Colombia is a country full of history and culture, and I’ve been very privileged to have been able to explore and continue exploring the majestic plethora of historical sites Colombia has to offer. Today, I want to take the opportunity to tell you about my top five favorite historical sites I’ve visited (in no particular order).
One site that I am particularly fond of is la Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in the Caribbean city of Santa Marta. La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is a very old, colonial age, hacienda built to produce rum and panela (unrefined cane sugar) that also happens to be where the famous South American liberator Simón Bolívar spent his last days. The grounds of la Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino are beautiful—as soon as you walk through the gates, you immediately feel like you have entered a very special place. Having the chance to explore the hacienda, observe nature, and learn about and see close up colonial age machines while also hearing about Simón Bolívar’s last days makes you feel like you are part of a real-life history book.
Another one of my favorite historical spots is the Walled City of Cartagena (la Ciudad Amurallada), which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Walled City of Cartagena reeks of history. It’s cobblestoned streets, horse-drawn carriages, colonial verandas, and well-preserved historic buildings, including an impressive cathedral and Spanish inquisition museum, really do make you feel as if you have been transported back in time.
Far away from the Caribbean Coast lies the Puente de Boyacá (Bridge of Boyacá), another one of my favorite historical sites in Colombia. If you know anything about Colombian history, you have probably heard of the Battle of Boyacá—the decisive battle in which Colombia officially gained her independence from Spain. And, while the bridge that currently stands in the battlefield of Boyacá, now officially a park, is a restored replica, the entire area makes you stand in awe when you picture the incredible and monumental battle that took place there around 200 years ago.
Not too far from the Puente de Boyacá is another one of my favorite historical places in Colombia: the town of Villa de Leyva. Villa de Leyva is a quaint, charming and very colonial town famous for its cobblestoned streets, giant plaza, great food, and historical significance. Villa de Leyva was a hot spot during Colombia’s battle for independence and, as such, was the site of many important pre-independence and post-independence meetings. It has been declared a Colombian national monument and there is some evidence that the famous Colombian independence leader Antonio Nariño may have died there.
One more place I love to visit that is teeming with history is the historical downtown area of Bogotá, specifically the Candelaria neighborhood. The Candelaria is a historic neighborhood full of interesting architecture and colonial style houses. While it has recently become a hip and bohemian area to live in, it is still a great area to walk around in the city—it easily conjures up visuals of what Bogotá was like 100 years ago!
Happy historical traveling,
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog http://www.trotamunda.wordpress.com
- History of Cartagena (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Things to do in Cartagena (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Villa de Leyva: An Enclave of Colonial Charm (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Tayrona Park and Santa Marta: A great blend of nature and history. (www.uncovercolombia.com)