Siegel01 Kilimanjaro: stories, legends and curiosities

Continuing with the monographic dedicated to one of the great destinations worldwide for lovers of nature and adventure, we will delve into one of the most outstanding prints of the wild heart of the indomitable África.

And since the classical antiquity, the West had news – between myth and reality – a magical place, a natural wonder that since then would excite the scientific and popular imaginary of our civilization. Thus, it would be the stories from the ancient Arab commercial caravans that would put Europeans behind a mysterious and exotic place that in 1519, the Spanish navigator and geographer Martin Fernandez de Enciso, would make the first documented allusion in his “Sum Geographic “, to the place where the” Olympus of Ethiopia “, a country” with a lot of gold and wild animals “.

Ngáje Ngái” (“House of God”, in masai), “Ol Doinyo Oibor” (“Shiny Mountain”, in maa) or Kilimanjaro (from “kilima” -“mountain”- and “njaro” -“whiteness”-, in swahili), Its ancestral villagers (masai warriors and Chagga and Ongamo farmers) considered Kilimanjaro the fantastic place of a silver mountain, always surrounded by clouds, origin of all the rivers of the earth and inhabited by ferocious spirits that annihilated with their icy breath Who dared to try to penetrate their secrets.

It is still said that in the caves inside the crater of the Kibo lies the throne and the fabulous treasure of Menelik I, the monotheist king (in his turn, the legend of Prester John) son of the mythical Solomon and The queen of Saba, who around the year 1000 BC Would withdraw here with the most chosen of his troops and riches under the protection of Ngái (“God”), after leaving the ark of the alliance in Aksum (Ethiopia). There he would continue to rule in his kingdom of ice until the end of time. In this same place, in 1926, would be the frozen corpse of a leopard (!?), Place that since then is known like “Leopard Point”.

“Uncovered” officially for the West for the evangelizing mission of the German Johannes Rebmann (1848) In search of the Chagga kingdom, his discovery would be taken with skepticism – even ridicule – when considering the existence of a high mountain with perpetual snow in equatorial latitudes impossible! (…)

Belonging to the protectorate of German East Africa, in 1889 he would be crowned for the first time by the expedition of Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller, who would be baptized as Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze.

After the first world war, the territory would pass to British control (Tanganyika) and in 1962 to the independent United Republic of Tanzania (whose name comes from the appeals “Tan” and “Zan”, as a result of the union of the territories of Tanganyika And Zanzibar). Since then, its summit would happen to be denominated Uhuru (“Liberty”).

These and other exotic and mysterious stories about lost civilizations, immense treasures and wonders of nature undiscovered, would excite the Western collective imagination, strengthening in the s. XIX (era of evangelization, exploration, conquest and colonization) the appearance of allusions in stories such as “Five weeks in a balloon” (1863, J. Verne), “The mines of King Solomon” (1885, H. Rider Haggard) or, in s. XX, “The snows of Kilimanjaro” (1936, E. Hemingway), As well as in different cinematographic visions of these literary classics (1950, 1952…).

National Park (1973) And Patrimony of Humanity (Unesco, 1987), The record in his ascension is currently held by Italian Bruno Bold, with a record of 5 hours and 38 minutes (!).

Well: with a secular, powerful and exotic icon (natural, historical, sporting, spiritual, advertising …) like this, who could resist his vision having it so close at hand? icon smile Kilimanjaro: stories, legends and curiosities

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