BOGOTÁ, FROM THE OLD TOWN TO DOWNTOWN:
If you come to Bogotá, Colombia, you will find a vibrant city that is, for sure, going to surprise you. And it is said, because this metropolis lived by more than 9 million people is a place on earth you would like to know if you are interested in history and want to see how this elevated location, up on the Andes mountains, is one of the most important and modern developed cities of the Americas.
The Muiscas, were the natives that lived here before the Spaniard conquistadores, came to this extended plain. They had a very good life over here; the salt mines of Zipaquira, and a very fertile land, made this a hot trading place, where other tribes came to exchange products for the salt and the produce. The payment for the commodity could be fish or hunt, or tropical fruits and vegetables, but also they paid for it in the form of gold artifacts.
This is why all the natives from many regions pointed to the conquistadores this place up in the mountains. Where there was the richest of the native chiefs of the land, known as El Zipa.
The greedy Spaniards came here looking for El Dorado (A myth that there was a city made of gold), And when they came, they found that it was normal for the Chibchas (The name of the tribe of the Muiscas that inhabited the area) to have gold objects hanged in the walls of their houses and in their bodies as well.
They decided to stay and founded Santafe de Bogotá, in August of 1538.
Since then, this town has been playing a principal role in Colombia, the Americas and the world.
When you come to Bogotá, there are some places you have to be if you are here. The old city, known as La Candelaria, is a must. And it is better if you walk by. There you will be seeing the transformation from the Spanish town to this urban hot spot of the 21st century, At the Plaza de Bolívar you will see the Catedral Primada, the Palacio de Justicia, The Palacio Lievano which is the Mayors office and the Capitolio Nacional, where the Congress of Colombia deliberates.
Very near is the Casa de Nariño, where is the office and residence for the President of Colombia. Also, walking by La Candelaria, the architecture is a blend of times from the colony to present. At time you will feel as if you were walking in the Spanish settlement of the 16th century and in the other block you will see a French building of republican style or and art deco from the 1920s.
Many museums are in this small area of Bogotá, from the Quinta de Bolívar to the Casa del 20 de julio, or the Museo de Arte Religioso to the Casa de la Moneda or the Museo Botero, or the Emerald Museum to the most famous of them all, El Museo del Oro, an impressive collection of gold artifacts from before the conquista. You will be amazed, and will know that El Dorado is a legend to be discovered.
Blend with the bogotanos, it is safe, just be aware like in any major city. Have local treats like an aguapanela with almojabana, or a pandebono, drink a jugo de lulo, you will never forget the flavor, grab an empanada and juice it with a pinch of lime and ají. Have breakfast with caldo de Costilla (beef rib and potato soup), or stop at a bakery and ask for a roscón. At this area you will find all of Colombia and many parts of the world reunited in few blocks, so make the best of it. Enjoy the climate, not as cold, never too hot.
If you want to take a tour of Bogotá, you can do it by your own using your mobile. At www.audiomap.me you will find a tour of downtown Bogotá.