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article imageHistory and tragedy at Bolívar Square in Bogotá, Colombia Special

By Igor I. Solar     May 6, 2013 in Travel
Bogot - The city of Bogotá, capital of Colombia, is located on a plateau of the Andes, in central Colombia, 2.650 meters (8,690 feet) above sea level. The capital, with nearly 7.3 million inhabitants is the fifth most populous conurbation in South America.
Bogotá was founded in 1538 by Spanish explorer and conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. The basic structure of the new town was designed by Sebastián de Belalcázar. Following the classical urban model of the Spanish colonial towns, the new settlement was built around a large central space which was established by the Spanish rulers for construction of the main Catholic Church, the City Hall, the weapons and ammunition warehouses, and other facilities. At the time of the founding of the “New City of Granada", a name which was soon changed to "Santafé de Bogotá", there were only about a dozen huts around the square where the first inhabitants resided.
The National Capitol: The Renaissance and Neoclassical style structure was built under President Tom...
The National Capitol: The Renaissance and Neoclassical style structure was built under President Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera in 1847. The elegant and elaborate edifice was completed in 1926. The building has three large halls: one for the Senate, one for the House of Representatives and a third where the Congress meets in full.
With the passage of time and the increase of the population, the central square, with the name of “Plaza Mayor” (Main Square), and the surrounding neighborhood called "La Candelaria", became a settlement of several thousand people. In the large square took place the city market, civic events, religious processions and patriotic celebrations. Since then, the Main Square acquired the character of social, political and administrative center of the city and the country.
Liévano Palace  home of the Mayor of the City: The entire western part of the Bolivar Square is occ...
Liévano Palace, home of the Mayor of the City: The entire western part of the Bolivar Square is occupied by the Bogotá City Hall. The rectangular, three-story building with ornate carved stone facade has the same neoclassical style as other buildings of the Plaza. Construction started in 1902 and it was opened in 1905.
Today, the Plaza Mayor of Bogotá is called Bolívar Square. It is part of what is known as the historic center of the city, which still bears the name "La Candelaria". Beyond the wide square, there are several city blocks with well-preserved colonial houses with protruding balconies, latticed windows, carved doors, and red-tiled roofs and eaves.
In the southeast corner of Bolivar Square in Bogotá is the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé  an educ...
In the southeast corner of Bolivar Square in Bogotá is the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé, an educational institution founded by Jesuit priests in 1604 where most of the Colombian political leaders have been educated. In this small square there is a bust in honor of Camilo Torres Tenorio, hero of Colombian independence.
Musicians and dancers perform traditional Colombian folk dances in front of the modern building of t...
Musicians and dancers perform traditional Colombian folk dances in front of the modern building of the Palace of Justice, home of the Colombian Supreme Court. This building was erected after the former Palace of Justice was destroyed in a tragic incident in 1985.
Thousands of pigeons live at Bolivar Square in the historic district of Bogotá. In this picture can...
Thousands of pigeons live at Bolivar Square in the historic district of Bogotá. In this picture can be seen some of them flying in front of the Capitol Building.
The main square is surrounded by many imposing buildings: the towering national neoclassical cathedral known as The Archbishopric Cathedral of Bogotá; the Capitol Building of the federal government, the French neoclassical Liévano Palace, seat of city government, the ultra-modern stylized arches of the Palace of Justice, and a charming little square leading to the old “Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé”. At the center of the Main Square is the statue of the Liberator Simon Bolívar erected in 1846. Bolívar, the Venezuelan political and military leader, contributed decisively to the independence of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. He is the most prominent figure of colonial Latin American emancipation from the Spanish Empire.
The National Cathedral: Located on the eastern side of Bolivar Square  the Cathedral has been rebuil...
The National Cathedral: Located on the eastern side of Bolivar Square, the Cathedral has been rebuilt several times between 1538 and 1823. Its walls contain the remains of national heroes and important persons in Colombian history, including the Conquistador and founder of the city Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada. Additionally, the church library maintains an extensive collection of books dating from 1612.
Central nave of the imposing Primary Cathedral of Bogotá at Bolivar Square.
Central nave of the imposing Primary Cathedral of Bogotá at Bolivar Square.
Entrance gate to the baptistry at the Cathedral of Bogotá.
Entrance gate to the baptistry at the Cathedral of Bogotá.
Interior Hall in the Sacristy of the Primary Cathedral of Bogotá.
Interior Hall in the Sacristy of the Primary Cathedral of Bogotá.
Bolivar Square has witnessed much of the colonial and republican history of Bogotá. In this place have been celebrated most of the important joyful national events, as well as the popular protests and expressions of political turmoil. There is also a dreadful memory linked to the massacre that occurred in November 1985 when a guerrilla group took over the Colombian Supreme Court in the old building of the Courts of Justice. The reaction of the government of the time ended in a disaster that resulted in over 100 people dead, including 12 Supreme Court magistrates, crimes against humanity, and the destruction of the Palace of Justice, which was replaced by the current building. In 1994, the Plaza Mayor of Bogotá was declared a National Monument.
Light filters through the old boards of the southern entrance to the National Catholic Cathedral in ...
Light filters through the old boards of the southern entrance to the National Catholic Cathedral in Bolivar Square, Bogotá.
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