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Colombia: Monguí

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Monguí | Colombia | Americas

[Visited: December 2017]

The bus ride from Bogotá to Sogamoso was smooth even though we had to wait for quite a while for the "super directo" to leave. At the bus station of Sogamoso, the bus to Monguí left quite soon, which was surprising as there were only three passengers. Unfortunately, we did not take the direct road through the mountains, but the main road through the valleys. The last stretch of the drive offered us views of the mountain scenery in which Monguí lies. The red bus climbs to just under 3,000 metres and leaves us at the corner of the central square. For such a small village (around 3000 inhabitants) the square seems royal. At the far side: the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Monguí: again, a big structure compared to the size of this modest mountain village. Constructed at the very start of the 17th century, it is hard to imagine this square has changed much in the last 400 years.

Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Looking out over the central square of Monguí with the Casa de Gobierno

Close to where the bus dropped us, in a corner of the square, we see a statue that puzzles us: a woman sewing a football. Monguí turns out to be the place where families have specialized in producing footballs, which are used in the Colombian as well as the Central-American league. Indeed, we will notice a lot of shops selling footballs in town, and even a football museum. In the middle of the square: a local band is playing music on a podium, with a small crowd watching. It gives the square a friendly feel, especially when the sun breaks through the clouds, lighting up the 17th century buildings standing around it. At the northeastern corner of the square, we spot a fountain surrounded by a late-medieval painted decoration. It is time to get moving and explore Monguí.

Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Local woman from Monguí with the Basilica in the background

After a peek into the cloisters and the basilica, we walk the main street, passing the Capilla de San Antonio on our left. In this lively street, it becomes apparent that inhabitants of this little mountain village almost all dress up in ponchos, giving the street scene a local touch. The best are the women who, apart from their poncho, also wear a hat. Down the road, we see the Calicanto bridge, an old stone bridge that spans the Calicanto river. From here, we walk back the main street, cross the square, and then explore the northern part of Monguí which turns out to be quite different. The only people we see here are the locals, meticulously painting their white-and-green houses. We walk up the steep stone stairs, bringing us to a higher part of town. When we turn around, Monguí lies at our feet. Close by are the fields surrounding this colonial town. We descend to the central plaza again, where we catch the last rays of sunlight on the mighty Basilica before we catch the bus back to Sogamoso.

Picture of Monguí (Colombia): The Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Monguí seen from its corner
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Uphill street seen from the northern side of the main square of Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Capilla de San Antonio in Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Flowers decorating a house in Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Casa de Gobierno of Monguí, at the northern side of the central square
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Corner building in Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): The higher quarters of Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Looking up at the Basilica the Nuestra Señora de Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): One of the landmarks of Monguí: the Calicanto bridge
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Street with stairs in the northern part of Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): The traditional colours of houses in Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Street in the colonial town of Monguí
Picture of Monguí (Colombia): Fountain at a corner of the main square of Monguí

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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