According to SIMPLYYELLOWPAGES, the capital of the country – Santa Fe de Bogota, or in short – Bogota, is located in the very center of Colombia within the Eastern Cordillera at an altitude of 2574 m. The city was founded by the Spaniards in 1538, at the place where the Muisca Indians have lived since ancient times. The name of the city was given by the Indian fortress Bakata located here. The Spaniards proclaimed Bogotá the capital of the conquered lands. Since then and to this day, this city has been the capital of the state.
The central part of Bogota has retained colonial features: it is entangled in a network of narrow streets lined with buildings from the 17th-19th centuries. The main square of the Old City is Plaza Bolivar, on which in 1842 a monument was erected to the first President of Colombia – Simon Bolivar. Also on the square is an old Cathedral. Its construction lasted from 1572 to 1610. In the vicinity of the square are the Presidential Palace, where the ceremony of changing the guard of honor is held daily, the Palace of Justice and numerous churches: Santa Clara (17-18 centuries), La Concepción (18 century), San Ignacio (16 century), La Tercera (18th-19th centuries), La Candelaria and San Diego.
Adjacent to the central area of Bogotá is the ancient La Candelaria district, the main attraction of which is the world-famous Museum of Gold. The museum is located on 3 floors and contains the world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian items made by Indians (over 36,000 exhibits in total). Gold was considered by the Indians to be a sacred metal, concentrating the energy of the Sun, which is why objects made of gold were not material value and were widely used for ritual purposes, as well as in the household. The Museum of Gold exhibits jewels found at the bottom of Lake Guatavita, where, according to legend, the land of gold – Eldorado, nuggets, including the famous Colombian emeralds, gold bars, coins, jewelry and archaeological finds. Here you can see the legendary “Golden Raft”, which dates back to 1200-1500 BC. It was discovered in 1856. The raft is 20 cm long, 10 cm wide and 10 cm high, in the center of the raft is the figure of the leader of the Muisca empire, which is surrounded by 12 smaller figures. This composition is an illustration of the Muisca’s main ritual ritual, which they performed on Lake Guatavita: each new leader went on a raft to the center of the lake and threw gold jewelry into its waters to appease the gods. In the La Candelaria area, the Church of San Francisco (16th century), the Church of Del Carmen, the Theater Colon (1892), the Museum of Urban Development, the Military Museum and numerous old mansions. Mount Montserrate rises above La Candelaria with a height of 3152 m, to the top of which you can climb by funicular. From the mountain there is a beautiful view of the city. Also at the top of the mountain stands the 17th-century monastery of San Vincente. There are dozens of museums in the Colombian capital. The oldest museum of the city is interesting – the National Museum of Colombia (1823), which contains about 20,000 exhibits on the history of the country, the Museum of Colonial Art, the Museum of Modern Colombian Art, the Archaeological Museum and the Simon Bolivar House Museum. In addition to museums, Bogota boasts its many parks. In the El Salitre area is the vast Central Park named after Simón Bolivar, which is the largest urban park in the world. It consists of five small parks: Simon Bolivar, El Salitre, Los Novios, Unidat Deportiva El Salitre and Jardin Botanico José Celestino Mutis. The park has walking and cycling paths. It is worth noting that Bogota has the most extensive network of cycle paths compared to other cities in Latin America. Cycling is a favorite pastime of locals and tourists. In the park, it is worth visiting the Botanical Gardens of Jardin-Botanico-Jose-Celestino-Mutis, where about 800 species of Colombian plants and many species of exotic plants from other countries are represented. In addition, in the Central Park there is an Aqua Park with numerous water activities, covering an area of 14,000 square meters. The business districts of Bogota , Avenida Chile (Calle 72), Carrera 15 and La Zona Rosa are known for their shopping malls, restaurants, bars and discos.
You can see the main sights of the Colombian capital by going to travel by city sightseeing train. Its route covers not only metropolitan areas, but also the outskirts of the city. The final destination is located 50 km from Bogota in a small town called Zipaquira. Here is the famous Salt Cathedral, which was completely carved into the salt mountain in 1600 at an altitude of 2652 m. The height of its vaults reaches 23 m. The walls of the cathedral are covered with salt crystals, which, reflecting the backlight, create a bewitching play of light.
From Bogotá you can go to any corner of the country: north to the departments of Boyaca and Antioch and to the Caribbean coast, southwest to the valley of the Magdalena River, where the remains of ancient Indian civilizations have been preserved, west to the so-called “coffee triangle” and to the Pacific coast and to east – to the valleys of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers.
In the immediate vicinity of Bogota there are many attractions. 40 km from the capital there is the Facatativa Archaeological Park (Piedras del Tunjo), where on an area of 40 hectares you can see rock paintings that were made about 30,000 years ago, and 56 km south of Bogota , the Zoological de Santa Zoo is interesting. Cruz, which contains over 500 animal species. East Bogotá is home to Chingaz National Park. In ancient times, this place served as a ceremonial center for the Muisca Indians, so several archaeological sites have been preserved here. The park is designed to protect the high mountain communities of the Cordillera Oriental: there are about 2,000 species of plants, including bright mountain flowers, and home to bears, deer, tapirs, cougars, Andean condor and Peruvian rock cockerel. A little north of the Chingaz National Park is the legendary Guatavita Lake., which is mentioned when describing the gold-bearing region of Eldorado. According to legend, the leaders of the Muisca Indians threw gold and precious stones into the water of the lake as sacrifices to the gods. Treasures lying at the bottom of the lake attract treasure hunters to this day. Many finds from this region are exhibited in the Moscow Museum of Gold.
150 km south of Bogotá is the vast Sierra Macarena National Park.. The park covers an area of 640 thousand hectares. The local Sierra Macarena mountains up to 1600 m high are the watershed of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers and, accordingly, the boundary between the natural communities of the valleys of these rivers. The flora of the park is extremely diverse: there are about 50 species of orchids alone. Anteaters, jaguars, cougars, deer, 8 species of monkeys, 550 species of birds and about 100 species of reptiles live in the park. Numerous rivers flow through the park, which form waterfalls. On the rocks rising above the river valleys, you can see ancient petroglyphs.
Northeast of Bogota is the department of Boyaca, known as the “Land of Freedom”. It was here that in the 19th century the main battles for the country’s independence from the Spanish crown unfolded. The department is worth visiting the city Chikinkira. It is located 115 km north of Bogota. Chikinkira is considered the religious center of Colombia, the main shrine of the country is located here – the icon of Madonna Chikinkiri – the patroness of Colombia. Pilgrims come to the saint every year. Also in the department of Boyaca are numerous colonial cities that have preserved the Spanish spirit. These include Tunja and Villa de Leyva. The city of Tunja is the center of the department. It was founded in 1539. The buildings of the 18th century are interesting in the city: El Puente de Boyaca, where the Art Museum is now located, and Casa de Don Juan de Vargas with an extensive Andalusian garden, as well as the Catedral Cathedral (1569), the Church of Santa Clara (17th century) and the monastery of Santo Domingo (16th century). To the north of the city of Tunja, on the shores of Lake Ikaukye, there is a reserve of the same name with an area of 6750 hectares. The Muisca Indians believed that this lake was the source of all earthly waters. The city of Villa de Leyva is located 40 km west of Tunja. The central square of the city was built about 400 years ago, and on the cobbled streets of Villa de Leyva you can see buildings of colonial architecture. For its unique appearance in 1954 the city was declared a monument of national history. In the vicinity of Villa de Leyva is the El Fossil Museum, which displays the remains of dinosaurs from the Mesozoic era that were found in these parts. In the northeastern part of the department of Boyaca, on the border with the departments of Arauca and Santander, is located Kokui National Park. The park protects about 306,000 hectares, on which 25 snow-capped mountain peaks are located in the northern part of the Eastern Cordillera. Altitudes within the park range from 600 to 5330 m. Kokuy is suitable for hiking and mountain climbing. The park is home to tapirs, monkeys, all Colombian feline species and many birds.
Further northeast in the department of Santander, about 350 km north of Bogota, is the city of Bucaramanga. Due to the abundance of parks, Bucaramanga was nicknamed “Pretty City”. In the vicinity of the city, the city of Giron with numerous buildings of the colonial era and the Chicamocha National Park are of interest., where a cable car 6.3 km long was laid through the canyon of the same name. From here you can go north to the Norte de Santander department, where the Los Estoraques nature reserve is located. In the reserve, you can see bizarre stone formations and high rocks in the form of narrow towers, which were formed over several million years.