Upon arrival in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, I immediately went to La Candelaria district, where I easily found a place to stay. While just before I had seen relatively modern buildings, skyscrapers, roads full of cars, walking in La Candelaria soon made me realize that this was still a quite authentic area of the city. I decided by going to the most obvious place to start discovering the historic city centre: the Plaza Bolívar, or the main square named after the famous liberator of South America. Dark clouds were rolling in and seemed to get stuck on the mountains surrounding the 2,600m high capital, and they seemed to put a heavy lid on the square.
Colombians were strolling over the Plaza Bolívar, kids running around, young couples embracing and making plans for the rest of the day; they were all aware of the black clouds hanging ominously above us. On the eastern side of the square, off centre, lies the Catedral Primada or the cathedral of the city. The outline of its unmistakeable colonial architecture was being reinforced by the dark background. This is the true heart of the city, here is where it started immediately upon the arrival of the Spanish in 1538. Nowadays, the square is surrounded by modern buildings like the Court of Justice and the Senate. From here, most of La Candelaria district can be found to the east.
Soon after leaving the lively Plaza Bolívar behind, walking uphill, you enter quiet cobble stone streets with houses painted in different colours: orange, blue, white, yellow. Continuing your way up, and you will feel like being in a town instead of a capital city. Here, there is hardly any traffic, there are just a few people on the streets, and it is only when you turn around and see the vast city lying at the feet of the Monserrate and Guadalupe mountains. Walking down again brings you to splendid buildings like the Teatro Colón, the enormous Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, the Palacio de San Carlos, as well as several colonial churches. It is the combination of these monumental buildings and the cosy, colourful streets that are so close by, that make La Candelaria an attractive area to visit.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from La Candelaria (Colombia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to La Candelaria.
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