Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

One of the things that Bogota is famous for is the Museo del Oro (the Gold Museum), which is one of the most famous museums in Bogota. A relatively small entrance fee gets you in the door, and I also splashed out on an audio guide, spending the grand total of about $5US for both. It’s more than just a museum about gold, it goes through much of the pre-colombian history and the different cultures and tribes that lived there, as well as their religious beliefs and the role that gold played in their society. The two seemed inextricably linked – a great museum well worth the visit.

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

I had also been told that if you haven’t been to the Cerro de Monserrate you haven’t been to Bogotá, so that was one morning’s mission. It was a walk to the funicular, then up the hill to the gorgeous view. Montserrate is 3152m high with a white church that seems to visible from almost everywhere. The views from the top are spectacular. The church is destination for pilgrims because it has an altar statue of the fallen Christ (Señor Caído).

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

After that, I went to a little cafe near Plaza de Bolívar called “La Puerta Falsa”, supposedly Bogotá’s most famous snack shop, operating since 1816. A typical snack from Bogotá is some bread with butter, country bread, a hot chocolate and cheese. A local custom is to put the cheese in the hot chocolate.  Well, given I was in Bogota I had to try it, but I’m not sure there will be a second time!

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

Also in Bogota is the  Museo Histórico Policia, which sounds strange, but is actually really interesting. It’s free to enter, and you get a guided tour in English by a policeman finishing up his compulsory military service. It helped to explain the huge number of police and the wide range of sometimes unexpected roles that they play. My favourites though had to be the Fucurs. Our policeman made a little joke about them and how an English speaker may pronounce it! The building itself was gorgeous, and there were lovely views from the roof. The museum itself was kind of strange, with a torture room, gun room, medal room, uniform room, and a room devoted to special forces and outlining the victories they have had over various drug lords.


Bogota, Colombia

I would also recommend the free walking tour offered by police through the tourism centre, which is offered in both English and Spanish.  It takes you through La Candelaria, the historical part of the city. It’s a strange mix of old houses, churches, and buildings, all in various states of repair, some dating back 300 years, alongside more modern structures.

Bogota, Colombia

The starting point and heart of the city is Plaza de Bolivar, a massive square which was once lined with colonial buildings. Nowadays it’s ringed by the Catedral Primada (Cathedral), the Capilla del Sagrario (chapel)  Palacio de Justicia (seat of the Supreme Court), Edeficio Lievano (mayoral offices) and Capitolio Nacional (seat of Congress).

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

They were all built at different times due to various events in history, for example the Palacio de Justicia and people in it were taken hostage by M-19 guerillas in 1985 (rumoured to have been financed by the Medellin drug lord Pablo Escobar), and following a drawn out offensive by the army to reclaim it, it was gutted by fire and was completely rebuilt. The Cathedral was originally founded in 1538 but rebuilt three times, the current one was completed in 1823. In the middle of this massive square covered in pigeons, is a tiny statue of its namesake, Simon Bolivar, which was the first public monument in the city, erected 1846.

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

One of the highlights was the Museo Boteroa and the Arte Coleccion. Actually this complex houses four museums (also included is the Casa de Moneda and the Museo de Arte del Banco de la Republica) and it was rather confusing which one was which. Fernando Botero is one of Colombia’s most famous artists and he donated all the artworks in the Museo Botero. There are also works by Picasso, Chagall, Degas, Monet, Miro, Dali and Ernst.

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

In the Arte Coleccion there is a range of artwork spanning several centuries up until about the mid 20th century. As well as a lot of religious art there were two religious thingamies, which is the best description I can give of them. I have no idea what they actually were, but they were large, ornate and quite spectacular, made from gold and encrusted in emeralds, diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, topazes and amethysts.

There are many treasures to be had in Bogota….you just need to seek them with your eyes open.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: