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MONSERRATE Monserrate was founded in 1640, starting out as a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Monserrat, well known among the Spanish believers.

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BOTERO MUSEUM

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Museo Botero exhibits 123 pieces of Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero and 85 pieces by international artists

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Is the most important square in the country It’s Located in the bottom of La Candelaria

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BOLIVAR’S SQUARE

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worth visiting for their collections, but also for the beauty of the architecture inside, such as the Museo Botero, the Museo de Bogotá, and the Museo 20 de Julio. La Candelaria offers its inhabitants and tourists a countless number of activities.

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steep and narrow. The neighborhood is located on the lower part of the mountain that runs along the eastern border of the city (known as the cerros orientales), offering its visitors a beautiful panoramic view of the mountain above and, as you climb higher into the neighborhood, the city laid out below. This unique neighborhood also has a collection of universities, libraries, museums, restaurants, and bars that continue to write history. Many of the museums are not only

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Any visitor to Bogotá must spend part of their trip wandering through the charming streets of La Candelaria, the city’s oldest neighborhood. The origins of La Candelaria go back to 1538, when the Spaniard Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada envisioned that a Muisca settlement would be the perfect place to start a city. He undertook the construction of a plaza, a church, and several houses. This historic spot, called la Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo, still exists and is located in the heart of La Candelaria. Now La Candelaria is the historic center of Bogotá, where traces of the era of Spanish rule have not been erased, evident in the Baroque and Colonial architecture of its colorful houses, churches, and other buildings. The stone streets are

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Meeting Point for Students, Visitors and Artists, it’s located in the northern part of La Candelaria

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GOLD MUSEUM It displays an extraordinary selection of its pre-Hispanic gold work collection - the biggest in the world -

QUINTA OF BOLIVAR the quinta - which translates to villa or country house - was a summer home for Bolivar

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Bolivar Plaza Bogota’s main plaza is a must-see for any visitor to Bogotá. It’s located on the lower side of the historic colonial neighborhood, La Candelaria. Flanking the plaza are the Catedral Primada, the most important church in Bogotá; El Palacio de Justicia, the location of the Supreme Court; El Capitolio Nacional, the seat of the Colombian congress; and the Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá, the mayor’s office. A block away you can find Casa de Nariño, where the Colombian president lives and works.

Monserrate

A few minutes before landing in Bogotá, from the small windows of the plane you can see the green mountains that surround the city. Perched on top of one of these mountains, at more than 10,000 feet above sea level, you’ll find one of Colombia’s most visited churches. Monserrate was founded in 1640, starting out as a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Monserrat, well known among the Spanish believers. Today it’s one of the most famous tourism sites in Bogotá. To arrive at Monserrate you must begin in the downtown neighborhood of La Candelaria. There are two ways to get up the mountain. One option is a teleférico, or cable car, that’s suspended in the air, offering riders a panoramic view of the city. The other option is a funicular that runs on tracks along the ground, providing a closer view of the vegetation around you. Both of these run daily and take about five minutes.

Once you arrive at the top, you take a short walk along a steep stone pathway until you arrive at the church. If you visit during the day, you can see a dramatic view of the city and enjoy the green of the mountain covered with yellow and violet flowers. If you decide to go to Monserrate at night, you can see the illuminated church and appreciate the immensity of Bogotá as you take in the lights of the city below. Around the church you can enjoy a variety of typical food from Bogotá along with hot drinks, which help temper the characteristically cold climate. You will also find stores selling artesanías and religious objects.

Given how high up Monserrate is, you may feel a little winded at the top so take it easy as you walk around, especially if you’ve just arrived in Bogotá and haven’t yet adjusted to the altitude.

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Gold Museum The Gold Museum has a fascinating collection of 33,500 pieces of goldwork, which are up to 2,000 years old. Due to a recent expansion and renovation, it has striking architecture and incredible lighting that enhances the beauty of the pieces displayed. The Gold Museum is a must see for anyone interested in the pre-Hispanic cultures of South America.

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More than 700 years ago, the Muisca tribe held a coronation ceremony in which they covered the new chief in gold powder and offered their most valuable objects to the sacred waters of the Guatavita Lake, close to what is now Bogotá. During the Conquest, the Spanish explorers heard of this ritual and searched endlessly for the golden treasure with many dying in the process, and so the story became a great myth: the famous treasure of El Dorado. “The Muisca Raft” (“la Balsa Muisca”) is a small piece of goldwork representing this coronation ceremony, which was discovered in the 1850s in an excavation far from the lake. Ever since, the object has been one of Colombia’s most emblematic images, and is one of the treasures you can find in the Gold Museum of Bogotá.

The Gold Museum has a fascinating collection of 33,500 pieces of goldwork, which are up to 2,000 years old. The museum also has around 25,000 pieces made out of other materials, such as clay, stone, leather, and textile. The Colombian Bank of the Republic created the museum in 1939 and, following a recent expansion and renovation, it now has striking architecture and incredible lighting that enhances the beauty of the pieces displayed. The collection and the accompanying descriptions show how the indigenous peoples of Colombia used gold to mold decorative objects inspired by scenes from their daily lives. As you explore the museum, you can travel to the past and

imagine the lives of the people inhabiting the Colombian territory before the arrival of the Spanish through the objects that they left behind.

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Botero Museum

More than 700 years ago, the Muisca tribe held a coronation ceremony in which they covered the new chief in gold powder and offered their most valuable objects to the sacred waters of the Guatavita Lake, close to what is now Bogotá. During the Conquest, the Spanish explorers heard of this ritual and searched endlessly for the golden treasure with many dying in the process, and so the story became a great myth: the famous treasure of El Dorado. “The Muisca Raft” (“la Balsa Muisca”) is a small piece of goldwork representing this coronation ceremony, which was discovered in the 1850s in an excavation far from the lake. Ever since, the object has been one of Colombia’s most emblematic images, and is one of the treasures you can find in the Gold Museum of Bogotá.

The Gold Museum has a fascinating collection of 33,500 pieces of goldwork, which are up to 2,000 years old. The museum also has around 25,000 pieces made out of other materials, such as clay, stone, leather, and textile. The Colombian Bank of the Republic created the museum in 1939 and, following a recent expansion and renovation, it now has striking architecture and incredible lighting that enhances the beauty of the pieces displayed. The collection and the accompanying descriptions show how the indigenous peoples of Colombia used gold to mold decorative objects inspired by scenes from their daily lives. As you explore the museum, you can travel to the past and imagine the lives of the people inhabiting the Colombian territory before the arrival of the Spanish through the objects that they left behind.

The Botero Museum houses 123 works of Colombian artist Fernando Botero. It also exhibits over 85 works by international artists such as Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miro. Donated by Botero to the city in 2000, the museum’s admission is free, and it is one of the city’s most important tourist attractions. 9

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Quinta Bolívar Museum In 1819, Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios, better known as Simón Bolívar, purchased the quinta which translates to villa or country house to use as a summer home. In those days, the house was located on the outskirts of the city of Bogotá. Due to the growth of the urban area, the Quinta now sits on the out side border of the historic center of La Candelaria. The house has been restore and conserved in it’s original French style. Bolívar’s sword, photographs, dishes, and even furniture with secret compartments can still be found there. Out side the

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house there is an open water system made out of stong. This system brings in the cold water from the San Francisco River, and is a testimony to the engeneering of the time. The Quinta is surrounded by a beautiful garden and the imposing mountains of Bogotá at its back, Bolívar enjoyed this special place with his friends and passed romantic nights with the love of his life, the popular Equatorian, Manuelita Sáenz.

Journalist Square Plaza de los Periodistas (Journalist Plaza) - is next to la candelaria. It was built in 1884, this area is characterized by its republic-style statue of Simon Bolivar a symbol of expression and oratory freedom. Surrounding the plaza are the Instituto de Lenguas (The Language Institute), The University of Los Andes, and the Candelaria neighborhood.

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Credits:

PHOTOS Jairo Rodriguez

REVIEWS Sarah Downie Jairo Rodriguez Carlos Barahona Catalina Lopez

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La Candelaria Bogota