The Kolla
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The Kolla

Farmers and Artisans

Farmers and Artisans

The origin of the Kollas can be traced back to the shores of Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia. They emigrated in Argentina principally in Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca where they live, however some communities inhabit the Atacama region in Chile. Today, there are several indigenous groups that identify as Kolla.


  • Region is South America

  • Climate here is Mild



They are herders of llamas, sheep, and goats. They have an agro-livestock-based economy, which they practice in a territory made up of different ecological conditions. They grow a variety of potatoes, quinoa, maize, wheat and beans. They also have different domestic animals, such as pigs and chickens, and cultivate herbs and spices. They produce cheese in the summer period.


The Kolla’s house is characterized by a rectangular shape realized using raw earth bricks and covered by a thatched or tiled roof. Stones are often used for the foundations and the lower part of the perimeter walls, in order to guarantee greater solidity.


Social Structure

The Kolla live in enclosed communities; in order to keep their origins alive, they intermarry and tend to have strong cultural resistance.


The Kolla’s have kept most of their spiritual world’s beliefs, which are very similar to the Aymara’s. Pachamama is a goddess worshipped by the natives of the Andes. She is also known as the mother of the earth and time while Pachatata is father earth. They converted to Christianity after the arrival of the Spaniards and believe in the Christian after world.


Transmission of musical and choreographic knowledge to children occurs without adult participation and through collective games and observation.

The traditional male dress included short, knee-length, sleeveless tunic, decorated with stripes. Women wore a similar tunic with a rectangular cloth above the shoulders and falling at the waist as a sort of sash,

Music and dancing are really important and mostly linked to celebrations. Traditional musical instruments include the quena , anata , sikus , charango , erke and erkencho. Traditional catchy rhythms have become part of Argentina’s folk music, with the most popular being the Carnavalito.


They speak Quecha and Aymara, the main speaking groups together with Spanish.


The Kollas are known for their artisanal textile, however, traditional culture is now considered mestizo (chola) and to have lost some of its ancient customs especially after the arrival of the Spaniards.

In winter, when agricultural and pastoral activities are scarce, they make wool from Llamas. Traditional fabrics have very complex patterns in vivid shades of colors.


In general, the “Año Nuevo Andino Amazónico”, originally “Willkakuti”, is very important especially for the Kollas, as it is the Andean- Amazonic New Year. This is very significant for the communities since it celebrates the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21. The festivity is celebrated also in Bolivia and Chile.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

While visiting the Catamarca make sure to not miss the breathtaking Biosphere Reserve of the Laguna Blanca, recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO!

Pumice stones, Catamarca, Argentina

Farmer harvesting pumpkin in Argentina

"Descendants of the 'diaguitas' who live in the top of the Andean Cordillera | 120711-4359-jikatu" by jikatu is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Fourteen colors hill, Jujuy, Argentina

"Cementerio minero de Incahuasi, Catamarca, Argentina" by rodoluca88 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Old village in North Argentina