In La Candelaria

Capilla del Sagrario Capilla del Sagrario

Plaza de Bolívar, Carrera 7 No 10-40; h7am-noon & 1-5:30pm Mon-Fri, 3-5:30pm Sun) This smaller, baroque cathedral has more to see than its bigger brother next door, the Catedral Primada, including six large paintings by Gregorio Vásquez.

Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo: (Carrera 2 & Calle 12B) No one agrees exactly where Bogotá was originally founded – some say by the Catedral Primada on the Plaza de Bolívar, others say here, in this wee plaza lined with cafes, a small white church and many boho street vendors (or hacky-sack players). It’s a cute spot at any time of day, but particularly as dark comes – and students pour onto the scene – in the narrow funnel-like alley leading past pocket-sized bars just north.

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Capitolio Nacional Capitolio Nacional

(closed to the public) on the southern side of the plaza stands this neoclassical seat of Congress. It was begun in 1847 (its square-facing facade was built by English architect Thomas Reed), but due to numerous political uprisings was not completed until 1926. To visit, call Citizen Services (382 6129).

5.0/5 rating (3 votes)

Casa de la Moneda Casa de la Moneda

www.banrepcultural.org/museos-y-colecciones/casa-de-la-moneda; Calle 11 No 4-93; h9am-7pm Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm Sun) At the west end of the block, you’ll find this historic museum, which now houses the Colección Numismática in most of its front two floors. The exhibits (with a bit of English) start with pre-Columbian exchanges of pots and lead chronologically to misshapen coins, the introduction of a centralized bank in 1880 and how the cute tree art on the current 500 peso coin was made in the late 1990s. Behind the coins are the 10 halls of the Arte Colección, reached by overly elaborate ramps. Most of it sticks with modern splashes of oils by Colombian artists; the best, perhaps, are the giant figurative paintings by Luis Caballero (1943–95) on the 1st floor. A bit at odds with the rest are the two 1st-floor halls toward the east, focusing on 17th- and 18th-century religious objects, including two extraordinary custodias (monstrances). The largest was made of 4902g of pure gold encrusted with 1485 emeralds, one sapphire, 13 rubies, 28 diamonds, 168 amethysts, one topaz and 62 pearls. But who’s counting?

5.0/5 rating (1 votes)

Casa de Nariño Casa de Nariño

Beyond the Capitolio Nacional, reached via Carreras 8 or 7, on the south side of Plaza de Bolívar, is Colombia’s neoclassical presidential building erected at the beginning of the 20th century. President Santos lives and works here. It’s named for Antonio Nariño, a colonial figure with ideas of independence and who secretly translated France’s human rights laws into Spanish – and went to jail for it, a couple of times. In 1948 the building was damaged during El Bogotazo riots and only restored in 1979. To visit, you’ll need to log on www.presidencia. gov.co and scroll down to the link ‘Visitasguiadas a la Casa de Nariño,’ under Servicios al Ciudadano, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. don’t need permission to watch the changing of the presidential guard – best seen from the east side – which is held at 4pm on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

TIP: Guards around the president’s palace stand at barriers on Carreras 7 and 8. It’s OK to pass them, just show the contents of your bag and stay clear of the fence-side sidewalks.

5.0/5 rating (1 votes)

Catedral Primada Catedral Primada

(Plaza de Bolívar; h9am-5pm Tue-Sun) The main plaza’s dominating building, facing from the northeast corner, is this neoclassical cathedral which stands on the site where the fi rst Mass may have been celebrated after Bogotá had been founded in 1538 (some historians argue it happened at Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo, just east).

Either way, it’s Bogotá’s largest. The original simple thatched chapel was replaced by a more substantial building in 1556–65, which later collapsed due to poor foundations. In 1572 the third church went up, but the earthquake of 1785 reduced it to ruins. Only in 1807 was the massive building – that stands to this day – initiated and it was successfully completed by 1823. It was partially damaged during the Bogotazo riots in 1948. Unlike many Bogotá churches, the spacious interiors have relatively little ornamentation. The tomb of Jiménez de Quesada, the founder of Bogotá, is in the largest chapel off the right-hand aisle.

5.0/5 rating (1 votes)

Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez

www.fce.com.co; Calle 11 No 5-60) Opened in 2008 and a modern addition to La Candelaria, this expansive new complex pays homage to Colombia’s most famous author in name, but its events span the cultural spectrum way past literature. There’s also a giant bookstore (with a few English titles), a great hamburger restaurant and a Juan Valdéz cafe.

3.7/5 rating (3 votes)