Enjoy a half day visit to the historic centre of Bogota known as La Candelaria. This ancient district has great significance in the country´s history due to its cultural heritage and is also a great example of Spanish colonial architecture. Visit the main square the Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great liberator of northern South America Simon Bolivar is located. The plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes such as a marketplace, a bullring and it was also the place where many executions were held. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, was constructed on the same spot where the first church was built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artifacts such as textiles and artworks, a collection that has been built over four centuries. The Capilla Del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a beautiful example of religious architecture, it houses valuable pieces of colonial religious art by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos.
The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns and, it was the first example of republican civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Elliptic Hall, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. In the internal courtyards there are busts of former presidents such as General Tomás Cipriano Mosquera, a four term president, and Rafael Núñez, the composer of the Colombian National Anthem.
Around the Plaza de Bolivar you can see buildings such as the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros, named after the leaders that participated in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic. The visit continues with the Botero Museum, a colonial house exhibiting some of Fernando Botero´s works of art along with pieces from his own personal collection that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti.
Next is the Gold Museum which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Gold Museum is considered one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been operating since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete renovation making it possible for visitors to enjoy an interactive experience. The Museum belongs to the International Network of Museums (ICOM).
After a half day visit in Bogotá, end the day with the Santuario de Monserrate, a symbol of Bogotá. Ride the cable car or funicular up to it, at 500 metres above Bogotá (total of 3140m altitude). The site offers an incredible panorama over the city on one side and the Andes on the other.
Note - the Gold Museum is closed on Mondays & the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays