The Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (PCC) is an outstanding example of human adaptation to challenging geographical conditions: its inhabitants managed to grow coffee in steep mountain ranges with vertiginous slopes. The PCC is a unique cultural landscape in which natural, economic and cultural features merge. In this astonishing landscape, human, family and generational efforts come together with the support of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC).
Social adaptation to a unique use of land and the development of highly specific cultural traditions, in both agricultural practices and particular settlement arrangements, contribute to the image of a continuing, productive and living landscape. Land tenure is based on a small farm production system which reflects an economic, social and environmentally sustainable coffee growing model.
Colombian coffee has gained worldwide recognition as one of the best coffees produced in the world. In the case of this region the beans have helped shape a high degree of cultural unity. This is expressed in tangible cultural manifestations such as urban and rural construction techniques. Similarly, it is expressed in intangible cultural manifestations associated with local traditions, costumes, festivities, carnivals and celebrations of the paisa identity inherited from the Antioquian settlers.
The PCC is made up of coffee growing areas from the departments of Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda and Valle del Cauca located in the central and western foothills of the Andes mountain range. This region has been traditionally known, nationally and internationally, as Eje Cafetero, or Coffee Growing Axis. However, in order to underline its outstanding values recently it has been known as the “Colombian Coffee Cultural Landscape”.
The region’s economy and culture began revolving around coffee a few decades after the Antioquian settlers arrived to the territory in the 19th century. Processes including planting the first coffee plantations; constructing rural housing; building the infrastructure for coffee transportation, processing and commercialization; and transforming production techniques have provided an exceptional dynamism to the PCC.
The combination of a deeply rooted coffee tradition and the inheritance of the Antioquian colonization have played a key role in the configuration of the region’s culture. Expressions in fields as diverse as music, dance, traditional culinary and architecture –transmitted from generation to generation–, are a result of this background amalgamation.
The PCC is a unique region in the world. In order for humanity to admire this treasure, it must be preserved.
What does the PCC comprise?
The Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (PCC), located in the central and western foothills of the Andes mountain range, is made up of specific areas of 47 municipalities and 411 villages (veredas) of the departments of Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda and Valle del Cauca. It comprises nearly 24,000 farms in which 80 thousand people dedicate their life to growing coffee.
The Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia declared in the World Heritage List
The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization –Unesco– inscribed the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (PCC) in the World Heritage List on June 25th, 2011. This recognition commits the Colombian government and the international, national and local community with the PCC’s protection. Likewise, it gives its inhabitants and visitors the opportunity of getting to know the landscape and being part of its preservation.