In the vicinity of the town of El Calafate you can visit Walichu Caves , an archaeological site 7 km to the city center showing the tracks and the first men who walked these lands.
Walichu caves , paintings.
This tourist spot is a retrospective and historical time , both for its archaeological value and the beauty of the landscape and climate of dreams. The caves of Punta Bonita Walichu and form a unique place in Patagonia , framed in the steppe and the shores of Lake Argentino .
In the archaeological site is discovered the first cave paintings of the Paleolithic pertencientes province . This is a very original geological formation composed of sedimentary rock and steppe vegetation , where you can see utlizados eaves and natural caves by prehistoric man for pictorial manifestations .
The various paintings that are observed at the site have razor sharp in their red, yellow , black , white and ocher . between the main techniques stand dragging fingers, digital painting, using fingers or specks of hair and his mouth sopleteado through hollow guanaco bones . To develop these techniques utlizaron materials as ferrite and iron oxides with fatty guanaco plants resin , gypsum, egg white and even human saliva .
The legend of the Calafate
Ñires forests , beech and evergreen begin to take a characteristic tone , announcing autumn and giving the trees a range multicolor, from deep red through shades from gold to orange . This transformation has been repeated year after year , since time immemorial .
In this landscape lived tehuelches , original owners of the land , who when winter began to migrate on foot to the north where the cold was so intense and hunting was missing .
fruit – calafateEl caulk , bush typical of southern Patagonia. Photo courtesy of Roger Mathias patagonia.com.ar album
In connection with these migrations , Patagonian tradition conseva a legend. It is said that once Koonex , the old healer tehuelches a tribe , could not walk because its old and tired legs were exhausted , but the march could not be stopped . So Koonex understood the natural law to meet the destination. The women of the tribe made a hut with guanaco skins and gathered much wood and food for the old healer leave , leave of her with the song of the family.
Koonex , back to his house , fixed her tired eyes in the distance , until the people of his tribe was lost after the edge of a plateau. She was left alone to die. All living creatures away and began to feel the silence as a heavy slumber and enveloping.
The multicolored sky was dying slowly. It was many suns and many moons , until the arrival of spring. So outbreaks born , arrived swallows, plovers , the gay chingolos , the chattering parrots. Life again .
On the awning hides Koonex , landed a flock of small birds singing happily . Suddenly, he heard the voice of the old healer that from inside the hut , scolding them for leaving her alone during the long, harsh winter .
A Chingolito , after the surprise, he replied, » because we went in the fall becomes scarce food. Winter also do not have place to take shelter . » » I understand them ,» replied Koonex , «therefore, from today will feed in autumn and winter warm coat , and never will be alone » and then the old woman was silent .
When a gust suddenly turned canopy hides instead of Koonex was a beautiful thorny bush of fragrant yellow flowers. By mid summer the delicate flowers were made before autumn fruit and began to mature taking purple blue color of exquisite taste and high nutritional value . Since that day some birds did not migrate more and those were gone , hearing of the news , returned to try the new fruit that were captivated .
The tehuelches also tested , adopting forever. Seeds scattered throughout the region and , thereafter , » one who eats Calafate , always returns. »