre los triglifos, es la del círculo concéntrico. Como fue explicado inicialmente, simbolizaba el conocimiento, y se repite en las fachadas de muchas iglesias tachirenses, construidas en la misma época.


Esta forma tiene, por igual, un origen en los templos griegos de la época clásica, dedicados a la diosa Atenea (para los griegos) y Minerva (para los romanos). Según los cantos de los bardos que recorrían los caminos de la Hélade o la antigua Grecia, esta diosa nació de la cabeza de Zeus (o Júpiter), ya adulta, armada con égida o escudo y lanza.


Igualaba en sabiduría a su padre y superaba en la misma a los otros dioses del Olimpo, de allí que se le conociera como la diosa de la sabiduría, y una de sus alegorías era el escudo circular concéntrico, el cual se asoció posteriormente con el conocimiento.


Al adoptar los alarifes y arquitectos del arte cristiano, los antiguos símbolos ornamentales presentes en la arquitectura grecolatina, la esencia conceptual alegórica del círculo concéntrico no se alteró y siguió representando a la palabra 'conocimiento'. No obstante, sí cambió el uso que tenía. Ahora, para el cristiano vendría a representar, en sus templos, un símbolo de la gracia divina, del saber o conocimiento teológico y revelado.



Fides quaerens intellectum

A manera de conclusión, en un mundo tecnológico e interconectado pero trivial y utilitario como el actual, cada vez más distante de la contemplación, el discernimiento o el pensamiento humanitas -profundo y crítico- así como de la imaginación creativa, el arte de la iglesia parroquial y basílica del Espíritu Santo, en la ciudad de La Grita, queda –superando su monumentalidad- como bien relicto de una civilitas o sociedad de realizaciones. De lo que una vez fue su instrumento de comunicación con lo divino, cuando lo arquitectónico, lo sacro y lo simbólico eran uno. Como un libro de 'pedagogía teológica en piedra' para ser leído por el hombre, solo inteligible a través de su espíritu, o el «Fides quaerens intellectum» (Quiero creer para poder entender) que expresara San Pedro Damián (teólogo y filósofo, 1007-1072) al interrogarse, admirado tal vez por el arte, las formas y los símbolos de la liturgia, cómo adentrarse en el asentimiento a la revelación de Dios a la humanidad.  



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© Proyecto Experiencia Arte | Experience Art Project 2012-2017. Algunos derechos reservados. Los derechos de autor de texto y fotografías pertenecen a cada investigador, fotógrafo, grupo o institución mencionada.





martes, 23 de mayo de 2017

The Tachiran Country: Táchira State Facts & History | Top 10+ things to know before you go to Táchira State



Oh, the land of simple love!
The highest land by hills surrounding
With aroma of rosemary and thyne,
myrtle, wild crab apple and basil.

Oh, the land of thousand sown fields!
Walled with stone and aged lichen,
There man and ox -eternal yoke-
In the desolated estival season, and day by day:
Turning his eyes towards blue sky high -same in a mirror-
Asking more than one question, from the furrow.



Excerpt from Cantos de sur y norte (1954)

Manuel Felipe Rugeles, Tachiran poet, 1903-1959.
English translation (with no English versification): Samir A. Sánchez, 2014.



Esta es la tierra del amor sencillo,
tierra que entre colinas se destaca,
con su olor a romero y a tomillo,
a arrayán, pomarrosa y albahaca.

Esta es la tierra de los mil sembrados
y los cercos de piedra y limo viejo,
donde el hombre y el buey -eternas yuntas-
en días de verano desolados,
mirando al cielo azul, como un espejo,
desde el surco lo llenan de preguntas.

Cantos de sur y norte (1954, fragmento).
Manuel Felipe Rugeles (poeta tachirense, 1903-1959)
_____________________________________________________




To Fr. Pedro de Aguado, OFM (1538 - Early 17th Century)
The Forgotten First Person to describe the Tachiran Landscape, uncommemorated by a monument in Táchira State. 





Táchira State Facts & History
Estado Táchira, Spanish Official name




The Andes Frontier State

Written by Samir A. Sánchez (2015)
For Spanish-speaking World (2014)









Welcome to the Táchira! Bienvenue au Táchira!... more Táchira than ever
From San Cristóbal City, our cordial capital, in Santiago Valley, at the foot of the Sierra de la Maravilla Mountains, I greet the reader of this essay and invite her or him to undertake the journey -going the distance- through our ancient land and enterprising State of Táchira, that links our noble past -from the earliest times the land of Táchira has left its mark on the pages of history- with our meaningful present.
From the crags of the misty highest Andean to the luxuriant tropical forest of lowlands of Lake Maracaibo, from the blistering lands of the border to the highest peaks of the superb Uribante, from the rolling hills of the south to the lower mountains of the inland Táchira Depression, Táchira State shows a never-ending Kaleidoscope of views and vistas.
Most of all, think of Táchira and you'll conjure up images of industrious highlanders, verdant landscapes, mist, aromas of coffee, lonely Andes kettle lakes-rich in myths, folktales and legends, the birthplace of presidents, gold and black football/soccer team, the ox & plough, entrepreneurial spirit and magnificent scenery.
All of these are part of the fabric that makes up this unique land, because all of these capture the essence of the Tachiran culture in forms, words, and symbols. Táchira lends itself to exploration in countless different ways, each an adventure of discovery rich in unforgettable experiences -though language skills and a cagoule may be worth packing-.
Tachiran people use the definite article in front of noun 'el Táchira' because they add emphasis to the hearer/reader that they are referring to 'Táchira' like only one or there is only onethis land is unique, is far more than a state; it is a cultural homeland. Equally forever, as a symbol of hospitality and a way of extending friendship, when you visit our homeland, we shall offer you 'un cafecito', a black, thick Tachiran coffee in a very small cup. The best coffee in the world. Definitely! 
The State of Táchira, as a creative people, has long been a commercial and agricultural hub which has thrived while maintaining a unique regional identity. So, using ethnographic anthropology and by analogous description, the Tachiran people is known as ‘the Basques of Venezuela’, for their transcendent and indomitable free spirit; by their love to their own millennial mountains and by their dedication and hard work. From that entrepreneurial, strong and courageous spirit, Táchira was able to mark the times of an entire Nation.
In sum, we invite you to know at this land through these facts. See what has been created and what potential there is for the future. We are happy to Welcome you to the Táchira State and invite you to see for yourself what has been accomplished. We are happy to greet you with the Tachiran traditional greeting ‘¡Bienvenidos, esta es su casa!'
Samir A. Sánchez

El Remanso de Santiago Estate, Sierra de la Maravilla, January 2015. 

Geographic location: Táchira, one of the West States of Venezuela, northern South America. The old Tierra Firme-The Spanish Main. The Andes Mountains is major geographical feature of Táchira and it is bordered on the west by de Colombian department of ‘Norte de Santander’ or North Santander.



Venezuela... Tierra de Gracia, the Earthly Paradisethe Spanish Main or 'Tierra Firme'. Columbus here believed that he had found the Garden of Eden, in 1498. The Spanish possessions in the West Indies, Venezuelan, Colombian, Guianan, Central American and Mexican coast. ‘Terra Firma, Guiana and the Antilles Islands’ by H. MollGeographer, 1732. Special tear-out old map, El Universal Newspaper, Caracas, September, 2004, image for educational purposes.


Total area: 11,100 sq. km/4,284 sq. mi (slightly larger than Jamaica). Táchira State has the shape -metaphorical- of piel de toro-bull's hide.  


Boundaries: the state lines are Zulia State on the northern; Apure and Barinas States and border country with Republic of Colombia to the S; Mérida and Barinas States to the E; Zulia State and the North Santander Department (Colombia) to the W.  

Extreme points of the Táchira State: Northernmost point is located at the confluence of the Grande and Escalante rivers (Panamericano Municipality); Southernmost point is located at the confluence of the Burgua River and Los Pensamientos stream (Fernández Feo Municipality); Easternmost point is located at the confluence of the Doradas (Old channel) and Caparo rivers (Libertador Municipality); Westernmost point is located at the east bank of the Táchira River in front of Cerrito Hill, Sabana Larga hamlet (Pedro María Ureña Municipality).  Táchira State has an extreme lenght from north to south of about 147.88 km/91.88 mi and maximum width from east to west of about 129.03 km/80.18 mi.




Reminders of a Bygone Age... From the earliest mists of antiquity the First Tachiran Art or Tachiran Indian Art. A way of looking at and representing the world. 'Escrituras Ancestrales' or Ancestral Scripture (patinated iron, 110 x 400 x 25 cm or 43 5/16 x 157 31/64 x 9 27/32 in) by Carlos Cruz Acero, Tachiran sculptor, known for his cast and forged iron works. Museum of Anthropology in San Cristóbal or ‘Museo del Táchira’. Natural Sciences building, entrance room. Photograph by Santiago Xavier Sánchez. (February 7, 2015)


Time Zone: Venezuelan Standar Time (VET) or UTC (-04:00 time zone America/Caracas).


Táchira State UTM zones: 18P and 19P   

Population: 1,168,908 (2011, Venezuela's Official Statistics Office).


Population density: 105, 3 persons per sq km / 272.2 persons per sq mi (2011 estimate).   

Venezuelan rank: 5 (2011). 

Urban population distribution: 77 percent (2011 estimate). 

Rural population distribution: 23 percent (2011 estimate).  

Life expectancy: 79.9 years (2011 estimate).

Antipodes: The point on the earth's surface that is located on the globe diametrically opposite to the Táchira State, and joined with an imaginary straight line that passes through the centre of the earth and 180° of longitude, between the two points, is on an large expanse of salt water (11,100 sq km/4,284 sq. mi) of the surface of Indian Ocean, in the Java Trench (7,125 m/23,375.98 ft), southwestern Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, in Indonesia. Not far off in space, the night of August 26-27, 1883, Krakatoa (Krakatau) Island (now Ujung Kulon National Park) was destroyed by a volcanic eruption and an explosion in the eruption series produced one of the loudest noises in history and it was heard at a distance of 4,800 km (3,000 mi).

Demonym: Tachiran (Adjective, of Táchira State: relating to Táchira State, or its people, accent or culture. Plural: Tachirans). [Français: Tachirien; Deutsch: Tachiranisch]. Tachiranness (uncountable), the quality or state of being Tachiran (of or pertaining to Táchira State). The Royal Spanish Academy introduced and incorporated the word 'tachirense' into the Dictionary of the Spanish Language, since 1967. 

Capital: The state's largest city and capital is San Cristóbal [IPA: saŋ kɾis’toβal]. Seat of San Cristóbal Municipalitiy, the city is located along the Torbes River (ancient Tormes) and perched upon the hills -on a serie of steep hills- of Santiago Valley. Its historical and official name is Villa de San Cristóbal-Royal town of Saint Christopher. The Spanish Conquistador Juan Maldonado y Ordóñez de Villaquirán erected the city on Monday, 31 March 1561 (O. S.) to the southern end of the Santiago Valley. San Cristóbal is 829 m/2,719.95 ft above sea level (the Bolívar Square determines the city position's altitude above sea level. Focal point is located in the square centre). San Cristóbal is governed by a nine-member city council and a mayor, elected by the voters to serve four-year terms. The mayor is elected on a citywide basis, while the council members are elected by five civil parishes. The San Cristóbal Municipality is governed by the mayor and members city council.

Population within city limits as of 2011: 263,765

Population  of metropolitan area as of 2011: 355,978
  



Old knight and horseman who on high at dawn in an empty square controls a bronze steed through time... as Borges wrote. Venezuelan sculptor Arturo Rus Aguilera created this equestrian statue of Spanish conquistador Captain Juan Maldonado y Ordóñez de Villaquirán (1525-1572), founder of the San Cristóbal city 31 March 1561 (capital of the Táchira State). The historic foundational site of San Cristobal city is on a promontory or hill, about 825 m (about 2,706 ft) avobe sea level, bordered on three land sides and four side by a gorge in the Bermeja Creek. Captain Juan Maldonado is the same creator or space-maker of the present-day Táchira State, for reason that it has the same boundaries as the historic boundaries of San Cristóbal city (of the 16th-century). The Spanish rule period over Tachiran land had been from 16th to the 19th-century CE. Sculpture cast in bronze (with a rough finish), stands in old Plaza Mayor of San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal’s Main Square) renamed Juan Maldonado Square in 1961. The statue was dedicated in January 20, 1977. (Photograph by Experiencia-Art Project/Proyecto Experiencia Arte. Samir Sánchez, 2015)

City Nickname: San Cristóbal is nicknamed 'La ciudad de la Cordialidad' or 'Ciudad Cordial'/'Cordial City' (the city with the most friendly Venezuelan people). 

Largest Tachiran Metropolitan Area or Greater San Cristóbal: San Cristóbal-Táriba-Palmira-Cordero-San Josecito-Capacho Nuevo-Capacho Viejo. Population: 619,743. Area: 1,808 km2/697.46 sq.mi (2011).  

Conurbations: San Cristóbal-Táriba-Palmira, Independencia (Capacho Nuevo)-Libertad (Capacho Viejo), San Antonio del Táchira-Ureña-Aguas Calientes, Lobatera-Michelena.  

Olddest cities and towns: San Cristóbal (1561), La Grita (1576), Lobatera (1593) and San Antonio del Táchira (1724).  

Newest cities and towns: Santa Ana del Táchira (1888) and San Rafael del Piñal (1962). 


Largest cities, with population: San Cristóbal 355,978 (2011 estimate); Táriba 128,590 (2011 estimate); Rubio 87,300 (2011 estimate); La Grita 80,110 (2011 estimate); San Juan de Colón 68,300 (2011 estimate); San Antonio del Táchira 61,630 (2011 estimate).





The Urban Beauty... Plaza Bolívar de San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal City's Bolívar Square) The equestrian statue, an approximately eleven-feet-high sculpture (or 3.15 m) cast from bronze, depicts The Liberator Simón Bolívar in a commandant pose astride his war-horse. The Liberator had his Army Headquarter at San Cristóbal City in 1813, 1820 and 1821, during the Venezuelan War of Independence from the Kingdom of Spain (1811-1823). This imposing bronze stands on top of a classic marble pedestal and it is one of the most well-known pieces of public art in the capital. The sculptor was Francesco Pigna (Florence - Italy) and it is a version of The Liberator Simón Bolívar equestrian statue of Emmanuel Frémiet (1910) being the year of the casting 1928. The unveiling, by Tachiran President of State General Juan Alberto Ramírez, took place in May 20, 1929 to commemorate one hundred years of epic life and decease of The Liberator Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) and the cost of the statue was paid for by public subscription. This monument was restored in 2017. (San Cristóbal Downtown, Photograph by Sonia Becerra, 2017)


National Interstate Highways (one lane and two lanes in each direction) in Táchira State: Troncal N° 1 (Interstate 1) or Pan American Road (from San Antonio del Táchira to Puente Escalante, state line with Mérida); Troncal N° 5 (Interstate 5) or Carretera de los Llanos (Plains Road, from San Antonio del Táchira to Punta de Piedra, state line with Barinas); Troncal N° 6 (Interstate 6) or Carretera de Machiques-La Fría (Maracaibo Road, from La Fría to Boca de Orope or Orope Mouth, state line with Zulia); Troncal N° 7 (Interstate 7) or Carretera Trasandina (Trans-Andean Road or First Road, from San Cristóbal to Páramo de la Negra or La Negra Mount/moorland, state line with Mérida).


State Road Network (Lenght, 2011): 3.474 km/2.158 mi (paved, 1.773 km/1,101.12 mi; unpaved, 1.701 km/1,056.16 mi)

Highest road: The highest road in the Táchira State carriers drivers to the top of Páramo La Negra (Mount La Negra) 3,050 m/10,006 ft. This route throught the Andes mountains (Trans-Andean Road) was opened in 1925. This focal point is the pass from Táchira State to Mérida State. The Spanish term 'páramo(from Sanskrit. par-amá, 'the most distant') is used in this region to describe all beak and drizzle passes or cold and desolate places in hightest mountains in the Andes.

Lowest road: The lowest road in the Táchira State carriers drivers to Boca de Orope stream with Zulia River 29 m/95 ft. This focal point on La Fría-El Guayabo road is the pass from Táchira State to Zulia State. 

Political division: For local governmental purpose Táchira State is divided into 29 municipalities (with 54 civil Parishes, the municipalities are subdivided into parishes). 

Language: Spanish (or Castilian), the regional dialect and accent of Tachiran speakers is easily identified between various Venezuelan Spanish accents. The Táchira Spanish dialect show properly speaking without phonetic errors and it is spoken -with a way of pronouncing words- in a special highlander accent. Táchira long remained isolated from the rest of Venezuela, this isolation enabled 
Táchira to develop its own distinctive dialectical voice. Some of the most important linguistics and phonetics concur with classifying the Tachiran dialect like dialecto de las tierras altas (conservador)/Highlands dialect (conservative or classical Castilian) for its predominance of alveolar allophones opposed to the dialecto de las tierras bajas/Lowlands dialect (radical or sounds cool) with predominates velar allophones. Thus, Tachiran Spanish is basically standard (Venezuelan) Spanish but with a Tachiran accent and some unique Tachiran words. 

Táchira State is usually formal in most regions as far as direct address is concerned. Many speakers use ‘usted’ (the polite second-person-singular) almost exclusively –even as a farm animal or as a pet-. Not only is this case within the family, but some relatives speak to each other or friends as ‘esta es su casa’ (this is your house), ‘su carro’ (yours car) or typical idiomatic expressions as ‘¡siga adelante!’ (to invite one to enter), ‘¡a la orden!’ (to invite one to ask) or ‘¿en qué le puedo ayudar?’ (What can I do for you?).



Origins, past & presentthe Roman Catholic Cathedral of San Cristóbal. Old St. Christopher and St. Sebastian martyrs Parish Church. Present-day, the Cathedral's Sagrary Parish also known in Spanish as 'La Catedral' occupies an important and awe-inspiring viewpoint high above east side of the Captain Juan Maldonado Square (The Old Plaza Mayor or Main Square) in the Historic Quarter of the San Cristóbal City. The church -from 1561- was rebuilt (by Graziano Gasparini, Architect, for San Cristóbal City Fourth Centennial 1960-1961) in a Neo-Baroque style (or Spanish-Colonial architecture style in the American South and West) with several Tuscan elements and is considered one of the best examples of Neo-Baroque architecture in Latin America. The retable-facade (rebuilt in hammered granite) was designed with symmetrical features and verticality of composition. It has three arched round doors that correspond to the three naves of the church. This cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church of Táchira State. (Photograph by Official Tourism Office of Táchira State/Corporación Tachirense de Turismo, COTATUR, 2005, image for educational purposes)


Literacy rate: 89.9 percent (2011 estimate).


Topography: most southerly of the Andean range of Venezuela cover NE (Highlands and moorlands), central (The Táchira Tectonic Depression) and SW (Highlands and moorlands); Piedmont or upland region N and S. 


Climate: Táchira State lies in what is known as the Torrid Zone or area of the earth’s surface between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn (Intertropical Convergence Zone -doldrums-). The regional climate –however- varies with Andean mountain elevations. The low regions along at the base of mountain ranges and the northern lacustrine plains and southern llanos lands are extremely hot, with average annual temperatures of 25° to 30°C (77° to 86°F). From about 700 to 2,300 m (about 2,296 to 7,500 ft) with all the principal cities and towns in Táchira State, the climate is subtropical, and from about 2,300 to 3,000 m (about 7,500 to 10,000 ft) it is temperate. Above about 3,000 m (about 10,000 ft) is the cold-climate zone and ‘páramos’ or moorland, where temperatures range from -6° to 13°C (21.22° to 55.4°F). Seasonal variations are slight. Most precipitation falls from April through September (maximums June and July). The dry season is from November to April.




All fellows that follow the plough...  Charm and calm in the traditional country old houses and farms. Scattered on the Tachiran Andes Mountains, the houses of a small Tachiran village in Lobatera utilize every contour of the hillside while the fields lie in the valleys below. It is an example of the old architectural style of the Tachiran Andes. They are typically of late 19th- to early 20th-century date. The building sitting on staddle stones and wood is named 'troja', 'soberao', 'Hórreo del Táchira' or Tachiran Horreo and it is a typical granary. Landscape on the Lobatera road to Casa del Padre hamlet, Potrero de las Casas village, Lobatera Municipality. (Photograph by Enrique Briñas, 2007, image for educational purposes)


Geology: The Tachiran Andes formed during the Eocene Epoch (about 56 million to about 40 million years ago) when the Nazca plate and the Caribbean plate crustal began to slowly slide beneath the South American plate, uplifting and folding the sedimentary and igneous rocks that comprise the mountains (some of the Táchira State’s highest peaks and moorlands are of the Precambrian Period -Phanærozoic geologic eon- about 542 million years ago). Tectonic forces generated by this collision created mountain streams (highlands), a tectonic depression (Pliocene Epoch), area of low-lying lands flanked by higher ground or valleys (Pleistocene Epoch, they contain largest towns and cities) and northern and southern lowlands (piedmont or upland region, between Miocene and Pliocene Epoch).


Highest point: El Púlpito peak (3,912 m/12,838 ft, Batallón Range, Andean moorlands. Jáuregui Minicipality).  



The primeval land of the Tachirans... The first Spanish explorers, seeing hills climb rapidly up to 10,000 feet, they reported to King Philip II of Spain 'mountains which seem to reach the havens.' The mythical craggy El Púlpito, aged mountain that towered against the sky (El Púlpito-The Pulpit peak, border between Jáuregui and Uribante Municipalities). It is located in the Batallón Range section of the Andean moorlands. Is a foliated crag -composed of layers of sheet-like planar structures (early Precambrian)- with high-grade metamorphism. El Púlpito has three foliations characterized by alternating darker and lighter colored bands, called gneissic banding (formed by Iglesias Group). Its prominent peak is 3,912 metres (12,838 ft) above sea level and is the 1st highest summit of Táchira State. In the same way, climbers have reported pre-Hispanic archaeological sites (caves) around peak and near Las Verdes Kettle Lakes. Photograph by Yosel Molina, The Catholic University of Táchira Hiking Group (GEUCAT for its initials in Spanish), 2011, image for educational purposes.

Point of the lowest elevation: confluence of Orope stream and Zulia river (29 m/95,1 ft), García de Hevia Municipality.  


Highest municipality capital city (elevation): El Cobre (Vargas 1,924 m/6,313 ft).  

Lowest municipality capital city (elevation): La Tendida (Samuel Darío Maldonado, 110 m/361 ft). 

Largest Municipality: Uribante (1,502 km2/579.93 sq mi).  

Smallest Municipality: Guásimos (31 km2/11.96 sq mi).  

The Watersheds of the Táchira State: The Hydrographic Divide of the Táchira State, also known as the Orinoco-Lake Maracaibo Divortium Aquarum, is located between two large watersheds created by the uppers Andean mountain ranges and Táchira Tectonic Depression. These regions separate the waters than drain in the Lake Maracaibo and Caribbean Sea (NW), from those waters that drain into the Orinoco River and Atlantic Ocean (SE).  



Even such is Time, that takes in trust... Late afternoon over a Tachiran urban forest. Tachiran Writers Park (Urban forest) in San Cristóbal, Pirineos Neighbourhood  [Spanish, 'Parque de los Escritores Tachirenses (bosque urbano), Urbanización Pirineos, San Cristóbal']. Photograph by Samir Sánchez, 2015.


Longest river: Uribante River (river that flows southeastward from northeastern Uribante Municipality to northwestern Apure State, where it joins the Sarare River, Length: 340 km/211 mi).  

The Táchira State Geographic Centre: Cerro de Mesa de la Laguna (hill, 1,600 m o5,249 ft  W of Sucre Municipality), 7° 49'49.8" N   72° 02'08.3" W.

Chief airports: Santo Domingo del Táchira (SVST), San Antonio del Táchira (SVSA), La Fría (SVLF) and Paramillo (aerodrome).  

Economy: Industries, construction materials, food processing, textiles. Chief crops, sugarcane, bananas, coffee (coffea Arabica, exported from State has variety called ‘Táchira’), vegetables. Natural resources, hydropower, pisciculture, petroleum (reserves, the Táchira State drilled the first Venezuelan commercially productive oil well ‘Eureka 1’ in ‘La Alquitrana’ ranch house, near Rubio City, 1878), phosphate rocks, coal, asphaltic rocks and other minerals. Cattle, milk cows, beef cows, hogs and pigs. Labor force, agriculture 32.6%, industry 14.7%, services 52.7% (2011).  




Quarter, quarter, big and bold...Tachiran Two-real coin or piece of two. The Old Tachiran Piece of  2R or two reales (from 'real', meaning royal, plural: ‘reales’) used widely -in the Táchira State- as currency in 1872. One 'Peso fuerte' or Strong Peso was divided into ten 'reales'. Composition: gilded bronze; diameter: 21 mm or 0.828 in. Designer: unknown. This coin depicted -probably- had been uncirculated because its features are sharp and the luster approaching the state of de coin at the mint. Táchira was the first -and the unique- state of the Venezuelan Union in to mint its own coins, before March 31, 1879 when a congressional enactment established the bolivar as Venezuelan unit of currency or the monetary standard of value in Venezuela. Photograph by Ministerio de Hacienda/Venezuelan Treasure Department (Obverse and reverse, Historia de la Moneda en Venezuela/Venezuela Currency History) special edition, Caracas, 1972. (Image for educational purposes)


Religion: Táchira is a Roman Catholic state by history and tradition. Today, about 91 percent of the population is CatholicThe first Mass in the Táchira State was on July 25, 1558 by Chaplain of the Juan Rodríguez Suárez’s expedition, Father Alonso de Andrada Dominican friar, in the valley named ‘Santiago’ (St. James the Greater Valley) now San Cristóbal city. The first church services held were Roman Catholic Masses at ‘Fuerte de Tapias’ or Fort Brick Wall in 1561, first building of San Cristóbal city. The parish of the Cathedral of San Cristóbal, which was organized shortly after the city was founded in 1561, is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in the Táchira State and its Sacramental Registers and Records dating back to the 17th-century (1601). Catholicism has its deepest roots in Táchira State, and it has marked many of the traditions and popular arts, particularly religious paintings and sculptures. The cathedral of Diocese of San Cristóbal/ Dioecesis Sancti Christophori in Venetiola (erected by the Apostolic Constitution Ad munus, 1922) is located in the San Cristóbal City, in the Ecclesiatical province of Mérida (Archdiocese of Mérida). Most Rev. Gregorio Jaimes de Pastrana y Bazán (born 1626, Villa de San Cristóbal [now San Cristóbal City]—died 1690, Santa Marta, New Kingdom of Granada [now Colombia], first Tachiran and Venezuelan Roman Catholic Bishop).  Other Christian (Protestan), major non-Christian religions (Jewish).


Oldest Sacred Art of Táchira State: Evenly spread the Catholic faith in the Spanish America, our ancestors has left us many and various artistic masterpieces of devotions. So, seven centuries of faith are shorted form around the most venerated representation of Mary with the title of Our Lady of Consolation of Táriba, in Táriba City, Táchira State, Venezuela [The picture was originally named 'Nuestra Señora de Táriba' (Our Lady of Táriba) from the middle years of the 16th-century until the end of the 17th-century, when it is called 'Nuestra Señora de la Consolación de Táriba' (Our Lady of Consolation of Táriba)]. Namely, it is a tempera painting on panel (12.40 in x 8.26 in/315 mm x 210 mm) in a Romanesque version of the Theotokos Bizantine icon known as 'Panaia Portaitissa' (Keeper of the Portal) or 'Hodegetria' (She who shows the way), dated to the 4th or 5th-century. Yet at the same time, this delicate and subtle work art express the history of the legendary Táchira land.

In fact, as Romanesque religious and devotional painting, dated in about late 13th or 14th-century. It comes from medieval Europe, Spain or France, through the 'Camino de Santiago' or Way of St. James and attributed to Cistercians or White Monks, because its distinctive and identifiable form or style resembles the austere artists and models of that monastic order, and its strict interpretation of the monastic rules set forth by St. Benedict of Nursia about AD 540; cf, Samir A. Sánchez, Nuestra Señora de la Consolación de Táriba, un retablo del Románico en América/Our Lady of Consolation of Táriba, An older Romanesque wood panel painting in the Americas, Proyecto Experiencia Arte/Experience-Art Project, 2012.

Depicts a mature-looking Marian seat figure revealing evidence of Byzantine conventional and stylised forms on a throne, non-perceptible, with infant Christ, in the centre panel. Other objects are present at the paint: three ancient Byzantine lamps, a situla or medieval holy-water vessel (with 'aspergillum', a hyssop branch tied that is dipped in holy-water), a palm and two medieval wooden crutches. The Marian image is wearing imperial dress and headress. A close-fitting and veil or cap covers hair and lobes of ears; it is  lengthened and bound by a Byzantine imperial crown composed by a stiff bonnet and row of gems (horizontal diadem) and lateral and longitudinal hoops across top.   




Honouring Our Lady… the most venerated representation of Mary with the title of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación de Táriba (Our Lady of Consolation of Táriba), Táriba, Táchira State. 13th-century, tempera painting on panel (12.40 in x 8.26 in/315 mm x 210 mm). Photograph by Samuel Trevisi, 2010.


The Child's right hand is raised in a formalized and traditional Eastern blessing or Benedictio latina [or an 'eloquent hand-gesture' in a rhetoric of the image, according to the art historical terminology of Professor Moshe Barasch (in Giotto and the Language of Gesture, 1987)] and he holds a celestial sphere (Ptolemaic system or pre-copernican geocentric Universe) in his left hand. The artistic theme and the Blessed Mary's position in this medieval masterpiece evoke a Black Madonna or Black Virgins found in European Roman Catholic (eg, Notre Dame du Puy-en-Velay and Notre Dame de Liesse, France) and Orthodox countries. This sacred image holds deep spiritual and cultural significance in our state’s history. Arrived to Táchira land with the Spanish Conquerors, or colonists or Austin Friars (Augustinians Hermits Missionaries) in 16th-century (AD 1561) in the time frame described by Francis Bacon (1561-1626): ‘both the East and the West Indies being met in the crown of Spain, it is come to pass, that, as one saith in a brave kind of expression, the sun never sets in the Spanish dominions, but ever shines upon one part or other of them: which, to say truly, is a beam of glory [...]’ (Bacon, Francis, The Works of Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England, vol II, Philadelphia, 1841, p. 438). Thus, the painting -essentially symbolical representation expressing concepts of faith- is widely considered to be one of the principal focal religious symbols of Tachiran Roman Catholic people.



The Festival of The Christ of La Grita

Roman Catholic traditional procession of The Christ of La Grita [Spanish, ‘Santo Cristo de La Grita’. Baroque art from 17th-century], August 6. La Grita City (founded and chartered as city 1576) is sobriquet as the ‘Athens of Táchira’. The earliest comparison between the two cities showed that they had a similar topography, with the historic urban area performing a similar role to the Athenian Acropolis. The 19th and 20th-century educational life, referred to as the Tachiran Enlightenment, was a key influence in gaining the name. Photograph by Engr. Carlos Zapata, 2012 (Image for educational purposes)

Walking in a Andean wonderland: 'Camino del Santo Cristo' (also known by the English name Pilgrimage routes to 'Santo Cristo de La Grita'/The Christ of La Grita): Thousands of people walk, cycle or ride a horse along the pilgrimage routes to Santo Cristo de La Grita each year. Many people hope to arrive just before The Christ of La Grita' Day (August 6). Which route? There are three old way marked routes (of 16th and 18th-century) -and other recently added- throughout the Andean mountain region of Táchira State and all bearing the name 'Camino del Santo Cristo' and all converging on the La Grita city. Two main ways marked routes merge into El Zumbador moorland (2,680 m or 8,790 ft). The Pilgrimage Routes are: (1) Capacho-San Cristóbal-Cordero-Mesa de Aura-El Zumbador-El Cobre-Angostura-La Quinta-La Grita (total length 95 km or 59.43 mi); (2) Lobatera-Michelena-Angarabeca-El Zumbador-El Cobre-Angostura-La Quinta-La Grita (total length 79 km or 49.15 mi); (3) La Fría-Las Mesas-Seboruco-La Quinta–La Grita (total length 48 km or 29.14 mi).




Along the eerie paths to Táchira. Ruins of Potosí, submerged under Lake Dam Uribante. The Potosí Church bell tower: when the Uribante-Caparo dam (La Honda dam) was built in 1984, the town was submerged. The main part of the church was dismantled but the bell tower was left standing. (COTATUR, 2016)


Foreing communities in Táchira State: Colombian, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Syrian, Peruvian, Ecuadoran, Chinese, Lebanese, Japanese, German, Greek and Jewish or Hebrew (Eastern Europe).   

Top 10+ places of interest to visit in Táchira State: Noteworthy are Plaza Mayor de San Cristóbal-Main Square (Present-day Capt. Juan Maldonado Square. San Cristóbal city was founded on this site in 31 March 1561 by Spanish Captain Juan Maldonado. San Cristóbal's Cathedral faces the plaza. Adjoining the Cathedral is the Bishop's Palace, which features balconies typical of Spanish colonial architecture. The imposing Edificio Nacional-National Building is situated across the plaza and was built on the site of first city hall and Maldonado's house), Uribante-Caparo Lakes Dam (with the Lake Uribante drowning old Potosí Town's steeple), San Cristóbal’s Cathedral (Neo-Colonial style), Santa Barbara´s Church (Neo-Gothic or the Brick Gothic, Rubio), The Christ the King View point, chapel and monument (30 m/98 ft, Capacho), Old colonial house of the Museo del Táchira/Anthropological Museum of Táchira State (San Cristóbal), Palacio de los Leones/The Palace of the Lions (Táchira State Capitol, architecturally and historically significant building of State Legislature, San Cristóbal. Named for its top cornice or rooftop sculptures of lions. Building is a work in   Italian Baroque classicism architecture. However, an implementation of rounded corners, at the main façade, emerged like an Art Moderne fresh architectural style), San Juan Bautista/St. John the Baptist’s Church (La Ermita-San Cristóbal, its façade in a prevalent English Baroque style, has a majestic hemispherical in front roof inspired in the Dôme des Invalides, Paris). Capilla de San Antonio/Chapel of St. Antony (Spanish Neo colonial chapel in central San Cristóbal and one of the oldest shrines preserved in the city. It has a structure, façade, steeple or belfry and monumental dome dating from 1927). San José/Saint Joseph’s Church (San Cristóbal, Gothic Revival style and showing its most prominent architectural features the ‘Torre Josefina’/‘Josephine Tower’, 76 m/249.3 ft). Perpetuo Socorro/Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (San Cristóbal, French Gothic Revival style, likewise known as ‘El Santuario’, The Official Governors’ Residence (San Cristóbal), Casa Biaggini or The Biaggini House (neocolonial mansion style built in 1875. It is the oldest house in San Cristobal. It is located near the Palace of the Lions), Edificio Nacional/The National Building (The Táchira State Courts system, art Déco and Neo-classical German style), Plaza Mayor/Old Main Square (now called Capitán Juan Maldonado y Ordóñez de Villaquirán Square, San Cristóbal), Parque Sucre/Sucre Square (San Cristóbal, San Sebastián old small square from early Spanish period), the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation (Táriba), The Minor Basilica of the Holy Spirit (The Christ of La Grita), The Chorro del Indio (cascade, San Cristóbal), Kettle lakes or High Tachiran Andes wetlands (La Grita and Pregonero), Pozos Azules' Rock climbing (Lobatera), Puente Libertador/The Old Iron Bridge The Liberator (over the Torbes River between San Cristóbal and Táriba opened on December 19, 1930 with a span lenght of 172.70 m/566.7 ft, cement board of 6 m/19.87 ft and supported by two articulated towers of 18.87 m or 61.10 ft/ea. In the time of its construction it was the longest suspension bridge in Venezuela), Angostura de Vargas Historic Park (It was the scene of a battle between Royalists and Patriots forces in 1813), Cuartel Bolívar (Neo-colonial military building, San Cristóbal), El Divino Redentor/The Divine Redeemer (Roman Catholic church built over an unique parabolic wall, modernist design, San Cristóbal), Neo-Romantic parish church of Our Lady of Rosary of Chiquinquirá (Lobatera), The envolving landscape of the Lobaterita River gorge and Seven colours Hill (Lobatera-Michelena), Plaza del Pimiento (El Cobre)/El Cobre Pepper Tree SquareFachada del antiguo Hospital Vargas/Facade of The Vargas, M.D.,Historic Former Hospital with two high eagles, symbols of life and death (San Cristóbal, Eclectic architectura or building with a kind of mixed style in the fine arts).


Lights & silhouettes of an old palaceThe Palace of the Lions [Spanish, ‘Palacio de los Leones’]. The Táchira State Capitol, architecturally and historically significant building of State Legislature, San Cristóbal. Named for its top cornice or rooftop sculptures of lions. Building is a work in Italian Baroque classicism architecture (1922-1931). However, an implementation of rounded corners, at the main façade, emerged like an Art Moderne fresh architectural style. Photograph by Yosel Molina, 2008, image for educational purposes.

La Cascada/The Cascade, San José de Bolívar, total height 50 m/164.04 ft), Pueblo Nuevo Football Stadium (nicknamed 'El Templo del fúbol venezolano'/'The Venezuelan Football Temple', San Cristóbal), 'J. J. Mora Figueroa' Velodrome (San Cristóbal). Plaza de Toros Monumental de San Cristóbal/Monumental Bull Ring of San Cristóbal (Largest and most famous Tachiran arena. The seating capacity holds 22,500 spectators for bullfights. Designed by Tachiran architec Eduardo Santos Castillo, had been opened in January 17, 1967). Pre-Columbian stonemason roads that crossed the steep mountain valleys of the Andes (Pregonero). Colinas de Queniquea, remains of a Pre-Columbian large village (Queniquea). Casa Steinvorth (San Cristóbal, German House of Coffee Trade build by Werner Steinvorth in 1860, completed post-earthquake in 1875 and remodeled in 1994). 'Capilla del Carmen' or Old Chapel called Our Lady of Mount Carmel (El Cobre, since 1875. Is an example of the Colonial architectural style that was brought to Táchira State from Spain in the 17th-century). Casa de los Corredores or The Traditional Colonial Porticoes’ Old House (Rubio, Is an example of the Tachiran architectural style, 19th-century), Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzmán or Saint Dominic's Roman Catholic Church (San Cristóbal, the scale of the church is monumental with a bell tower of 60 m or 197 ft. Locally known as ‘El Ángel's Church’, because of its frontal statuary. Is a modern design, with inspiration at Francis Barry Byrne’s modernist architecture likChurch of St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City, Missouri, 1949The church’s spectacular shape and white cross can be seen from miles around. A statue of the 'Angel of worship', 2-3 times life-size stands at the front entrance); Parque de los Escritores Tachirenses (bosque urbano), San Cristóbal-Tachiran Writers Park (Urban forest) in San Cristóbal. 





The lordly great bridge, Old Iron Bridge The Liberator [Spanish, ‘Puente Libertador’]. National Monument established on November 10, 1978, over the Torbes River between San Cristóbal and Táriba being built by Gaston Leinekugel-Le-Cocq Co. Larche-Corrèze, Limousin, France (components were cast individually) in 1928. The suspension bridge was opened to traffic on December 19, 1930 and collapsed in 1943 (devasting flood), an identic replacement bridge was opened in 1946 after more than two years of construction. The Bridge The Liberator has a span lenght of 172.70 m/566.7 ft and the main cables are anchored to the earth. It has a semi stiff and cement deck of 6 m/19.87 ft (8,40 m/27,6 ft in the original bridge) and it is supported by two articulated towers (under compression) of 18.87 m or 61.10 ft/ea with parabolic, tensioned and suspenders cables. Large, or main, cables are hung (or suspended) from towers and these support the weight of the bridge and transfer the load to the anchorages and the towers. These two main cables of suspension have six cables for each, so the roadway is suspended from 264 hungers or smaller vertical cables (22+88+22 on weither side) that hang down from the main cables. In the time of its construction it was the longest suspension bridge in Venezuela. Photograph by Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural, Registro del Patrimonio Cultural de Venezuela, 2010/Image for educational purposes.

Tourist destinations: Rutas del Táchira/Táchira State Tourist Routes (by Official Tourism Office of Táchira State) is a sequence of seven roads or paths taken with cities, towns, landscapes, and special places passed in traveling from one place to another around the Táchira State. Travelers are visiting historic parks, natural wonders, religious places, gastronomies, monuments and points of interest in major town and cities. 1) Ruta de la Montaña y la Neblina/Mountain and Mist Route (San Cristóbal, Cordero, Mesa de Aura, Páramo del Zumbador, El Cobre, La Quinta, Seboruco, La Grita, Las Porqueras, Sabana Grande, Llano Largo, El Palmar, Pueblo Hondo and San Simón); 2) Ruta de la Frontera y Aguas Termales/The Tachiran Frontier and Hot Spring Waters Route (San Cristóbal, El Corozo, Santa Ana, La Alquitrana, Río Chiquito, San Vicente de la Revancha, La Ye, Rubio, Bramón, Delicias, Betania, Las Dantas, Peracal, San Antonio del Táchira, Ureña and Aguas Calientes. This last three border towns are a geographical region sometimes calle the 'Serengeti of Táchira' by its climate, usually warm and dry); 3) Ruta de la Artesanía y la Piña/Handcraft and Pineapple sown fields Route (San Cristóbal, Palmira, El Abejal, Copa de Oro, Toituna, Peribeca, El Topón, Independencia/Capacho Nuevo, Libertad/Capacho Viejo, Cerro El Cristo, Lomas Bajas, Hato de la Virgen, La Mulera, Apartaderos and El Recreo); 4) Ruta Colonial y de los Bosques/Spanish Colonial Towns and Forestlands Route (San Cristóbal, Palo Grande, Borotá, La Llanada, Lobatera, San Pedro del Río and San Juan de Colón); 5) Ruta del Páramo y de las Lagunas/The Moorland and Glacial Lagoons Route (San Cristóbal, San Josecito, Puente Uribante, San Lorenzo, Chururú, San Rafael del Piñal, San Joaquín de Navay, La Fundación, La Trampa, La Escalera, Pregonero, Las Porqueras and La Grita); 6) Ruta de las Flores y de los Paisajes pintorescos/Flowers and Typical Landscapes Route (San Cristóbal, Palmira, Casa del Padre, Potrero de las Casas, Lobatera, Michelena, Boca de Monte, Páramo del Zumbador, Queniquea and San José de Bolívar); 7) Ruta del Llano y la Pesca/The Llanos and places for Fishing Route (San Cristóbal, San Josecito, Puente Uribante, San Lorenzo, Chururú, San Rafael del Piñal, El Milagro, La Pedrera and Abejales).


'Parque Metropolitano de San Cristóbal-Metropolitan Park, San Cristóbal. City Park in the borough of La Concordia. It offers varied scenery and it has nearly the entire 18 -hectare (44.478 acre) area. Metropolitan Park was acquired in the 1970s and 1990s. Provides a welcome break from urban life. It features wide paths for walkers, runners and bikers as well as regional trees, sports, swimming pools, two ponds and picnic areas.      



Reflects othe mist... a cascading bewitching. 'The Indian Water Jet'  [Spanish, ‘Chorro del Indio’]Waterfall or cascade of delightfully cold mountain water, southeastern San Cristóbal City, on the ‘Quebrada Chorro del Indio’ (tributary stream to 1,140 m or 3,740 ft). It is the highest uninterrupted cataract in the Sierra La Maravilla (mountain range), dropping 98 m or 321 ft from its headwaters in the evergreen tropical rain forest covered that Tachiran Andes mountain range (Chorro del Indio National Park). There is water everywere in this wild Tachiran landsacape. Photograph by El Universal, Tuesday, April 19, 2011, image for educational purposes.


Petroglyphs (archaeological sites)northeast of Táchira State in Lobatera, Michelena, Ayacucho, Seboruco and Jáuregui municipalities. The carvings were created in the Tachiran pre-Columbian era and represents aspects of first nations spirituality, including geometric figures, images of animals, reptiles, astronomical markers and possibly the 'mohanes' or 'farautes' (shamans)
National Parks (Man and biosphere): El Tamá (139,000 hectares or 343,469,000 acres)General Juan Pablo Peñaloza (Batallón and La Negra Andean moorlands, 41,000 hectares or 1,013,110,000 acres), Chorro del Indio (Sierra de la Maravilla, 17,000 hectares or 42,007,000 acres) and Tapo-Caparo (200,000 hectares or 494,200,000 acres).




Morning skyline, San Cristóbal. A wall of blue mountains emerge from the horizon and first light tints air and earth. An awe-inspiring viewpoint high above the Santiago Valley  [Spanish, ‘valle de Santiago’, St. James the Greater’s Valley], its commanding all approaches and San Cristobal, the capital city of the Táchira State (panoramic photographed from La Popita Hill) is perched upon a serie of steep hills of the valley. In background, the Massif of the Tamá (National Park, southwestern Andes Mountains and the southernmost Tachiran frontier). El Cobre Peak (3,620 m or 11,875.8 ft) protruding through the skyline. (Photograph by San Cristobal, Tachira Facebook Group, image for educational purposes)


La Quinta Geologic and Paleontologic Park: Laquintasaura venezuelae (scientific name), the first dinosaur fossils discovered in Venezuela were founded in La Quinta (Early Jurassic and Middle Jurassic) near La Grita City, Táchira State. A group of French paleontologists found fossils of a most primitive dinosaur (basal dinosaur) in 1992. Paleontologists are studying its taxonomic system or scientific classification and contemporary scholars say that La Quinta Formation (fossils bed) has the potencial to provide an important window on dinosaur evolution and paleobiogeography.


Tachiraptor admirabilis ('Thief of Táchira'). The paleontologists found a newly dinosaur, a small bipedal theropod, with a length (estimated) over 1.5 meters (4 ft 111⁄16 in). It belongs to a group of Averostra, a large theropod dinosaurs that is known from the Middle Jurassic. Only two fossilized bones had been found of the new dinosaur in the La Quinta Formation, about 4 km (2.85 mi) northwest of La Grita city in Táchira State, Venezuela. The Scientifics named the new genus and species: Tachiraptor admirabilis (Max C. Langer et al. ‘New dinosaur (Theropoda, stem-Averostra) from the earliest Jurassic of the La Quinta formation, Venezuelan Andes’. Royal Society Open Science 1: 140184, published online October 08, 2014; doi: 10.1098/rsos.140184).

The Oldest Extant Statues in the Táchira State: 'Retour des Champs' or 'The Peasant return from the field' (At the Military Command/Capacho Nuevo-Independencia, it is a bronze statue of french sculptor Charles Augustin Adolphe Itasse 1829-1893, this bronze was cast by Maurice Denonvilliers in France in 1879), 'Bolívar The Liberator' (1893, Bolívar Square/Lobatera, high upon an architect Fruto Vivas's pedestal, it is a bronze statue of Italian-American sculptor Giovanni Turini 1849-1899) and 'The Civic Bolívar' (1912, UNET Main Square, San Cristóbal City, buste, unknown author).



The old large farmhouse of the Anthropological Museum of State of Táchira [Spanish, ‘Museo del Táchira’] is wall-off and self-contained from the surrounding City of San Cristóbal. An imposing Spanish Coffee Hacienda from 18th-century was rebuilt and opened in 1983. The 'Sierra de la Maravilla' or La Maravilla Mountains climbs up the hill in the background. Paramillo, San Cristóbal. (Photograph by Museo del Táchira, 2011)


Cemetery Art & Architecture: Lobatera Cemetery (opened in 1849), San Juan de Colón Cemetery (opened in 1852) and San Cristóbal Cementery (opened in 1857) are  included on Táchira State Heritage's Register of Places of Special Historic Interest in recognition of their art structure and old memorial monuments


The Oldest Extant Public Clock in the Táchira State: Clock tower of Parish church of Our Lady of Rosary of Chiquinquirá. Lobatera, since 1913. It is a mechanical clock powered by pendulum/weights that descend 4.5 m or 16 ft. Machine by E. Howard & Co. Boston, Massachusetts.




Forgotten Spanish Fortress in Táchira State (stonework from 17th-century). Lobatera Municipal Cemetery. (Photograph by Darío Hurtado, 2017)


Oldest military fortress in the Táchira State: 'El Torreón de Lobatera', historic turret of the Town of Lobatera, on the east bank of the Lobaterita River. It was the only 17th-century military construction (fortification) and the oldest masonry fortress in the Táchira State. It was an example of the ‘torreón’ or Spanish bastion system of fortification. The 'Torreón' was demolished by order of the Lobatera Town Council in 1849 (limited stonework survives), for building -on the remains of turret- the new Municipal Cemetery.



Tachiran Modern Architecture since 1950. 'Club Táchira' / Táchira Club, Colinas de Bello Monte, Caracas, by José Fructuoso Vivas Vivas (Callejón del Verde, La Grita, Jáuregui Municipality, 1928). He is a Tachiran architect who is considered to be one the key figures in the development of Venezuelan modern architecture and great artist -national and international- an one the greatest architects of his generation by his contributions, for his use of abstract forms and parabolic arch's geometry. Táchira Club building was planned and directed  -in 1955- by architect Fruto Vivas and Spanish engineer Eduardo Torroja (1899-1961). Photograph by Colinas de Bellomonte Facebook Group, 2014. 

Official Anthem of the State of Táchira: 'Las glorias de la Patria' (The glories of the Homeland). Music by Miguel Ángel Espinel. Words by Ramón E. Vargas. Adopted 1913.  '¡Tachirenses, se acerca el momento!'/'The time is right, Tachirans!' was the first anthem of Táchira State, composed 1879 and it was knew as 'The Tachiran Marseillaise'; the anthem's lyrics had been written by Arbonio Pérez and the music written by Eloy Galaviz. Adopted 1880, this anthem survived till 1899.



The glories of the Homeland 
(English text with no versification. Samir A. Sánchez, 2013)

  The glories of the Homeland
Its ancient charters of Nation
We united to defend
With renowned bravery (Chorus)
I
  We are freedmen, the ferrous chains
Of the slave has already broken
The Tachiran* home smiles
Under the sun shining brightly: the equality.
II
  Extinguished old hates
We are striving for an ideal:
The prosperity of our native land
Under the beloved sky of peace.
III
  Work is the supreme force
That guides to us like new Titan
To the sublime and glorious goal
Of peoples who know to succeed.
IV
  For ever on the Táchira State will go on flying flag
As regional honor ensign
Join in union and haughtiness of Tachiranpeople:
Work, Peace and Equality.


            Written by Lawyer Ramón E. Vargas (1876 - 1949)
            Music by Educator and violinist Miguel Ángel Espinel (1895 - 1968)
* Adjective, of Táchira State: relating to the Táchira State, or its people, accent or culture.

              



A turning point in the Tachiran borderland… Monument on the Borderline and Border Crossing between Venezuela (right, East) and Colombia (left, West) in the middle of the rustic road from Los Trapiches and El Oso (Venezuelan Hamlets, Lobatera Municipality, Táchira State) to Ricaurte (Colombian Hamlet) running along the crest of Mucujún Mountain and Gorge, with a height of 1,512 m (4,960.62 ft). Monument or border pillar A6 (‘Hito San Pedro’/Saint Peter’s Milestone); since 1923 by International Arbitral (Swiss Federal  Council)  appointed under a Special Agreement of 3 November 1916). Turning point (made of concrete) viewed from the Tachiran side. It is the only part of the Venezuela–Colombia border that runs down the middle of a road. (Photograph by Darío Hurtado, 2016)

The Tachiran Last Frontier... Borderline, Táchira State line, Tachiran Municipalities lines (the boundaries are marked by red lines) and Monument or border pillar A6 (‘Hito San Pedro’/Saint Peter’s Milestone); since 1923 by International Arbitral (Swiss Federal Council) appointed under a Special Agreement of 3 November 1916). Turning point (made of concrete) viewed from the Tachiran side. It is the only part of the Venezuela–Colombia border that runs down the middle of a road. (Photograph by Darío Hurtado, 2016)


Táchira State Coat of Arms and Great Seal: The official Coat of Arms and Great Seal of the State of Táchira was created on December 27, 1901 by Legislature for Táchira State First Official Paper (paper with stamp duty). Partially reformed, it was adopted as regional emblem by President of State (the equivalent of a governor for early 20th-century) General Celestino Castro on October 10, 1905. It was once more reformed by President of State General Pedro Murillo on July 1, 1913. Dating from the Romanticism or Romantic Movement, in art, the heraldic coat of arms of Táchira features a Renaissance cartouche in or (the Golden Fleece of Greek mythology) with scrollwork and it is containing the escutcheon, filleted in sable—Renaissance cartouche in or is the allegory of the Victoria Tachirensis (The Victorious Táchira). The shield elements depicted on the escutcheon, in proper (natural colours), present a landscape with the exuberance of the Tachiran land and the Andes Mountains. The central figure is a maiden with the Phrygian cap, a semiallegorical glorification of the idea of liberty and republic, representing to Venezuela. The maiden hold the National Flag in hers right hand. She is pointing the Táchira River with hers left as the frontier with the Republic of Colombia and place where Indian name of the State comes from. Above the shield or in coronet and surrounded by a glory, appears sheaves of wheat in proper (natural colours), joined with a long gules (red) crimson ribbon and symbolize the proverb 'In union there is strength'. Above the sheaves of heat –in crest- appears nine five-pointed argent (silver) stars arranged in arch. They are representing the Municipalities of the Táchira State for AD 1913:  San Cristóbal, Jáuregui, Lobatera, Bolívar, Capacho, Uribante, Junín, Ayacucho and Cárdenas.  Over the arch of stars –in glory- appears the motto Estado Táchira (‘State of Táchira’), with lettre armoriée (letters printed in sable/black). In supporters, below and each side of the shield -and in proper (natural colours)- are a cotton and coffee branches with interlacing bands from crimson ribbon, symbols and regional emblems of the Tachiran agriculture. The coat base is a golden fluttering ribbon with with lettre armoriée (letters printed in sable/black), bearing historic dates: 'July 5th, 1811', 'March 14th, 1856' and [sic] 'March 24th, 1864' (March 28th, 1864). They are remembering the Independence Day (it commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence from the Spanish Empire), the Regional Province Day -first administrative division of Táchira- and the Statehood Day, respectively (Description by Samir A. Sánchez, 2013).


Coat of Arms and Great Seal of the State of Táchira. Digitalized and silhouetted photography by Sigrid Márquez Poleo (2015) from an original old paint -dated 1914-.


Flag: The flag of Táchira State is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands displaying the regional colours of Táchira: gold, black (with four five-pointed stars arranged in arch above two coffea branches), and red. The flag was first adopted as State Flag of modern Táchira State in 1997.

Flag Day: State Flag Day is celebrated on June 30. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the State of Táchira, which happened on that day in 1997 by resolution of the Regional Legislative Assembly.




The State Flag of  State of Táchira. The original flag created in 1997 was displayed in the Palacio de los Leones (Palace of the Lions), the State Capitol building on 30 July 1997. (Photograph by YouTube Website, 2015)

Motto: 'El Táchira hace lo que el Táchira quiere' (no oficial)/The Táchira State becomes true what it wants (unofficial). 

State Nickname: 'The Andes Frontier State' (unofficial).  

Flower: Rosa clavellina/Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus). 

Bird: Paují copete de piedra/the Helmeted curassow (Pauxi pauxi pauxi). 

Tree: Pino Laso/Laso pine (Decussocarpus rospigliosi).  

Animal (mammal): Oso frontino/Spectacled or Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus).


Táchira State Mammal, 'Oso frontino' or Spectacled (Andean bear / Tremarctos ornatus). Endagered specie. Photograph by Noticias24/Imágenes. November 18, 2014.
  


Endemic species: El Frailejoncillo (plant, Espeletia tachirensis), Helecho del páramo/Moorland fern (plant, Elaphoglossum tachirensis), Táchira Emerald (bird, Amazilia distans, National Park General Juan Pablo Peñaloza), Táchira Antpittha (bird, Grallaria chthonia, National Park El Tamá), Tachiran Guayacán (plant, Casearia tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Tachiran troglodita (bird, Pheugopedius mysticalis tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Climber brown-peak (bird, Campylorhamphus pusillus tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Streak-capped Tree hunter (bird, Thripadectes virgaticeps tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Hunter-Ant (insect, Strumigenys tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Swing-moor (insect, Glaphyropyga tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Brown-billed scythebill (bird, Campylorhamphus pusillus tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Woodpecker-moor (bird, Picumnus olivaceus tachirensis, National Park El Tamá), Sunflower-moor (plant, Carramboa tachirensis, National Park General Juan Pablo Peñaloza, Batallón and La Negra Andean moorlands), Tachiran Bedbug (Venezuelacoris tachiranus, National Park El Tamá), Tachiran Beetle (Chauliognathus tachiranus, National Park El Tamá); Tachiran Fast Running Beetle (Dyscolus tachiranus, National Park General Juan Pablo Peñaloza, Batallón and La Negra Andean moorlands) 



Oldest Archives in the Táchira State: the oldest collection of Tachiran documents such as letters, official papers, recorded material or births, marriages, and deaths recorded and kept for their historical interest are the 'Registro Público Principal del Estado Táchira' (Táchira State Principal Register and Notary Public Office), this is the largest public archives and register office in Táchira State, founded in 1836. This historic archive contains documents dating from the 16th (Spanish time) to the 20th centuries, and 'Archivo General del Estado Táchira' (General Archive of Táchira State or Táchira State Archives, or Public Record Office),  this is an agency of the Táchira State government, whose purpose is to select, preserve, and make available to the state government and the public historically valuable government records. It was established in 1856. Both are located in San Cristóbal city.



A symbol of Faith, Monument of The Christ the King [Spanish, ‘Monumento a Cristo Rey’]. One of the most prominent Tachiran landmarks is this regional monument and recreation park near Libertad/Capacho Viejo, formally dedicated by Governor Edilberto Escalante on August 11, 1960. The monument distinguished by Roman tower form, it was designed in geometric layers beginning with a cube on the chapel (bottom), followed by a rectangle, a cylinder, and one cone. Sits atop the tower, a statue cut and shaped from large stone blocks, base with high vantage point view, balustrade and pedestal or lantern in form of Greek tholos. The monument (Roman tower and statue) is 30 m/98.5 ft. The statue is a naturalist sculpture know as Christ the King (made in Cúcuta/Colombia), tops Mount Alto del Cristo or 'Cerro El Cristo' (1,460 m/4,790 ft). Sculpture rests upon a concret chapel-pedestal, all designed by Tachiran artist Valentín Hernández Useche (1926-2002). All monument was an idea of Priest Parada (served as parish priest of Capacho Nuevo/Independencia). It was built as a symbol of Tachiran Christianity and to commemorate the Independencia/Capacho Nuevo parish priest Ángel Ramón Parada Herrera first 25 years of Ordination ceremony. Priest Parada (died 1974) had brought to the parish an awareness of the cultural and historical traditions of the Táchira State. The original monument project was intended to put a short funicular with two cars connected by wire cable from Independencia/Capacho Nuevo to Mount Alto del Cristo, a project never completed. (Photograph by Jacqueline González, 1982)




Thermal Water places: Aguas Calientes (Ureña), El Suspiro (Seboruco), El Corozo and La Mona (San Cristóbal, El Tampaco (San Antonio del Táchira), El Palmar and Zúñiga (Vega de Aza).  

Embankment Dams: La Honda, Borde Seco and Las Cuevas.  


Old Tachiran War Cry. 'Vencer o morir' (To Defeat or To Die), this expression has an uncertain origin, such as old soldiers' shut can be kept in the first state anthem of 1879, in same way it was the battle cry of the Tachirans in the 'Revolución Liberal Restauradora', revolution that brought Tachiran military leader General Cipriano Castro to power in 1899. He ruled Venezuela from 1899 until 1908 and his lieutenant commander and close male friend General Juan Vicente Gómez from 1908 until 1935.





Táchira's Secret Treasures… ‘La mina de la Morocota’ (The Spanish Gold-Doubloon's Mine), an old abandoned coal mine of legendary tales near Lobatera town. (Photograph by Samir Sánchez, 2015)



The oldest existent universities in the State: Universidad Católica del Táchira/The Catholic University of Táchira (UCAT, 1962), Universidad de Los Andes/Los Andes University (ULA, 1966) and Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira/National Experimental University of Táchira (UNET, 1974). 




Academies of Táchira State: The Táchira State at present has distinct academies or learned Tachiran societies; all were founded as independent institutions in the 20th-century. Among the most notable of these are Academia de Medicina del Táchira (the Tachiran Academy of Medicine) chartered in 1987 [State executive order num. 19 of March 7]; Academia de Historia del Táchira (the Tachiran Academy of History) chartered in 1991 [State executive order num. 39 of May 23] and Academia Tachirense de la Lengua (Tachiran Academy of Letters) chartered in 1995 [State executive order num. 56 of March 31]. 





A perfect symmetry,  the National Building [Spanish, ‘Edificio Nacional’]. The Táchira State Courts system. Art Déco and Neo-classical German style. Completed in 1948. It is situated in San Cristóbal. Photograph by H. Santos Estudio, 1948.



Táchira State Day: March 14. Táchira became the autonomus Province of Venezuela on March 14, 1856 and Statehood on March 28, 1864. The State of Táchira has been a constituent political entity of Venezuela and it is 'Primus inter pares' or first among equals to others Venezuelan states.



Sports: Football (Deportivo Táchira F. C., First division, Venezuelan Football League, Nickname: «El Carrusel Aurinegro»/'Golden-black Carousel') and Cycling (Vuelta al Táchira/Tour of Táchira, January). Other popular sports include white-water rafting (Pregonero); mountain-biking (Chorro del Indio National Park and Casa del Padre); free-climbing and rappel (Lobatera), and trekking (San Cristóbal, El Cobre and La Grita). 



State fair: At San Cristóbal City late January. Feria Internacional de San Sebastián/The San Sebastián International Fair (since 1965).  




A scenic rail journey in picture... The Táchira State Great-Railway or Gran Ferrocarril del Táchira (GFT). Old steel railway truss bridge across Lobaterita River. Táchira’s first interstate and international railway and the instrument that enabled the state of Táchira to connect its cities with Lake Maracaibo, Netherlands Antilles, Colombia and Caracas. Primarily constructed between 1890 and 1895, the GFT ran from Estación Táchira, northern Táchira State, to the new village of Encontrados, Zulia State, on the Catatumbo River. Tachiran railway engineers overcame significant geographic obstacles to extend train travel, on level marshy land, but in many places railroad tracks cut over hills, through mountains, and across rivers. The GFR was used in Táchira State until 1955. (Photograph by Jonny Rojas, 2015)




State oldest fair: Lobatera, since 1774.  


Song: 'Brisas del Torbes' (Tachiran bambuco, time 6/8) created by Prof. Luis Felipe Ramón y Rivera (1913-1993) in 1939. 


Origin of the name of State: The 16th-century Spanish chronicles relating to 'Táchira' [IPA: ‘tatʃiɾa] had mentioned the word like a Native American village on the medium flow of present-day Táchira River (San Antonio del Táchira/Villa del Rosario, Venezuelan-Colombian border). One theory (Samir A. Sánchez, San Cristóbal Urbs Quadrata, 2003) is that 'Táchira' -like a single, three-part word- derives from ancient and extinct Chibchan language (Ch), meaning 'Our farming forever', 'This land is our land', 'Our bequeathed land' or 'Our present land of tomorrow' [< Ch. ta, farm (root word) + chi, belonging to us (suffix) + , element modifying added at end of sentence that expresses place, moment or position with unchanging quality, future].




Táchira State Tree 'Pino Laso' or Laso pine (Scientific name: Decussocarpus rospigliosiPodocarpaceæ Family). The 'Pino Laso' or Laso pine has been called the ‘lord of the Tachiran forests’. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree native to the Andes Mountains. Tree grows to 30 m or 98.5 ft in height, with the trunk 50 cm or 19.68 inch - 70 cm or 27.55 inch in diameter. Designated as Táchira’s official state tree on September 30th, 1952. This single ‘Pino Laso’ or Laso pine is located in the Rectory Gardens, National Experimental University of Táchira (UNET), San Cristóbal. Photograph by Samir Sánchez, 2016.



The earliest mention of ‘Táchira’: The earliest mention of ‘Táchira’ word in history was written in a encomienda's title granted by Captain Pedro de Ursúa, Spanish conqueror founder of Pamplona (New Kingdom of Granada/Colombia), to Alonso de los Hoyos, a prominent encomendero, March 3, 1550 (Archivo General de la Nación/The General Archive of the Nation, Bogotá, Visitas, III, 690-881)


History: Humans (from Culture area of the Caribbean and Northern Andes) have lived in the region for at least 10,000 years. Táchiras, Seborucos, Chinatos, Loriguacas, Lobateras, Aborotáes, Humogrías, Quinimaríes, Táribas, Queniqueas and Capachos peoples were in the area when the first Europeans came. They practiced farming with the aid of an extensive system of hillside terraces, wove cotton cloth, althought they were ignorant of the use of copper and bronze. Táchira was also one of the northern Andes' most isolated regions and this fact contributed to the development of a distinct Tachiran culture. The first European to approach present-day Táchira State was Alonso Pérez de Tolosa. He commanded about 100 Spaniards and Native American allies on a march southward, from El Tocuyo City, along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, in 1547. Although he found no riches, De Tolosa reported that he had sighted 'mountains which seem to reach the havens' (one of the greatest mountain systems of the world: The Andes). The former Province of Táchira was created by Venezuelan Congress with four cantons (San Cristóbal, La Grita, Lobatera and San Antonio del Táchira) in 1856. The cantons were joined under a State -statehood- in 1864.




Adoption of the Declaration of Independence from their parent country, Spain: the dates when the resolution of Independence was approved for Tachiran cities and towns were on 11 October 1810 in La Grita (adopted by the Cabildo, Regidores and citizens); 21 October 1810 in San Antonio del Táchira (adopted by the Parish Mayor and citizens) and 28 October 1810 in San Cristóbal (adopted by the Cabildo, Regidores and citizens). The Villa de Lobatera was adhered to the declaration of the Cabildo of San Cristóbal, on the same date. The original Declaration of Independence Acts, certified by the Superior Junta (Convention) of Mérida of 1810, are in the Salón de Lectura de San Cristóbal or Reading Room City Building (San Cristobal) and acts were donated to the Táchira State Government by Dr. Tulio Febres Cordero in 1910.



'La Trasandina'... Unforgettable places. Route throught the Andes mountains -The Trans-Andean Road-. This first Tachiran road was opened in 1925. (Photograph by Dr. Beat Peter Meier Senn, El Fical, Andrés Bello Municipality, 1980)

Some Major EarthquakesThe most violent shaking of the Earth’s crust and destruction to buildings and deaths than Táchira State experienced in its written history are (date and location): 1598, San Cristóbal; 1610, La Grita; 1611, 1644 and 1674, San Cristóbal;1812, La Grita; 1849, Lobatera; 1894, La Grita; 1875, San Antonio del TáchiraSan CristóbalCapachoTáribaLobatera, Michelena and Colón; 1981, San Cristóbal and Libertad/Capacho Viejo


Venezuelan Presidents were born in the Táchira State: General Cipriano Castro, General Juan Vicente Gómez, Dr. Emilio Constantino Guerrero (Interim President), General Eleazar López Contreras, General Isaías Medina Angarita, General Marcos Pérez Jiménez, Mr. Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez (elected twice) and Dr. Ramón J. Velásquez (President by-election).







General Cipriano Castro (1858-1924) with presidential sash. Depicted by Antonio Herrera Toro. Oil on canvas, 150 x 127 cm, 1902, Foreing Affairs Ministry Collection, Casa Amarilla (The Yellow House), Caracas. General Cipriano Castro was First Tachiran President of the United States of Venezuelain office 1899-1908. (Photograph by Foreing Affairs Ministry, Casa Amarilla, Caracas, 2011)



Venezuelan First Ladies were born in the Táchira State: Mrs. Blanca María Rodríguez de Pérez (Rubio, Junín Municipality), President Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez's wife. First Lady twice.  


First Tachirans appointed rector of UCV and ULA: the first Tachiran Rector of the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV)/Central University of Venezuela (since 1721) was Dr. José Antonio Baldó Jara (San Cristobal, 1864 - Caracas, 1911), in office 1901-1905. He was also first thirty five founding members of the Academia Nacional de Medicina/National Academy of Medicine. The first Tachiran Rector of the Universidad de los Andes (ULA)/Los Andes University (since 1810) was Dr. Asisclo Bustamante Rosales (Lobatera, 1837 - Mérida, 1901) in office from April 19, 1901 to December 6, 1901, when he dies



Electoral Circuits (with municipalities, 2013)1st. Bolívar, Pedro María Ureña, Junín, Rafael Urdaneta, Capacho Viejo, Capacho Nuevo; 2nd. Lobatera, Guásimos, Ayacucho, Michelena, Seboruco, Vargas y Andrés Bello; 3rd. García de Hevia, Panamericano, Simón Rodríguez, Samuel Darío Maldonado, San Judas Tadeo, Rómulo Costa, Jáuregui, Francisco de Miranda, Sucre y Uribante; 4th. Libertador, Fernández Feo, Córdoba y Torbes; 5th. Cárdenas; 6th. San Cristóbal.

The Táchira State Official Highest Honor: The Order 21 de septiembre de 1864 (act took effect of the first Táchira State Constitution) and Grand Cross of the State of Táchira.



We, the People of the State of Táchira... First Constitution of the State of Táchira passed on September 21th, 1864 and Ratification of the Constitution of the United States of Venezuela (May [sic] 28th, 1864. The correct date should have been March 28th, 1864) by the Convention of the State of Táchira. The first printing of the Constitution was printed by 'Imprenta del Táchira' (San Cristóbal) or Government Printing Office (October 9, 1864). Táchira's present constitution was adopted in 2001 and is the twenty-first since 1864. Photograph by Google Book 2015.


The Táchira State Regions (Regions and Municipalities): Metropolitan Region (San Cristóbal, Cárdenas, Guásimos, Andrés Bello and Torbes); Northern Region (Lobatera, Ayacucho, Michelena, García de Hevia, Seboruco, Panamericano, Rómulo Costa, Simón Rodríguez, San Judas Tadeo and Samuel Darío Maldonado); Highland Region (Jáuregui, Vargas, Uribante, Sucre and Francisco de Miranda); Bordering Region (Bolívar, Pedro María Ureña, Junín, Rafael Urdaneta, Libertad, Independencia and Córdoba); Southern Region (Fernández Feo and Libertador).



Industrial Estates/Parks: La Fría, 2.041 h/5043 ac; Ureña-Aguas Calientes, 117,66 h/290 ac; Paramillo (San Cristóbal), 76,14 h/118 ac; Puente Real (San Cristóbal), 20 h/49 ac. 




Elemental forces have shaped this extraordinary ravine for millennia. The highly eroded character of the Lobatera Mountains presents an imposing and challenging landscape.The Pozos Azules River gorge and the first road of Táchira State, named 'Carretera Central del Táchira' or the Great Central Road, opened in 1914, Pozos Azules Pass, Lobatera. The steel pony truss bridge and Warren-style truss and its cut stones bridge abutment were constructed in 1912. The lenght of this first Tachiran road was 108 km or 67.10 mi (Uracá - San Cristóbal city) and width of roadway 4.50 m or 14.76 ft. Another aspect of observation, the strata that define the sedimentary rocks, start and end of the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene epoch (55-33 Ma or mega-annum). Photograph by Christopher Camargo, 2001.


Táchira State International Border: The Venezuela–Colombia border is an international border running from Táchira River (It rises south of the Táchira State), Pamplonita River, Don Pedro brook, San Faustino and Ricaurte mountains, in the west to San Juan de Colón City (Ayacucho Municipality), La China, Guarumito, Grita rivers and Zulia River in the Northwestern. The border, separating Venezuela and Colombia from each other, traverses a variety of terrains and rivers, ranging from major urban areas to mountains. The principal border crossing is at International Bridge 'Simón Bolívar', San Antonio del Táchira-Ureña (Venezuela) and Villa del Rosario-Cúcuta (Colombia), a binational conurbation. It is the most frequently crossed international border in the South America. Six Tachiran border municipalities (and capital city) are: Urdaneta (Delicias), Bolívar (San Antonio del Táchira), Ureña (Ureña), Lobatera (Lobatera), Ayacucho (San Juan de Colón) and García de Hevia (La Fría). 

The First Newspaper: The Eco del Torbes (San Cristóbal), printed by Domingo Guzmán Escandón.  September 6, 1845. 






The Last Great House of The Old San Cristóbal... our Governors' Mansion, a fascinating historical dates with detailed architectural description. The Official Governors’ Residence [Spanish, ‘Residencia Oficial de Gobernadores’], San Cristóbal. The Governor of Táchira State, Dr. Antonio María Pérez Vivas selected this old house, a historical masterpiece known as 'Quinta Úrsula', for the purpose of Official Governors’ Residence in 1956. The building was constructed as a country home in Spanish colonial revival style between 1919-1920 by Bruno Ernest Heinrich Werth. He was a German trader and office manager of ‘Casa Steinvorth', German export and import house in San Cristóbal. The Official Governors' Residence contains a fine selection of regional paintings  and decorative arts. The gardens have provided almond-trees, eucalyptus, pink trumpet trees, Spanish cedar and pines. (Photograph by Fernando Mota Largo, 2007. Image for educational purposes)


First Tachiran regular licensed radio broadcasting: ‘La Voz del Táchira’ or Voice of the Táchira, began November 15, 1935 at 5:00 pm in San Cristóbal, and was founded by Jesús Manuel Díaz González. Today Voice of the Táchira is named ‘Radio Táchira’, since 1968. The state's first commercial FM radio station (102.1 FM), began operating in San Cristóbal in 1989 and was founded by Gregorio González Lovera. 



First Tachiran regular licensed television broadcasting: ‘Televisora Regional del Táchira/TRT’ or Tachiran TV, began November 24, 1989 in San Cristóbal.


Tachiran Art & Architecture

Sunshine in white, yellow and blue... Iconic Legend of Old Tachiran Ecclesiastical Architecture. Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá's Church [Spanish, ‘Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá’]. Lobatera (Táchira State – Venezuela). An early example of Tachiran Romanesque Revival or inspired by Romanesque architecture. The church was built in 1908/1967. The main façade encloses an arch of triumph framed by two pairs of Roman orders (Doric and Tuscan Rusticated or Bossage carefully finished) and displays paired towers, a great variety of openings and complex arrangement of diversified classic arches including rose window. The aisles have a groin vaults supported on transverse arches. The Clock Tower (right-hand)  is a mechanical clock powered by pendulum/weights that descend 4.5 m or 16 ft. It is the oldest public clock in the Táchira State, since 1913 (It has into the clock chamber a machine elaborated by E. Howard & Co. Boston, Massachusetts, USA). The Bell Tower (left-hand) or belfry has a centenarian carillon/quadrillion (four old bell bronze used in the Roman Catholic tradition). In the background, an octagonal cupole over the High altar is supported by sharp-pointed arches and pendants. Church is a monument of national value and historical landmark (Venezuela Heritage of Cultural Interes, National Heritage Catalog 2004-2010/TA 17-18/p. 10. Official Gazette 38,234. Caracas, February 20, 2005). Photograph by Darío Hurtado, 2015.



State Official Gazette: The first official bulletin named El 14 de marzo, was created on July 1, 1856 and his editor was Dr. Focion Febres Cordero (first General Secretary of the Táchira Province). In 1863, with the Federal State, this publish was named Bulletin of Táchira and it had changed to Official Gazette in 1864. At present official gazette is published from December 13, 1901.




The art of craft shopping in Táchira. San Bartolomé de El Cobre, Vargas Municipality .(Photograph by Mi Táchira, www. wordpress. com 2015. Image for educational purposes)


First governor, senators and representatives of the Táchira Province: the first governor was Pascual Casanova (1817, Santa Bárbara del Zulia-1899, Caracas)in 1856,  and his Secretary General was Foción Febres Cordero (1831, Barinas-1911, Mérida). The Táchira Province elected two senators (Pascual Casanova and General Carlos Rangel) and two representatives (Argimiro Gabaldón and Carlos Gatell) to the Venezuelan Congress, in 1857. 


First president of the Táchira Province Legislature: the first president was Jesús Contreras and his Secretary was Manuel M. Villet, in 1856.  



‘La Panela’, A Tachiran Ambrosia: ‘La Panela’ is a Tachiran-style honey typically made -by artisans- from brown sucrose from sweet sap of sugar cane, without to refine. It a substance in the form of a mass of square shape or block [16th-century. Directly Spanish “Panela” < Latin panis, is "bread or dough parts"]. ‘La Panela’ is made in the ‘Trapiche’ or the old grinding mill (with grindstone or wheel wood) by extracts and processes the sugar from the cane. Each ‘Panela’ is in sugar canes dray leaves or bananas dray leaves envelopes. The typical ‘panela’ products are characterized by the ‘aguamiel’ (beverage usually consume hot), ‘aguapanela’ (beverage usually consume cold) and ‘guarapo’ (alcoholic beverage, a result of fermentation of ‘panela’). It is a great food that is Tachiran single in origin. Major ‘panela’ producing Municipalities in Táchira State are Lobatera, Ayacucho, Michelena, Seboruco, Jáuregui and Uribante.





A Tachiran Ambrosia... ‘La Panela’ or Tachiran-style honey is made in the ‘Trapiche’ or the old grinding mill (with grindstone or wheel wood) by extracts and processes the sugar from the cane. (Photograph by Jacqueline González, 1982)



Traditional Tachiran Cuisine | Tachiran cookery
Una cocina de diario siempre vestida de fiesta-regular cuisine, all the time is involved in party. 



‘Which is that source of Tachirans strength?... They have a good breakfast, soup! [in referring to 'la pizca']

Manuel Caballero (1931-2010)
Venezuelan historian

Tertulia en  Apartaderos, San Antonio del Táchira. Text compiled by Leonor Peña (1997)

 
Food: Pizca tachirense o andina (Tachiran or Andean pizca -pizca is Spanish word for trifle or small amount of something-morning consommé), pizca negra (Black pizcamorning consommé with welsh onion, parsley, Tachiran cheese, vegetable oil and eggs), arepas de trigo (wheat flour arepasa regional dish made by cooking thin season dought), arepas de maíz amarillo o telitas (flat and thin yellow cornmeal cakes/arepas), Tachiran hallaca (dish made with cornstarch, pork, chicken, raisins, olives, chickpeas and other spices wrapped in banana leaves), Indios o Bollos de Indias (Indian buns, cornmeal, ground beef, capers and hard cooked eggs, all wrapped in cabbage leaves),  pasteles (pastries stuffed with meat, chicken, beef with rice, cheese and cheese and guava), empanadas (corn meal's pastries lengthened and filled with meat, chicken, meat and rice or cheese)morcillas con quemadera de Lobatera (Lobatera's black puddings with Oppositeleaf Spotflower)morcón (big black puddings), sausages or criollo sausages and La Grita génovas (hot sausages), mute (soup with beef tripe, corn, peas and chopped vegetables), sopa de arveja con chicharrón (pea soup with pork rinds)hervido (hen or beef soup), gallinazo soup (Lablab bean or Dolichos bean soup)entreverado (fried liver, bofe, columbine and offal with onion and tomato), Tachiran ajiaco (bean soup with chopped meat and vegetables), mazamorra (porridge made by maize or yellow corn, eggplant, cabbage, peas or beans and meat); corrungo (white maize, pulses, spices and meat)queso mantequilludo de San Vicente de la Revancha (San Vicente de la Revancha' soft buttery or fatty cheese), caspiroleta (hot drink prepared with milk or chocolate, toasted bread and beaten egg), New Year’s Day Soup (traditional soup for the first day of the year. It is made by cooking lentil, flavored with cilantro/coriander, celery, Welsh onion, Criollo sausage and garnished with olive oil and parsley. This traditional soup is a myth for the Tachiran families and it represents that they hope living in abundant food and careless ease in the New Year).


Typical bakery: flavored breadLa Grita quesadillas (quadrate bread filled with cheese and guava), almojábanas (cassava dough stuffed with cheese), paledonias (biscuit with flour, baking powder and brown sugar cane), polvorosas (mealy biscuit), muffins and acema (bread made with whole wheat flour or bran. It is a round shape like a large and somewhat crushed corn cake), Tachiran toasts, olleta de la Villa (soup prepared with chicken, bacon, ham, peas, tomato and pasta).





Enjoy your meal!... 'Chicha’, ‘pasteles’ and a touch of 'picante' or chili sauce. Táchira State Most Emblematic Food. (Photograph by Sigrid Márquez Poleo, 2015)


Typical desserts: fig stuffed with sweet milkcocadas (coconut candies), melcocha (a viscous sugarcane molasses), angel’s hair (pumpkin angel’s hair cooking with sugar cane), dulce de toronja (sweet grapefruit)dulce de guayaba (sweet guava), dulce de lechosa (sweet paw paw, Christmas special dessert), Pregonero's corrunchete (hot dessert for mitigate themselves from cold wind from the Andes. It is prepared with panela -block brown sugar from cane-sweet plantains, sweet sponge, smoked cheese and miche cachimbo -white spirituous liquor- [Corrunchete is a Tachiran spelling pronunciation since early 18th-century. < Spanish colloquialism, ‘corrinche’: to gather in a place to discuss or confront something.]alfondoque (curd paste with sugar cane syrup, or molasses, cheese, anise and ginger), confites blancos anisados  (white aniseed sweets)

 



Typical drinks. chicha (of rice or corn), masato (fermentation of rice or corn, brown sugar cane juice and pineapple shell), calentado (hot liquor drink with white spirituous liquor, rosemary, thyme and panela)Lobatera aguamiel (hot beverage with panela and gin), aguardiente anisado (aniseed and seasoned drink) and aguardiente puro or miche cachimbo/cachicamo (white spirituous liquor), ponche crema (Tachiran Christmas eggnog or egg flip, it is a creamy drink made with milk, sugar, egg yolks, rum, mint and maizena), Ponche de Plenilunio/Time of Full Moon Punch (An old typical strengthen or medical punch and liquor of Lobatera with recipe by the 19th-century, made with a mixture of egg white -beaten until stiff-, beaten yolk, sugar and brandy or cognac)Caspiroleta molinera (special hot drink for ‘el puntal’ -like Tea Time-. It is prepared with chocolate, toasts or toasted bread, queso blanco -a typical creamy, soft and mild unaged white cheese- and a touch of brandy or gin), Mistelita or Champurria (White spirituous liquor with flavoring agents like honey and cloves).






'Bandas Municipales' or Municipal Brass BandsA Tachiran musical tradition are the ´Bandas Municipales' or Municipal Brass Bands. A group of musicians or musical ensemble that play together, specially for street music in towns and villages. They enliven the religious moments, fairs and communal festivities. Its instruments are predominantly wind instruments. Some oldest brass bands in the Táchira State are the Banda Marcial de San Cristóbal (City of San Cristóbal Military Band) founded in 1880; the Banda Junín in Rubio, founded in 1889; the Banda of Capacho-Independencia (Old Banda Castro), 1902 and Banda Municipal Sucre (City of Lobatera Municipal Band), 1906. The Lobatera Municipal Brass Band was declared 'Historic and Cultural Heritage of Táchira State' by the Regional Legislative Assembly, on 31 March 2015.




Old secrets and sights... San Pedro del Río is a well-preserved town situated in northwest Táchira State (Ayacucho Municipality). Its distinct Spanish colonial town character and tradition has made the town a major tourist attraction. Here, you journey through centuries of San Pedro del Río's rich history right in the heart of the Andean region of Táchira State .(Photograph by Espasa. Paisajes tachirenses, Skyscrapercity.com, January 9th, 2011. Image for educational purposes)

Music: Táchira State’s musical heritage includes, the first, ‘música campesina’ or the Tachiran country music (highland folk music), play with Latin America guitar, violin, ‘bandolín tachirense’ (Tachiran mandolin with fourteen strings in five courses –two, three, four, four, plus a single string- and it is plucking or strumming with plectrum) and maracas or charrasca (rattles used as percussion instrument). Its folk dances are the ‘galerón tachirense’, ‘lumbarda’, ‘la molinera’, ‘la perrabaya’ and ‘pato bombiao’ (dance with contestable verses -between couples- named ‘bomba’, both the music and dance of the ‘pato bombiao’ were influenced by the Spanish fandango, since 18th-century). The second, ‘música típica’ or the typical music with various related styles like bambuco, mazurka, polka, paso dobles, contredanses and ‘vals tachirense’ or Tachiran waltzes (Creole waltz with three parts, each of 16 bars). Typical music instruments include the ‘tiple’ (Tachiran guitar with ten strings), classical guitar, ‘bandolín tachirense’ (Tachiran mandolin), ‘bandola tachirense’ (type of mandolin with six strings), violin, transverse flute (a duet) and clarinet. The most famous typical music and dance is the ‘Bambuco tachirense’ or Tachiran bambuco.  It has a time of 6/8 and Spanish in origin from 19th-century old songs alike to ’Habaneras’, but its melody, harmony, scales, instruments and sentimental cadence reveals Spanish colonial culture influences (secular folk and work songs). Táchira State is home to several classical music associations (Táchira State Symphonic Orchestra, The Official Concert Band 'Marco Antonio Rivera Useche' and Tachiran Typical Orchestra). There are also many regional orchestras and choir societies in the state.


Twelve Classical Typical Tachiran Music Pieces: These pieces are some of the most popular Typical Tachiran Music, from a vast selection and cultural influence. Lyrical love songs and songs praising the beauty of the Tachiran countryside are most prominent. Note: The English subtitles facilities -for English readers- only a thematic immediately intelligible about each musical composition: “Brisas del Torbes”/Breezy Torbes River (bambuco, 1939, by Luis Felipe Ramón y Rivera); “Recuerdos del Táchira”/Remembering Táchira’s land (Creole Waltz, before 1934, by Miguel Ángel Granado and José Humberto Ocáriz); “El campo está florido”/Spring flowers (Creole Waltz, 1906, by Justo Telésforo Jaime); “Pluma y lira”/Writer and poet (Creole Waltz, 1910, by Justo Telésforo Jaime); “Flor de Loto”/Egyptian Lotus, a magic flower (Creole Waltz, 1929, by Juan de Dios Galaviz Ávila); “Cantos de mi tierra”/Homeland Folk-sings (bambuco by José Luis Eduardo Armas Méndez); “Noche de Luna”/A silent Full Moon night (Creole Waltz by Marco Antonio Rivera Useche); “Rosa Haydée”/Song written  for my daughter Rosa Haydée (bambuco by Enrique Duque); "Alegrías del Táchira"/Joys of Táchira (bambuco, 1961, by Pánfilo Medina La Cruz); "Cantares de Primavera"/Songs in Spring (bambuco by Pánfilo Medina La Cruz); “Tierra tachirense”/This land is your land (bambuco by Jesús Manuel Corrales Sánchez); “San Cristóbal Andina”/San Cristóbal January Fair (paso doble by Jesús Manuel Corrales Sánchez)




Long time ago, there was…  Táchira State is rich in places of myths, folktales and legends. 'Laguna de García' (1,900 m or 6,233.7 ft), Andes kettle lake (considered one of the most valuable wetlands in Táchira State) in Laguna de Garcia village, to short distance from Pregonero town (20 km or 12.42 mi) and near 'La Cimarronera' moorland (3,550 m or 11,646.7 ft). Region inhabited by ‘los Chácaros’ (word mean ‘habitantes aguerridos de la montaña' or the Bravehearts people of mountains). Uribante Municipality. (Photograph by COTATUR, 2010)




Laguna de García...Tachiran kettle lake... Mist, Magic and Myth in the Highlands of Táchira State. Táchira’s Highland region, covering the two-thirds of the State, holds much of the Andes Mountain’s most spectacular scenery and you may be surprised at just how remote much of it still is. (Photograph by Josmar Arambula, @AndesVenezuela, 2016)


'Sembrar el agua'-Sowing the Water (Tachiran countryside tradition). 
Since time immemorial (probably it came from Tachiran indigenous ceremony like an ancient focus of worship of water deities) and with positive effects of humans on the ecosystem and biodiversity, ocurr a practice or ritual known literally as 'To sow the water'. To this day, ceremony plays an important part in rural life of Tachiran High Mountain (Urdaneta, Junín, Andrés Bello, Vargas and Uribante Municipalities). For Holy Week (Time following the full Moon which falls on or after the equinox, March-April) in Good Friday, at 3:00 pm, it is prepared in a gourd or calabash (gourd vessel), little salt and water mixed. After is opening a deep hole in-ground, the calabash is closed and buried. The place had been previously selected on the heights of the mountains. The country person known as ‘El Faculto’ (Tachiran spelling pronuntiation for ‘The Empowered’) -in several places is accompanied by Roman Catholic parish priest who blesses the water-, prays on the water, some prayers, ritual and observances that only he knows. This ritual, by oral traditions, has been transmitted by ‘los mayores’ or 'The Elders'. In Uribante Municipality countrymen have like usage previously, to sow around the space for hole, Yátago or Trichanthera (gigantea Trichanthera) scions. Five or seven years later -in the same place- it will sprout a nascent or sources of water on a natural flowing watercourse from place where it was ‘sowed’ (Mr. Jesús María Duque Morales, 81 years old, Conservationist, La Auyamala village, Andrés Bello Municipality, 16 April 2015. Universidad Católica del Táchira (Conference).



Táchira State, Municipalities (abbreviations), Area & Capital Cities (Administrative Division)

Andrés Bello (AB) - 98 km2/37.83 mi² - Cordero
Antonio Rómulo Costa (RC) - 155 km2/59.84 mi² Las Mesas
Ayacucho (AY) - 494 km2/190.73 mi² - San Juan de Colón
Bolívar (BV) - 204 km2/78.76 mi² - San Antonio del Táchira
Cárdenas (CR) - 262 km2/101.16 mi² - Táriba
Córdoba (CB) - 619 km2/239 mi² - Santa Ana del Táchira
Fernández Feo (FF) - 1,134 km2/437.84 mi² - San Rafael del Piñal
Francisco de Miranda (FM) - 221 km2/85.32 mi² - San José de Bolívar
García de Hevia (GH) - 916 km2/353.67 mi² - La Fría
Guásimos (GS) - 31 km2/11.96 mi² - Palmira
Capacho Nuevo (CN) - 64 km2/24.71 mi² - Independencia
Capacho Viejo (CV) - 164 km2/63.32 mi² - Libertad
Jáuregui (JA) - 276 km2/106.56 mi² La Grita
Junín (JN) - 315 km2/121.62 mi² - Rubio
Libertador (LR) - 1,169 km2/451.35 mi² - Abejales
Lobatera (LB) - 242 km2/93.43 mi² - Lobatera
Michelena (MN) - 101 km2/38.99 mi² - Michelena
Panamericano (PN) - 776 km2/299.62 mi² - Coloncito
Pedro María Ureña (UA) - 177 km2/68.34 mi² - Ureña
Rafael Urdaneta (RU) - 202 km2/77.99 mi² - Delicias
Samuel Dario Maldonado (SM) - 563 km2/217.38 mi² - La Tendida
San Judas Tadeo (ST) - 253 km2/97.68 mi² - Umuquena
San Cristóbal (SC) - 244 km2/94.20 mi² - San Cristóbal
Seboruco (SB) - 117 km2/45.17 mi² - Seboruco
Simón Rodríguez (SR) - 79 km2/30.50 mi² - San Simón
Sucre (SU) - 376 km2/145.17 mi² - Queniquea
Torbes (TB) - 130 km2/50.19 mi² - San Josecito
Uribante (UB) - 1,502 km2/579.93 mi² - Pregonero
Vargas (VG) - 266 km2/102.70 mi² - El Cobre
  


The Táchira State has developed a thriving local school of artists -painters, sculptors and architects- drawing their inspiration from the Táchira's own history, its nature as well as modern art trends. Image: 'Árbol' or Tree by Carlos Cruz Acero, Tachiran sculptor. Patinated iron, 200 x 30 x 40 cm or 78 47/64 x 11 13/16 x 15 3/4 in, 2007. (Photograph by Archivo Visual de Artistas Tachirenses, 2015. Image for educational purposes)   



National Holidays and Other Notables Dates in Táchira State: National and Official public holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), Carnaval (two days before Ash Wednesday), Easter (including Holy Thursday and Good Friday), Declaration of Independence Day (19 April), May Day (1 May), Battle of Carabobo (24 June), Independence Day (5 July), Simón Bolívar’s Birthday (24 July), Constitution of State of Táchira Day (21 September), Resistencia Indígena/Indigenous Resistance Day (Old Discovery of America Day, 12 October) and Christmas Day (25 December). Other notable regional dates include St. Sebastian’s Day (20 January), Táchira State Day (14 March), The Christ of La Grita’s Day (6 August) and Our Lady of Consolation’s Day (15 august).



Tachiran Holidays and Traditional Celebrations: 'Romería de San Isidro'. Fiestas, or festivals, are an outstanding feature of Tachiran life. An example, in May and August, hundreds of countrymen people walk with yoke of oxen, ride on horseback or in colorful horse-drawn carriages -Spanish, las carretas de San Isidro- to Volador (Lobatera Municipality – Táchira State) during the ‘Romería de San Isidro’, a pilgrimage honoring the ‘San Isidro el Labrador’ or Saint Isidore the Laborer and ‘El Santo Rostro’ or Holy Face. They usually begin with a High Mass followed by a solemn procession in which venerated images are carried on the shoulders of the participants or pulled for yokes of oxen. (Photograph by Darío Hurtado, Volador Hamlet, August 2015)


Tachiran Christmas, religious practice and traditional customs. The annual Christmas celebration begins in the Táchira State on 16 December, with a nine-day period of prayer called ‘Misas de Aguinaldo’ or Mass of Christmas Grace. From 16 December through 24 December, people attend mass at dawn every day. At dawn on the first day of this novena, church bells ring, municipal and typical brass bands play, singing ‘villancicos y aguinaldos’ or Christmas carols, and much fireworks are set off. The Tachiran Roman Catholic population generally to build artistic ‘pesebres’ or replicas to scale of the manger scene where Jesus was born and attends midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, then holds a Christmas feast known as a ‘Cena de Medianoche’ or midnight supper that consist of ‘hayacas tachirenses’ (regional flavoring food and cornstarch or cornflour wrapped in plantain leaves and boiled), coffee or hot chocolate drink and 'ponche crema' a Tachiran eggnog or egg flip. Skies erupting at midnight over Táchira State, welcoming Christmas Day and New Year's Day with fireworks blitz as big as all Táchira. The Christmas season ends on 6 January. In addition to observing Christmas, some families in Táchira celebrate an old Spanish colonial tradition, the eve of Epiphany or ‘Noche de Reyes’ (Twelfth Night). Children place their shoes or socks outside their doors. By morning, the Wise Men have left gifts in its place. On the Epiphany, Capacho town near San Cristóbal city, celebrates ‘La cabalgata de Reyes’ or The Three Wise Men’s Cavalcade with elaborate public reenactments of the Three Wise Men on their journey to visit the infant Jesus in Bethlehem. Tachiran people hold the ‘Parada del Niño’ (Jesus child standing up) pageant on 31 January or 2 February. ‘La parada del Niño’ are evening processions that commemorate Jesus child begins to walk. Friends, relatives accompany ‘padrinos’ or godparents to sponsor Jesus child (an image on white shawl) at ‘parada’, people dressed as Mary and Joseph and people in the procession dress as angels. The group goes from house to house carrying candles, displaying brilliant fireworks and singing songs. At last house, a household invites them in to pray and put Jesus child (image) to rise to an upright position at their ‘pesebre’. After each ‘parada’, participants dance, sing, drink and eat a large meal. Another important custom of Táchira State is La quema del Año Viejo-Bonfires of Old Year's Night, which take place in cities and towns streets in December 31. Enormous and elaborated sculptures or satirical depictions of public figures and the years' events are displayed and burned at 12:00 am or New Year. 



Traditional Tachiran Highland Dress. In the late 19th-century, traditional Tachiran highland garment for women consisted of a hand-woven black piece of cloth or tucked in at the waist and draped as a dress or skirt (with strips or long flat pieces of coloured cotton or wool: yellow, red and green, along the edge the skirt); a white or green long-sleeved jacket; a 'mantón' (long black or white shawl over the head and shoulder, and a straw hat covers the upper bodies; protective footwear were especially 'alpargatas' (espadrilles or rubber and canvas sandals) and 'chinelas' (clogs). Men usually worn baggy, black or brown, mid-calf-length trousers with a white peasant shirt; a 'chaparra' or 'chácara' (wide belt of leather with silver or coins)[Chácara is a Tachiran spelling pronunciation since late 16th-century. < Quechua, ‘chacara’: cultivated field. Thus, the term ‘Chácara’ -for Old Tachirans- was a colloquial useful analogy by comparing to the similar abstraction of the wide belt of leather with silver or coins] and 'machete' (a large heavy knife with a broad blade used as a weapon or as a tool for cutting through vegetation); footwear were the 'alpargatas' (espadrille or rubber and canvas sandals); a solid bright red and blue (double-sided) woolen cloak or poncho, and a dark hat or straw hat completes the ensemble of the highland natives.



The tranquility of that life appear full and plain, this was the simplicity of the Tachiran tradition... Tachiran traditional dresses in the legendary and long-vanished Public Market of San Cristóbal City, built in 1874. (Photograph by Santos Estudio, c. 1905) 




 




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Táchira State Political and Physical Map. (El Nacional -newspaper-, Caracas, 1997)







Thank you for your visit and see you soon!

Merci de votre visite et à bientôt!



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© Proyecto Experiencia Arte | Experience Art Project 2012-2017. Some rights reserved. Copyright of texts, graphic works and photos belong to each researcher, photographer/office mentioned.