The greatest wealth of the Colombian landscape is its nature. The same one that, in some way, has been intervened or manipulated and has leading it to gain a place like touristic jewel of the world.
Such is the case of Cerro de Monserrate, ¨The guardian of Bogotá¨, a high hill that dominates the city. It rises to 3,152 m. asl, on the top there’s a church with a shrine, dedicated to “El Señor Caído” (Fallen Lord).Approximately 16 million years old hill on the most famous mound of the mountainous system called andean eastern hills, which function as the natural border of the city of Bogotá. Its recognition and tourist attraction is due to the spectacular view of the city it offers and also because it is a characteristic pilgrimage site for many catholic believers.
Monserrate is the favorite site of local tourists; nationals and foreigners, religious and athletes. Its altitude challenges to conquer the top and whoever lets himself be convinced will surrender to his charms. If you visit Bogotá you cannot miss an excursion or a tour of this iconic Bogota landscape.
Thousands of tourists meet daily to conquer by different means, the top of this guardian. Almost 600 meters of mountain that have made Monserrate the most representative symbol of ¨Bogotanos¨. Because of its tourist attraction, it is a must-see stop that should not be missing from the agenda of a traveler visiting Bogotá.
History of the hill
The hill of Monserrate is more than part of a mountainous formation that protects the city of Bogotá. (There are a lot of myths around geological origin of this mountain, many of the talks about volcanic origin, of course not, even given the existence of many others along the Eastern and Central Colombian Andes, mainly in the south area -Cerro Petacas, Doña Juana, Cerro de las Ánimas, Juanoi and Tajumbina, located betwen Popayán y Pasto; Geologically the Central and Eastern Cordilleras depict different periods of genesis and different types of rocks which allow them to keep their identities and independence from Colombia to Bolivia. Monserrate is a fully compressed sand-rock formation. It is a natural guardian that has seen from the front row the evolution of a city and has not been unharmed by the changes that have occurred in it.
Monserrate was originally named as Cerro de las Nieves (Our Holy Lady of Snows). The initial constructions on the hill were made by a wealthy family who later erected a Chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross of Monserrate.
From that moment the natural form of the hill would be reformed. Departing from a church in the city – Iglesia de las Nieves – a road was created to the top of the hill. In its route small chapels dedicated to the pilgrims who made the ascent were built. These structures reminded the chapels of the hills of Belén and Monserrat in Catalonia.
From the middle of the 18th century the name was changed to Cerro de Monserrate
thanks to its former patron; Santa Maria de la Cruz de Monserrate. It still retains that name. Since the first settlements, the hill has been a religious place, which every year sums millions of pilgrims to its top.
Visiting the Sanctuary of Monserrate
The Sanctuary of Monserrate is one of the places that attracts the greatest number of people to the top. Faithful Catholic believers arrive from different parts of the world to raise their prayers in the place, as do all travelers who cannot miss the visit of this important site of Monserrate.
The real name of the shrine is ¨Basilica del Señor Caído de Monserrate¨ (Shrine of the Fallen Lord of Monserrate). It is a Catholic basilica that was built in 1915 to replace the hermitage made in the 17th century.. Previously it had a style belonging to the architecture of the Neogothic period, made by the architect Arturo Jaramillo, but then it was transformed to a Neocolonial style that is the one that it preserves.
The object known as Quimbaya Poporo, one of the most recognized pre-Columbian pieces, was the first in the Gold Museum collection. This relatively unassuming bulbous vase with like four table-tennis balls sized spheres at the top, was a religious ceremonial device. It was purchased in 1939 by Banco de la República, after a private collector sold it. The 1,800-year-old object was almost melted down until the bank director established the museum.
The collection’s founding mission was to save gold objects from destruction for their value in gold weight and saving objects found by grave robbers, which were being exported illegally.
The museum principals never envisioned that the collection would grow to to reach about 32,000 gold artifacts with over 20,000 more objects made from metal alloys and many other materials.
The gold collection was first displayed for almost three decades at the Republican building Pedro A. López in Bogotá. But there was no space for a workforce at this location to study the artifacts. It was just for display. So, in 1968, the current building opened with additional educational, scientific and conservation objectives.
In 2018, National Geographic magazine even named this museum as one of the best museums in the world.
Besides the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, Banco de la Republica has six other branch museums in Armenia, Cali, Cartagena, Leticia, Pasto and Santa Marta, which are used to display specific regional parts of its large collection.
Casa de Moneda museum
Alonso Turrillo de Yebra arrived in 1621 with royal ordinances that accredited him to create the first Mint in the New Kingdom of Granada, and for this, he rented a low house in the La Candelaria neighborhood of present-day Bogotá to begin the work of reprimand in which, in an artisanal way, the first gold machines of America, known as doubloons, were elaborated among others. You can also find variety in its class or currency types.
Almost half a century later, during the reign of Ferdinand VI, the House expands to hold the new machines and the production is mechanized to produce circular pieces and better invoices. In 1756 the Viceroy Solis reopens the House, as can be read in the frieze of its stone cover. The physical structure of the house expands and transforms through three hundred and fifty years into several opportunities. Since the seventies of the twentieth century, works of recovery of its original architectural features that culminated in 1982 were carried out in the colonial cloister. Several aspects that are directly related to the currency and history of the property and its various interventions are illustrated in the numismatic sample Architectural
Your visit is totally free just like the Botero´s museum, if you want you can visit the most important library in Bogota, which is in front of this museum. you will know from the first coins and the first ticket printing machines that arrived to the country during theh colonial period.
Located In the heart of the city, it is the perfect place for all those who want to know the bohemian and cosmopolitan life of the place. We talk about ¨La Candelaria¨, which is actually a town´s district formed by six neighborhoods. Its architecture and narrow streets still preserve the magic of the colonial. It´s cultural, historical and gastronomic offer escapes any imagination and, have converted this area in the pride and one of the main touristic attractions of Bogotá.
The historic center of Bogotá is a place full of magic and living memories; Visiting it, more than mandatory, is necessary. La Candelaria neighborhood is the core of all this ancient movement. Its houses have been converted into theaters, museums, university facilities, hotels, charming restaurants, etc. Those buildings that have survived the pass of time have been declared assets of historical and cultural interest.
Chorro de Quevedo´s square, the Foundational Plaza
Taking advantage of the visit to the La Candelaria neighborhood, go to the Chorro de Quevedo square, where it is said that Bogotá was founded on August 6, 1538.
Full of history, light and color, with a shy and delicate fountain, this place is perfect for taking a break and enjoying the Bogota´s sunlight. while in there you can read a book, chat with a friend while enyoing a coffee cup or simply observe the people who walk through this beautiful corner.
Around the Plaza de Bolivar is concentrated most of the historical, and political heritage of the city: Congress of the Republic building, Palace of Justice, the Mayor´s offices, the Independence museum or the Prime Cathedral, and the Archbishop palace.
When Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, after settling his lawsuit with Nicolás de Federmán and Sebastián de Belalcázar, was able to found the city of Santa Fé de Bogotá, he had in mind, when making the layout of the main square, which was not just a plaza for the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada, but from the heart of that kingdom. As noted by geographer Agustín Codazzi three hundred years later, Quesada had the brilliant intuition of the guiding influence that Bogotá would exert on the rest of the Nation, and under that concept, he plotted and built the Plaza Mayor.
Around the Plaza de Bolívar has been formed a cultural nucleus perhaps unique in Latin America, one of the factors that make Bogotá’s historic center so attractive, apart from its rare mixture of republican and colonial architecture.
In the Plaza de Bolívar, the heart beats and the soul of our country vibrates, every day, since 1539. Despite the great changes and the great disasters that have affected it in the four hundred and eighty years that it has been created, the square has retained its effigy, similar to a postcard that serves as an identity card to the capital of Colombia.
As well observed by the essayist and historian Juan Crisóstomo García, “the Plaza de Bolívar is the transcript of an entire town.”
Around the Plaza de Bolívar, and beyond its four sides, a cultural nucleus of maximum interest has been formed. Among the institutions that in the course of the last one hundred years have come to life in the historical center of the capital are:
The house of the Comuneros, (current dependencies of the District Institute of Culture and Tourism), the Church Museum of Santa Clara, The Astronomical Observator, The Echeverry Palace, (headquarters of the Ministry of Culture), The 19th Century Museum, the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, the Casa de Nariño palace (headquarters of the Presidency of the Republic), General Archive of the Nation, the Casa del Marqués de San Jorge (converted into the Archaeological Museum), the Luis Angel Arango Library, the Caro and Cuervo Linguistic Institute, the Military Museum, the Rafael Pombo Foundation, the Camarín del Carmen (old monastery for barefoot nuns).
“The greatest gift a Colombian has given to the country.” This was what a newspaper wrote when Fernando Botero donated a magnificent collection of art to the Bank of the Republic including some of his works and part of his private collection of renowned artists.
Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist who has enchanted the world with his famous proportionally exaggerated characters that suggest an element of political criticism and contain a refined sense of humor.
Botero is a figurative artist and sculptor from Medellín, Colombia. He is known for his unique style, also known as “boterismo”. He is considered one of the most recognized living artists in Latin America, being the most acclaimed Colombian artist. He exhibited his pieces in 1948 for the first time and became a national eminence in 1958 when he won an award at the Colombian Artists Salon. From 1966 to 1975, he divided his time between Europe, New York and Colombia.
In 2000, he donated a collection of 208 pieces of art to the Banco de la República, which became the Botero Museum. Of this collection 123 are from his work and the remaining 85 are from international artists who belonged to his private collection, including 14 impressionist paintings (including the oil paintings of Monet, Renoir, Degas and Pissarro), four Picassos and works by Dalí, Miró, Chagall, Ernst, de Kooning, Klimt, Rauschenberg, Giacometti and Calder.