Colombia’s Flintstone House Is Made Entirely from Baked Clay

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64-year-old architect Octavio Mendoza literally baked the house that he lives in. He calls the 5,400 square foot house ‘the biggest piece of pottery in the world’. Casa Terracotta, or Casa Barro in Spanish, was built exclusively by hand using clay and baked in the sun. Located in Villa de Leyva, a colonial mountain village in Colombia, it is also known to locals as the ‘Casa de Flintstone’ or Flintstone House.

From the outside, Casa Terracotta looks like a huge mound of clay, loosely fashioned to resemble a cottage. It is surrounded by lush green farmland, set against a breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. Inside, the rooms curve and flow into each other, as though the entire house was cast in a single mold. Rustic as it seems, the clay cottage does offer a few modern conveniences – solar panels for hot water, toilets and sinks covered in colorful mosaic tiles, two floors with lounge and sleeping areas, and a fully functional kitchen. Of course, the kitchen table and all the utensils are all fashioned out of the same material – clay. The beer mugs that adorn the kitchen are made of recycled glass and the lighting fixtures from scrap metal.

Mendoza, who spent most of his career designing homes, commercial buildings and churches, calls the clay house his ‘project for life’. He started to work on it over 14 years ago – his goal was to demonstrate how soil can be transformed into habitable architecture by simply using the natural resources at hand. So Casa Terracotta doesn’t contain an ounce of cement or steel. Mendoza, who is also an environmental activist, said: “Think of it this way. In desert places (which exist all across the planet), soil is perfect for this type of architecture. This means that for all those regions, a system like this could bring housing to millions of families.”

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Mystery Surrounds Colombian Cemetery That Turns Buried Bodies into Mummies

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The ancient Egyptians spent centuries developing their mummifying techniques, but at a cemetery in San Bernardo, a small Colombian town, corpses somehow become naturally mummified in their coffins.

The phenomenon was first noticed 15 years ago, by grave digger Eduardo Cifuentes. “The burial pit was full of bodies,” he said. “I didn’t like stepping on them because they were humans like us so I started organizing them.” It’s only because of Eduardo’s efforts that the mummies are being talked about. He said that the mummified bodies have been around since about 1957, but no one paid any attention to them. “I liked the idea of keeping them for posterity,” he said. With the passage of time, the mummies’ clothes and skin have turned brown. Their skins look pasty and wrinkled.

Scientists have no idea why this is happening. The only other site in Latin America where natural mummification takes place is the Guanajuato, a town in central Mexico, where underground gas and soil conditions are the secret. But the same cannot be said for San Bernardo, because bodies are buried in chambers above the ground (as is customary in Colombia) so they do not come into contact with the earth.

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Colombian Company Specializes in Stylish Bulletproof Clothing

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A Bogota-based company specializes in fashionable clothes that will protect wearers against gunshots and knife attacks. One such bulletproof jacket can withstand ammunition from a variety of weapons such as a 9mm, a .44 Magnum and a 3.75 revolver. The protective clothes – now sold in 18 countries, have been worn by the Vice President of Colombia, Francisco Santos, Hugo Chaves – the former President of Venezuela, the Price of Spain and even by action film star Steven Seagal.

Colombia is notorious for arms and drug trafficking and is considered one of the most violent and dangerous countries is Latin America. High-level dignitaries an businessmen here try to protect themselves as best as they can, with owning bulletproof cars and vests being the most typical life-saving accessories. During their University years, Miguel Caballero and John Murphy noticed people’s pressing need for safety and started a profitable business creating stylish and lightweight bulletproof clothing.  While citizens are safe in their bulletproof cars, once they get out, they became vulnerable to attack. “Most of these people ride in armored cars, so they need something to wear when they step out of the car and walk into their home or restaurant,” said Murphy – who left the partnership but still sells the innovative  garments he and Miguel designed.

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Believers Rock Out at Colombia’s Heavy Metal Church

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Some may find it blasphemous, but for the members of Pantokrator Church in Bogota, Colombia, Heavy Metal is a form of pure devotional worship. I know it’s pretty hard to associate screaming and head banging with the serene image of Jesus, but somehow, the 40-member-strong church is able to make the connection.

I wouldn’t blame you if you took one look at the people gathered here and assumed it was for some kind of satanic ritual. What else could one expect, with people dressed in black clothes, army boots with metal spikes and weird body piercings. But nothing good has ever really come out of stereotyping people. So a deeper look does reveal that the church-goers at Pantokrator (Greek for ‘All Powerful’), are pretty serious about their faith. The founder of the church is 24-year-old Cristian Gonzalez, who is also a heavy metal drummer. According to Cristian, it’s perfectly normal to worship through heavy metal music, when Jesus himself got involved with people no matter what their condition – prostitutes, thieves or tax collectors.

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Colombian City Inaugurates Giant Outdoor Escalator

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The last time we spoke about the Colombian city of Medellin here on OC, it was about the tours based on the life of deceased drug-lord Pablo Escobar. Now the city is in the news again, for an entirely different reason. The residents of Medellin who have long been victims of war and urban violence have a reason to cheer – a giant outdoor escalator worth $6.7 million, installed by the Colombian Government. It was unveiled on Monday.

Comuna 13 is a relatively poor hillside neighborhood in Medellin, whose residents have to make a 35-minute hike uphill every single day to get home from the center of the city. This is roughly equivalent to climbing 28 flights of stairs. Now, thanks to the initiative of the Colombian officials, they do not have to make the exhausting journey any longer. The new escalator will allow residents to complete the trip home in just 6 minutes. What’s more, it’s completely free of cost.

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Drug Lord Pablo Escobar Becomes Colombian Tourist Attraction

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When Pablo Escobar died in 1993, the people of Medellin, Colombia, sighed in relief. But little did they know that the world’s most notorious criminal at the time would become one of their country’s most popular tourist attractions.

The legacy of Escobar lives on in Medellin, in a different and slightly unusual manner. The man and his life are now sold as a tourist attraction to visitors; this has proven to be quite popular. Escobar, who was responsible for several acts of terrorism such as blowing up the Government’s Security Ministry, assassinating a Presidential candidate, bombing a civilian airliner, and waging a war in which thousands of people were killed, would have least expected that the memories he left behind would one day serve as a means to attract tourists to Colombia.

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Colombian Chef Creates Edible Wedding Dresses

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Juan Manuel Barrientos, a talented young chef from Colombia, has created two fully edible wedding gowns and showcased them during the Colombiatex fashion show in Medellin.

Barrieto admits he didn’t know much about fashion, let alone edible fashion, until someone asked him about clothes that you could eat. He started doing some research on the subject and didn’t stop until he was able to create two beautiful wedding gowns exclusively out of edible materials.

Wedding dresses are usually just something pretty for people to look at, so Juan Manuel Barrieto decided to use his newly acquired knowledge to give them a whole new purpose. Instead of just eye-candy for the wedding guests, his beautiful creations are real candy for the groom to enjoy on his wedding night.

The original wedding dresses are made of 2,000 sugar-glazed rose petals and champagne clothe and come with edible accessories such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings made of candy, and a bouquet made of edible flowers.

Barrieto showcased his sugary gowns during a textile fair for professionals that takes place between Januarry 25 and 27, in the Colombian city of Medellin.

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Cano Cristales – The Rainbow River

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Known as ‘The River of Five Colors” or “The Rainbow River”, Cano Cristales is one of the most amazing rivers of our world.

For the most part of a year, Cano Cristales river, in Colombia, is just an ordinary as any other flowing waters you might have seen. But for a brief period of time, it becomes the scene of a natural festival of colors. The special algae living on the river’s bed of rocks is behind this incredible natural phenomenon.

The river’s flow of water regulates the amount of sunlight reaching the algae, and during the rainy season, it keeps the sun’s rays from reaching the bottom. During the dry season, the water is too shallow to sustain river life, but between these two seasons, conditions are just right for the colors of Cano Cristales to come to life.

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La Tomatina – Biggest Food Fight in Colombia

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What started as La Tomatina of Bunol, Spain, is now also a popular celebration in Sutamarchan, Colombia and even Dongguan, China.

On June 14, locals of Sutamarchan and many tourists gathered on an old football field to stage Colombia’s biggest food fight of the year. Around 15 tons of tomatoes were sacrificed in La Tomatina this year. The food fight, inspired by the much more famous Tomatina of Bunol, is part of a three day tomato celebration. A tomato-eating contest and a competition for the largest tomato, are also part of the celebration.

via Telegraph.co.uk

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