Cerro Autana - Wahari Kuawai

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The Autana, Euwabey or Kuawai hill "The tree of life" in Piaroa dialect, is a tepuy that is located in the Amazon state.

It is part of the Guiana Shield. As for its height, some sources say that it reaches 1,250 meters of altitude, in others it is said that approximately 1,300 meters. It constitutes for the piaroas indigenous people a sacred mountain (known as the Tree of Life).

Although made up of almost horizontal strata of sandstone, the Autana contains caves and other karst formations, which are rare on rocks other than limestone.

The reason for these formations is found in the fact that said sandstone was cemented with proportions of limestone and the parts where there was a greater proportion of this mineral (calcium carbonate) were emptied by its dissolution, leaving interconnected caves and a very large with a dome-shaped roof that has different colors due to the different composition of the minerals that make it up.

 

This tepuy was declared a Cerro Autana Natural Monument in 1978, including not only the hill, but part of the Autana River and Lake Leopoldo.

Legend has it that the world begins when the Wahari God creates the Piaroa Indians. To populate and give fertility to the land, Wahari cuts the tree of life, the Kuawai, so that it spills all its fruits on the ground. Of this tree, only the cut trunk remains, which we foreigners call Cerro Autana.

 

“From the Tree of life, only the trunk remains.

You creoles call it Cerro Autana.

For us piaroas, it is the Kuaimayojo, the petrified stump of the Wahari-Kuawai, around whom Mereya Anemei created the universe: the rivers and streams, the mountains and the jungle, the animals, the rain and the celestial space.

This is our home territory.

This is, for us, the sacred land ”.

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