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Colombia: Museo del Oro

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Museo del Oro | Colombia | Americas

[Visited: January 2009]

The Gold Museum, or Museo del Oro, occupies the larger part of a block in downtown Bogotá. But still, it is not possible to appreciate, or even guess, from the outside what treasures are hidden here. The entrance is modern, but the ticket for this museum full of treasures and riches is a simple copied paper ticket with a date stamp. As soon as I started touring the museum, I was impressed by the artifacts on display. If you follow the advised route, you will see the very first uses of gold in South America. Quite soon, you realize that gold has been widely used and shaped into spectacular articles.

Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Elegant flying fish made of gold in the Gold Museum

The exposition focuses on Colombia, and you can actually see finds from artifacts found in old cultures from the different regions of the country. If those tombs in the south were empty, here you can find samples of the beautiful golden creations that were sent off with the dead. Some objects are very small, finely decorated, and make you look at them for a long time. Others are surprisingly big, life-size masks, shields, breastplates... Some of those big articles are finely decorated, too, with animals, faces, geometrical patterns. You can find almost anything you can imagine in gold.

Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Mask made of gold in the Gold Museum

Each floor has a different theme. After the history of gold that is dealt with on one floor, you can move up to the floor where you can see objects that were used in offerings to the gods. Dazzlingly beautiful items were used to offer to the gods in order to please them. Actually, it was rumours of these ceremonies that made the Spaniards think there should be much more gold than they eve discovered. In one case, a sacred lake in Colombia had for a long time been the target of gold diggers who were convinced that the bottom of the lake should be full of gold offered by indigenous shamans. It was seriously tried to take the water out of the lake, but none of those efforts eventually worked, and it was decided to leave the lake as it was. Even without that gold, the collection of the Museo del Oro is more than impressive enough.

Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Face in a golden bracelet in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Golden figure in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Golden bird on display in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Golden frog
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Artifact made of gold used by shamans for offerings, on display in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Golden earrings in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Golden ornament in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Golden artifact on display in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Crown made of gold in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Female breastplate on display in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Gold Museum: golden hanger
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Fine golden pins in the Gold Museum
Picture of Museo del Oro (Colombia): Part of a golden necklace

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