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Bogota officially named Bogota, D.C. , formerly called Santa Fe de Bogota is the capital city of Colombia, as well as the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 7,304,384 inhabitants as of 2009. Bogota and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chia, Cota, Soacha, Cajica and La Calera, had an estimated population of 8,566,926. In terms of land area, Bogota is also the largest in Colombia, and its altitude makes it the third-highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito. With its many universities and libraries, Bogota has become known as "The Athens of South America". Bogota's constant growth and attempt to establish itself as one of the world's most important cities has not been unnoticed. In 2008, the World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom included the city in a list of World Cities ranked by their economical, political and cultural developments. Bogota is ranked as a World City in the same category as other global metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, Dubai and Berlin, and above others such as Philadelphia, Boston, Miami or Montreal.


Bogota was originally called "Bacata" (which means planted fields) by the Muiscas. It was the center of their civilization before the Spanish explorers colonized the area, and it sustained a large population. The European settlement was founded on August 6, 1538 by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada and was named "Santa Fe de Bacata" after his birthplace Santa Fe and the local name. "Bacata" had become the modern "Bogota" by the time it was made the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada, which was then part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and later of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The city soon became one of the centers of Spanish colonial power and civilization in South America.

In 181011 its citizens revolted against Spanish rule and set up a government of their own, but had to contend with internal divisions and the temporary return to power of Spanish military loyalists who regained control of the city in 1816. In 1819 Simon Bolivar liberated it after his victory at Boyaca. Bogota was then made the capital of Gran Colombia, a federation combining the territories of modern Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. When Gran Colombia was broken up, Bogota remained the capital of New Granada, which later became the Republic of Colombia. See History of Colombia.

In 1956 the municipality was joined to other neighboring municipalities forming a "Special District" .

The Constitution of 1991 confirmed Bogota as the Capital of Colombia, gave it the name "Santafe de Bogota", and changed the category from Special District to "Capital District" ('').

In August 2000 the name was officially changed back to simply "Bogota".



Bogota is located on the west of the Savannah of Bogota (Sabana de Bogota), 2640 meters above sea level. Although it is located in what is popularly called the "sabana", literally meaning "savannah", the geographical site is actually a high plateau'' in the Andes mountains. The extended region is also known as "Altiplano Cundiboyacense" which literally means "high plateau of Cundinamarca and Boyaca".

The Bogota River crosses the 'sabana' forming Tequendama Falls (Salto de Tequendama) to the south. Tributary rivers form valleys with flourishing villages, whose economy is based on agriculture, livestock raising and artisanal production.

The 'sabana' is bordered to the east by the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes mountain range. Surrounding hills, which limit city growth, run from south to north, parallel to the Guadalupe and Monserrate mountains. The western city limit is the Bogota River. The Sumapaz Paramo (moorland) borders the south and to the north Bogota extends over the mentioned plateau up to the towns of Chia and Sopo.


Bogota has a Subtropical Highland climate. The average temperature on the 'sabana' is , varying from . Dry and rainy seasons alternate throughout the year. The driest months are December, January, February and March. The warmest month is January, bringing maximum temperatures up to 25, but curiously having the coldest nights often reaching 3 degrees inside urban sprawl and can fall below freezing in the nearby towns causing frosts and fog in the morning. The rainiest months are April, May, September, October and November, in which typical days are mostly overcast, with low clouds and some winds, bringing maximum temperatures of and lows of . June and July are usually rainy periods and August is sunny with high winds. Hailstorms are very common during the rainy season, and can be very strong, especially in October.

Climatic conditions are irregular and quite variable due to the El Nino and La Nina climatic phenomena, which occur in and around the Pacific basin and are responsible for very pronounced climatic changes. This makes the city's weather very unpredictable, sunny mornings can turn out into a severe-storm afternoon (something commonly referred as "Sol de Lluvia" (lit. "Rainy Sun"). Even with this fact, overall, all year days are mild or cool and nights can get moderately cold due to the city having mild winds in the night year round.

Urban layout and nomenclature

Bogota has 20 localities, or districts, forming an extensive network of neighborhoods. Areas of higher economic status tend to be located to the north and north-east, close to the foothills of the Eastern Cordillera. Poorer neighborhoods are located to the south and south-east, many of them squatter areas. The middle classes usually inhabit the central, western and north-western sections of the city.

The urban layout in the center of the city is based on the focal point of a square or plaza, typical of Spanish-founded settlements, but the layout gradually becomes more modern in outlying neighborhoods. The current types of roads are classified as calles (streets), which run perpendicular to the Cordillera, with street numbers increasing towards the north, and also towards the south (with the suffix "Sur") from Calle 1. Carreras run parallel to the hills, with numbering increasing as one travels east or west of Carrera 1 (with the suffix "Este" for roads east of Carrera 1). Other types of roads more common in newer parts of the city may be termed "Eje" (Axis), "Diagonal" or "Transversal".

The numbering system for street addresses recently changed, and numbers are assigned according to street rank from main avenues to smaller avenues and local streets. Some of Bogota's main roads, which also go by a proper name in addition to a number, are:

Norte-Quito-Sur or N.Q.S.

Autopista Norte-Avenida Caracas

Avenida Circunvalar (from downtown following hillside on eastern hills going to La Calera)

Avenida Suba

Avenida El Dorado

Avenida de las Americas

Avenida Primera de Mayo

Avenida Ciudad de Cali

Avenida Boyaca

Autopista Sur (Southern Highway)

Localities (Districts)

Surrounding cities


The largest and most populous city in Colombia, Bogota has 8,566,926 inhabitants in its metropolitan area (2009 census), with a population density of approx. 3912 inhabitants per square kilometer. Nowadays in 2009, it is estimated that the city house about 7,362,520 and 8,566,926 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Only 15,810 people are located in rural areas of Capital District. 47.5% of the population are male and 52.5% women. The city has the lowest rate of illiteracy in the country which

reaches only 4.6% of the population older than 5 years old.

Public services have a high coverage, since 99.5% of households have electricity service, while 98.7% have water service and 87.9% have telephone service. However, as the mission to design a strategy for poverty reduction

and inequality, 32.6% of citizens were in poverty (living on less than a day) in 2005.

In Bogota, as in the rest of the country, the acceleration of the urbanization process is not only due to industrialization, since there are complex political and social reasons such as poverty and violence which have led to migration from rural to urban areas throughout the twentieth century. This has led to an exponential growth of population in urban areas and belts of misery in their surroundings. A dramatic example of this is the number of displaced people who have arrived in Bogota. According to the Consultancy for Human Rights, Codhes, in the period 1999-2005 more than 260,000 people arrived in Bogota as a result of displacement, about 3.8% of the total population of Bogota.

The majority of the displaced population lives in the Ciudad Bolivar, Kennedy, Usme, and Bosa sections.

The composition of the city's population is of mestizo origin (those of mixed Amerindian and white European descent), in addition to white European descent, mostly of Spaniard, Italian, French, German, and other European ancestry. It has a very large Middle Eastern population, made up mostly of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. The population of Colombians of African descent in Bogota is smaller than cities along the coast such as Cartagena, where Colombians, of African descent, have historically resided.


Bogota has gone to great lengths to change its crime rate and its image with increasing success after being considered in the mid-90s to be one of the most violent cities in the world. In 1993 there were 4,352 intentional homicides at a rate of 81 per 100,000 people. ; in 2007, Bogota suffered 1,401 murders at a rate of 19 per 100,000 inhabitants. This success was the result of a participatory and integrated security policy, "Communidad Segura", that was first adopted in 1995 and continues to be enforced.


Bogota is the capital of the Republic of Colombia, and houses the national legislature, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the center of the executive administration as well as the residence of the President of the Republic (Narino Palace) . These buildings, along with the Principal Mayor's office, the Lievano Palace (Palacio de Lievano), are located within few meters from each other, being the Bolivar Square (Plaza de Bolivar) placed on the center, the square is located at the colonial district of the city (la candelaria), being a fundamental part of the city's historical center.

The Principal Mayor and District Council both elected by popular vote are responsible for city administration. In 2007 Samuel Moreno Rojas was elected Mayor, his term from 2008 to 2011.

The city is divided into 20 localities: Usaquen, Chapinero, Santa Fe, San Cristobal, Usme, Tunjuelito, Bosa, Kennedy, Fontibon, Engativa, Suba, Barrios Unidos, Teusaquillo, Los Martires, Antonio Narino, Puente Aranda, La Candelaria, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Ciudad Bolivar, Sumapaz.

Each of the 20 localities is governed by an administrative board elected by popular vote, made up of no fewer than seven members. The Principal Mayor designates local mayors from candidates nominated by the respective administrative board.

File:Casadenarino1.jpg|Narino Palace, presidential house.

File:PalacioDeJusticia2004-7-9Bogota.jpg|Palace of Justice.

File:Congress colombia.jpg|Colombian National Capitol.

File:Pilevanos palacej.jpg |Lievano Palace, houses the office of the Mayor of Bogota.


Bogota is the main economic and industrial center of Colombia. Also, in 2008 the city ranked as the fourth most influential financial center of Latin America. In the period 2003-2006, its commercial GDP grew

by 10.3% annually, accounting for 25.3% of GDP national trade. However, the unemployment rate reached 11.3% and a 31.6 percent underemployment. In addition, the city is one of the largest industrial centers in Latin America. Nationally, the import of capital goods has been spurred by the government, benefit in particular to Bogota involved with 24.4% of total domestic industry (2003). This is due in part to geographical location, which makes the city a strategic point in terms of logistics, since transportation of goods to other parts of the country is relatively fast. Likewise facilitates the supply of raw materials for industry in the city, by its proximity to agricultural regions like the Eastern Plains. For all of thise reasons, several multinational companies have established their regional operations here during the last decades. However, the distance from the ports reduce the competitive advantages for exporting industrial products. Thus, the services (including telecommunications and trade), are gaining share versus industry.

In 2005, consumer goods led the industrial production, followed by intermediate and capital goods. Of the 248 thousand companies available to Bogota, 78% are linked to service activities, contributing to 76% employment and 79% of GDP. [39] The locations in which the largest number of industrial establishments are Puente Aranda, Fontibon, Kennedy, Martyrs, and Barrios Unidos Engativa (in that order), where highlights the food industries, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, publishing and metalworking. Also in 2005, the town with higher labour productivity was Tunjuelito,followed by Teusaquillo,and Chapinero.

Bogota is a major tourist destination, which is of particular importance taking account of the positive growth of this sector at the national level in recent years. Another industry that has grown is the construction, contributing directly to reactivate economic activity in the capital.

The main international trading partner in Bogota in 2003 was United States, followed by the European Union. The city exports mainly agricultural products (30%), chemicals (10%) and textiles (7%), and imports transportation materials (17%), machinery except electrical (17%) and Electrical Machinery (14%).


File:Santuario de Monserrate, Bogota.jpg|Monserrate Sanctuary, famous landmark of the city.

File:Tga bogota 0427-1hgbbatlantis plaza3.jpg|Atlantis Plaza Mall, famous for having the Hard Rock Cafe.

File:Tga bogota 04tzone27-1hgbb3.jpg|Bar at the "T zone" a zone famous for having the best bars in the city.

Despite the bad reputation Colombia bore in the 80's and early 90's, tourism in Bogota has increased since the 2000s due to aggressive publicity campaigns and improvements in both infrastructure and safety. In 2007 the Instituto Distrital de Turismo (District Institute of Tourism) was created as an entity to make Bogota a sustainable tourist destination.

In Bogota, there is a wide choice of accommodation ranging from backpacker lodges and five star hotels. The supply of hotels in the historical center of La Candelaria and its surrounding areas, is intended for a lover of culture and the arts. The hotels located near Ciudad Salitre are intended for visitors who make short stops in Bogota or need proximity to El Dorado International Airport. In contrast, the hotels located in the north of the city, are focused on business tourism, shopping or pleasure

Important landmarks and touristic places of Bogota are: the botanical garden Jose Celestino Mutis, La Quinta de Bolivar, the national observatory, the planetarium, Maloka, the Colpatria observation point as well as the observation point of La Calera, the monument of the American flags, and La Candelaria (the historical district of the city). The city has numerous green parks and amusement parks like Salitre Magico, Mundo Aventura and Camelot.

Shopping Malls

Bogota's economy has significantly been boosted due to activities from massive numbers of large shopping malls built within the last few years such as:

Atlantis Plaza

Centro Andino

El Retiro

Gran Estacion



Portal de la 80

Salitre Plaza

Santafe (the biggest mall in the country)

Tintal Plaza




The city has four TV channels (Canal Capital (capital channel), Citytv, Canal 13 and Teleamiga) plus five national channels (private: Caracol and RCN, Canal Uno and the public channels: senales institucionales(institutional signals) and senal Colombia). It has multiple satellite television services like DirecTV and Telefonica, cable mostly provided by the Mexican company Telmex and the Venezuelan Super Cable and satellite dishes, with a wide offer hundreds of international channels, plus several exclusive channels for Bogota in different satellite services and cable television.

In the capital are set all the major radio networks in the country and their different stations in AM and FM in 70% of FM stations RDS service is available.

It also has several newspapers among which are: El Tiempo, El Espectador, Portafolio, El Nuevo Siglo, La Republica, El Periodico and Space. Among the highlights Bogota Positiva weekly (free) and Proletarian Voice.


Telecommunication services are provided by three main operators: Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota (ETB), Telefonica and Telmex. Each one of them branches off into several brands according to a particular service:

Telephone: ETB, Telmex, Telecom (Colombia)|Telefonica Telecom (owned by Telefonica)

Internet: ETB, Telmex, Telecom (Colombia)|Telefonica Telecom

Mobile phone: Colombia Movil|Tigo , Comcel Colombia|Comcel (owned by Telmex), Movistar (owned by Telefonica)

Cable television: ETB (partnership with DirecTV), Telmex, Telecom (Colombia)|Telecom](owned by Telefonica)


Energy is provided by Empresa de Energia de Bogota through its branch CODENSA.

Water and sewer

Full water and sewer services are provided by Empresa de Acueducto de Bogota.

Socioeconomical stratums and billing

Energy and sewer bills are stratified based on the location of owner's residence and income, with the intended purpose that wealthier branches of society subsidize the energy bills of the poorer. Bogota is divided into six socio-economic estratos (stratums):

Estrato 1 (lowest)

Estrato 2 (low)

Estrato 3 (mid-low)

Estrato 4 (mid-high)

Estrato 5 (high)

Estrato 6 (highest)


Bogota's growth has placed a strain on its roads and highways, but within the past decade significant efforts to upgrade the infrastructure have been undertaken. Private car ownership, despite being under 27%, forms a major part of the congestion, in addition to taxis, buses and commercial vehicles. Buses remain the main means of mass transit. There are two bus systems: the traditional system and Trasmilenio. The traditional system runs a variety of bus types, operated by several companies on normal streets and avenues: Bus (large buses), Buseta (medium size buses) and Colectivo (vans or minivans). The bigger buses were divided into two categories: "Ejecutivo", which is supposed to be a deluxe service and is not supposed to carry standing passengers, and "corriente" or normal service. Since May 2008, all buses run as "corriente" services. Bogota is a hub for domestic and international bus routes. The Bogota terminal serves routes to most cities and towns in Colombia and is the largest in the country. There is international service to Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The TransMilenio rapid transit system, created during Enrique Penalosa's mayoral term, is a form of bus rapid transit that has been quickly and affordably deployed as an appropriate stopgap measure to compensate for the lack of a subway or rail system. TransMilenio combining articulated buses that operate on dedicated bus roads (busways) and smaller buses (feeders) that operate in residential areas, bringing passengers to the main grid. TransMilenio's main routes are: Caracas Avenue, Northern Highway (Autopista Norte), 80th Street, Americas Avenue, Jimenez Avenue, and 30th Avenue (also referred to as Norte Quito Sur or N.Q.S. for short). Routes for Suba Avenue and Southern Highway (Autopista Sur), the southern leg of the 30th Avenue, were opened in April 2006. The third phase of the system will cover 7th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and 26th Street (or Avenida El Dorado). The system is planned to cover the entire city by 2030. Although the Transmilenio carries commuters to numerous corners of the city, it is more expensive than any public transport except taxis, and fares increase with petroleum fuel prices. As of July 2009 the price of a ticket was C$1500 (about US$0.75); however, a single ticket allows unlimited transfers until the passenger leaves the system, and passengers travel on feeder routes for free. Transmilenio does not yet cover some main routes, and buses are overcrowded.

Despite the city's chronic congestion, many of the ideas enacted during the Penalosa years are regarded worldwide to be cost-effective, efficient and unique solutions. In addition to TransMilenio, the Penalosa administration and voter-approved referenda helped to establish travel restrictions on cars with certain licence-plate numbers during peak hours called Pico y placa, "Car Free Days" on Sundays, a massive system of bicycle paths and segregated lanes called 'ciclorrutas', and the removal of thousands of parking spots in an attempt to make roads more pedestrian-friendly. Ciclorrutas is one of the most extensive dedicated bike path networks of any city in the world, with a total extension of 303 km. It extends from the north of the city, 170th Street, to the south, 27th Street, and from Monserrate on the east to the Bogota River on the west. The ciclorruta was started by the 1995–1998 Antanas Mockus administration, and considerably extended during the administration of Mayor Penalosa. Since the construction of the ciclorrutas bicycle use in the city has increased.


Bogota's principal airport is El Dorado International Airport, west of the city's downtown, at the end of Av. El Dorado. Due to its central location in Colombia and in Latin America, it is a natural hub for domestic and international airlines.

El Dorado is heavily congested, as it handles more passengers than its optimal capacity. Work on a major expansion of El Dorado airport started in September 2007. When completed, this will expand capacity from the current 8 million passengers a year to 25 million.

A secondary airport, Catam, serves as a base for Military and Police Aviation, also Guaymaral Airport, for private aviation activities.

Urban and suburban railways

Colleges and universities

Known as the Athens of South America, Bogota has many schools, The city has an extensive educational system of both primary and secondary schools and colleges. Due to the constant migration of people into the nation's capital, the availability of quotas for access to education offered by the State free of charge, is often insufficient. The city also has a diverse system of colleges and private schools.

There are a number of universities, both public and private (in 2002, a total of 106 higher education institutions, also in Bogota, there are 7 of the best universities in the country, all partially or fully accredited by the NAC (National Accreditation Council ) : National University of Colombia, University of the Andes, Colombia, Pontifical Xavierian University, Our Lady of the Rosary University, Universidad Externado de Colombia, CESA School of Business, the Universidad de La Salle (Bogota), Pilot University of Colombia and the University of La Sabana. It also highlights the Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and the Universidad Santo Tomas.

The city has a University City in the National University of Colombia located in the traditional sector Teusaquillo. It becomes the largest campus in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America. Also, the town of La Candelaria is home to the largest concentration of private universities, one in Latin America.

In Colombia, the primary and secondary schools educational system goes from pre-k to eleventh grade, being that the high school senior year. The education in Colombia is not obligatory as in other countries, but the government has implemented a promotional campaign nationwide to influence families with low economic level into getting their children in Public schools.

There is a great variety of private bilingual schools where children from a high economical status or English-speaker not Colombian children usually attend. One of the most famous bilingual schools is Colegio Nueva Granada among others.


Bogota is considered the Athens of South America host to endless cultural venues and acts across 58 museums, 62 art galleries, 33 library networks, 45 stage theatres, 75 sports and attraction parks, and over 150 national monuments. Many of these are renowned globally such as:

The Luis Angel Arango Library, the most important in the region which receives well over 6 million visitors a year;

The Colombian National Museum, one of the oldest in the Americas dating back to 1823;

The Ibero-American Theater Festival, largest of its kind in the world, receives 2 million attendees enjoying over 450 performances across theaters and off the street;

The Bogota Philharmonic is the most important symphony orchestra in Colombia, counting over 100 musicians and 140 performances a year;

The Cristobal Colon Theater, the Country's oldest Opera House, which opened in 1892 is home to the National Symphony Association's major act, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia ;

Rock al Parque or Rock at the Park, the most important open air rock music festival in Latin America. Recurring annually, its rallying power gathers over 320,000 music fans who can enjoy over 60 band performances for free during three days a year. The series have been so successful during its 15 years of operation that the city has replicated the initiative for other music genres, resulting in other recent festivals like Salsa at the Park, Hip Hop at the Park, Ballet at the Park, Opera at the Park, and Jazz at the Park.

Bogota has worked heavily in recent years to position itself as leader in cultural offerings in South America, and it is increasingly being worldwide recognized as a hub in the region for the development of the arts.

Product of such work and recognition is the recent series of awards that Bogota counts on its favor: in 2007 it was named World Book Capital by UNESCO, topping other nominees for said year such as Dublin, Amsterdam and Vienna. Bogota is effectively the first Latin American city to receive this recognition, and the second one in the whole Americas after Montreal. The same year, Bogota was awarded the title of Cultural Capital of Ibero-America by the UCCI (Union of Capital Cities in Ibero-America), and it became the only city to have received the recognition twice, after being awarded for the first time in 1991.

The city also has the Biblored, an institution which administers 16 small and 4 large libraries public . It also has six branches of the Library Network of the Family Compensation Fund Colsubsidio and libraries and documentation centers attached to institutions like the Museo Nacional de Colombia , Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, the Alliance Francaise, the Centro Colombo Americano, etc...

Another set of libraries are the new collaborative initiatives between the state, city and international agencies. This is the case of Cultural Center Gabriel Garcia Marquez, custom designed by the Fondo de Cultura Economica in Mexico and the Spanish Cultural Center, which will begin construction with public funds and of the Spanish Government in the downtown Bogota.


The urban morphology and typology of colonial buildings in Bogota were maintained even late nineteenth century, long after independence from Colombia (1810). The urban design matched with the checkerboard plane introduced by the Indian laws since the mid-sixteenth century. This persistence of the colonial setting is visible, now part of La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogota. Also until the late nineteenth century, kept up the colonial houses of two storeys, with courtyard, gabled roofs, ceramic tiles and balconies. In some cases, these balconies were filled with glass during the Republican period, distinguishing feature of a particular architecture of the sector ..

The "Republican Architecture" was the style that prevailed between 1830 and 1930. Although there were attempts to consolidate a modern language, only to construction of University City and White City for the National University of Colombia (1936 to 1939), achieved this purpose. The course of this work was developed by German architect James Daly, although architects of rationlist trends participated in the design of campus buildings . Besides this aspect, it is also manifest in the Bogotan architecture trends close to the art deco, expressionism and organic architecture. This last trend was welcomed by Bogotan architects in the second half of the twentieth century as Rogelio Salmona,a best Colombian architect in history. [53]

In 2006 Bogota was The Golden Lion Award at the Tenth International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, in recognition of "their efforts towards social inclusion, education, housing and public space, particularly through innovations in transportation."

ALthought its beautiful preservation of colonial architecture, we have to mention the remarkable contemporanean architecture found specially in the downtown and at the north of the city.

In 2014 BD Bacata will be inaugurated, a new building that will rise above all others taking the place from Colpatria tower to become the tallest building of the city. The building its expected to be the beginning of the renovation of the city's downtown.

Libraries and archives

UNESCO proclaimed Bogota as World Book Capital 2007, in recognition of the literary activity of the city. It stood out as the wind in programs, the library network and the presence of organizations that, in a coordinated manner, are working to promote books and reading in the city. Also, several specific initiatives for the World Book Capital program and the commitment of the groups, both public and private, engaged in the book sector.

The National Library of Colombia (1777) under the Ministry of Culture and the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango (1958) under the Bank of the Republic, are the two largest public libraries in the city. The first is the repository of more than two million copies, with an important collection of ancient books. The latter has almost two million copies. [56] With 45 thousand square meters and 10 thousand visitors a day, is one of the most dynamic cultural centers of the continent. Bank of the Republic depends also on the Library Alfonso Palacio Rudas, north of the city, with about 50 thousand copies. Other large public libraries are the Library of Congress in Colombia (with 100 thousand copies), of the Instituto Caro y Cuervo , the Library of the Academy of History The Library of the Academy of Language, the Library of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History ICANH, and many university libraries

The city also has the Biblored, an institution which administers 16 small and 4 large public libraries . It also has six branches of the Library Network of the Family Compensation Fund Colsubsidio and, with libraries and documentation centers attached to institutions like the Museo Nacional de Colombia , Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, the Alliance Francaise, the Centro Colombo Americano, etc.. Another set of libraries of Bogota what are the new collaborative initiatives between the state, city and international agencies. This is the case Cultural Center Gabriel Garcia Marquez, custom designed by the Fondo de Cultura Economica in Mexico and the Spanish Cultural Center, which will begin construction with public funds and the Spanish Government Bogota Race to Third Avenue 19, in the downtown Bogota.

General Archive Nacion.Ademas libraries, Bogota has a set of historical records that stands between the General National Archive which houses about 60 million documents, one of the repositories of larger primary historical sources in Latin America. Near its headquarters in Bogota that the file was opened in 2003. Additionally, there are query files restricted by its specific importance: the Musical Archive of the Cathedral of Bogota (with thousands of books and choral song-colonial period), the Archdiocesan Archive, the Archive of the Conciliar Seminary of Bogota, the Archive History National University of Colombia and the Archive of the Mint in Bogota, under the Bank of the Republic.

Museums and Galleries

The city offers 58 museums and over 70 art galleries, outstanding among which the National Museum of Colombia, whose acquis is divided into four collections: art, history, archeology and ethnography, and the Gold Museum, with 35 thousand pieces of tumbaga gold, along with 30 thousand objects in ceramic, stone and textiles, represents the largest collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world.

It also highlights the Botero Museum, where you can find, in addition to 123 works of Fernando Botero, 87 works by international artists, the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota that has a collection of graphic arts, industrial design and photography, the Museum of Colonial Art that meets the most important collection of colonial art from Colombia, and Fundacion Gilberto Alzate Avendano, that in addition to activities related to the performing arts, presented temporarily in its halls and art exhibitions.

Among the scientific museums are the Archeological Museum - Casa del Marques de San Jorge, who has about 30 thousand pieces of pre-Columbian art, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales (UN), one of the four largest museums of natural sciences in Latin America and the Geological Museum has a collection of Ingeominas specializing in Geology and Paleontology.

Bogota also has historical museums like the Casa Museo Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the Museum of Independence, the Quinta de Bolivar and the Casa Museo Francisco Jose de Caldas, as well as the headquarters of Maloka and the Children's Museum of Bogota that attract a considerable number of visitors, especially among children. These centers were added several new museums like the Art Deco and the Museum of Bogota

Theater and Scenic arts

Besides the Iberoamerican Theater Festival, the city has forty-five theaters, the principal is the Colon Theater and the halls of the National Theater in its two venues (in the castellana street and in the 71st street) and the traditional TPB hall, the Theater of La Candelaria, the carmarin theater of Carmen , the Colsubsidio (private ), and a symbol of the city, the renovated Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the highest capacity currently in South America, located on Seventh Avenue at the International Center of Bogota, Leon de Greiff Auditorium located at the National University of Colombia , has the largest audience and the best acoustics in Colombia, where is currently presented the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra and many other cultural events. It is also called Open Air Theater, "La Media Torta" where musical events are also held.

With regard to the seventh art, the metropolis has its own film festival, the Bogota Film Festival, and many rooms, which present both as the best commercial film tapes of the moment, as art cinema, which allows us to appreciate the various realizations of European directors, Asians and Latin Americans.

The main cultural center of the city is located in the La Candelaria, historic center of the city, it has a concentration of universities and academic centers in South America only. In the same sector are the most important museums of the city, for these reasons and more, for the year 2007 Bogota was designated as the ibero-American cultural Capital of Iberoamerica


The District Institute for Recreation and Sport promotes recreation, sports and good use of the parks in Bogota, city where, according to 1998 estimates, only 10% of people play sports, and only 0.7% do so regularly. This situation is counterbalanced by initiatives such as the network of bike paths, which, besides being a means of transport, contributes to the practice of cycling, like the bike path that intended 120 km of the highway network for the exclusive use of bicycles on Sundays and public holidays, 7a.ma 2 PM

The soccer as a sport has been declared a symbol of Bogota, and discipline is more practiced in the city. [66] The Colombian Professional soccer is a national sporting event that attracts significantly the interest of the followers of the sport in the city. Thus, two of the three professional clubs in the city, Millonarios and Santa Fe have a significant fan base. The nineteen titles won by these two teams are the second city of Bogota in Colombia with the highest number of championships won, topped only by Cali. The two local teams play at the Estadio Nemesio Camacho El Campin (most known as the Campin stadium) who also was the headquarters of the Colombia national soccer team where he earned the title of Copa America 2001. The other Primera Liga club in Bogota is the equity.

Other major sporting venues are covered Coliseum El Campin, the aquatic complex of Parque Simon Bolivar, the sports palace, the highr performane center, and the El Salitre sports unite which includes the Velodrome Luis Carlos Galan Sarmiento (home of the World Championships 1995 UCI Track Cycling ) and Diamond El Salitre (ballpark) among others.

Bogota hosted the first Bolivarian Games held in 1938. For the National Games, the city hosted in 2004 winning the championship. It was different sub-venue Bolivarian Pan American Games and held in other cities. In addition, the city is present in the route of the Tour of Colombia


As in the rest of Colombia, the value of family unity is quite important in Bogota society, which is especially notable in religious celebrations and special times of the year.

Historically, the city (from his early years) has had a tradition of attachment to Roman Catholicism, although the 1991 Constitution has facilitated the presence of Protestant movements and other religious groups in the population.

Sample of this religious tradition is the number of temples built in the historic city center, and the customs associated with it, such as upgrading the supervisory Monserrate and Guadalupe mountains, whose peaks are in Catholic churches. The city is also seat of the Archdiocese of Bogota, erected on September 11, 1562 and later elevated to archdiocese on March 22, 1564, his parish church is the Cathedral of Colombia.

The city also has a Muslim mosque, located in the area of Chapinero, a Jewish synagogue, located on Avenida Pepe Sierra (Calle 116), an Orthodox church, located in Chapinero, a Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located on the street North Highway 127, CARRERA 46 No 12745, Phone: (57) 1-625-8000 [*]. with four Buddhist centers, located in the north of the city and different Protestant churches in different parts of the city


A broad array of restaurants can be visited in Bogota where typical and international food can be enjoyed. The G Zone, La Candelaria and the International Centre are some of the main sectors where a number of international restaurants are found.

Among the main typical dishes of Bogota, it is possible to found the Ajiaco, a delightful soup prepared with chicken, a variety of potatoes, cob and "guascas" (a spice), usually served with milk, capers and curaba cream.

Also, tamal with chocolate is a very traditional dish here. Colombian tamal is a paste made with rice, meat or chicken, chickpea, carrot, and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and steam cooked.

Figs with arequipe, strawberries with cream, "postre de natas" and "cuajada con melao" are some of the main desserts offered at this city. In addition, canelazo is a hot drink from the Altiplano prepared with agua de panela, cinnamon and aguardiente and can be enjoyed here as well.

Parks and recreation

There are many parks, many with facilities for concerts, plays, movies, storytellers and other activities.

"Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park" is a large park regularly used to stage free concerts . Kites are flown in the park.

The public Parque Nacional (National Park)has many trees and green spaces, ponds, games for children, many foot and bicycle paths, and venues for entertainment such as public screenings of movies and concerts and events organized by the Council of Bogota. It is located between two main streets, the Circunvalar Avenue and the 7th Avenue.

The Bogota Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanico de Bogota).

The Children's Museum of Bogota (Museo de los Ninos), is a science, technology and art interactive museum specialized in attending children and youngsters ages 2 to 19.

"Parque de la 93" is located between 93rd and 93Ath street, and 12th and 13th avenue, and has day-time leisure activities and nightlife. Several of the top restaurants and bars in the city are in this park.

There are restaurants and bars in the vicinity of a T-shaped pedestrian strip dubbed "La T" (The T) at the corner of 82nd street and Cra.12. More recently, restaurant activity has begun in the "Zona G" (Gourmet Zone) in and around 67th and 70th Streets and other locations including Usaquen in the north-east and La Macarena (downtown).

Mundo Aventura is an amusement park, with an entry charge and charges for the different attractions. It has rides for adults and children, a petting zoo, and the "cerdodromo", where pigs race.

"Salitre Magico" is another amusement park with rides and attractions. The park is near the well-known Simon Bolivar park, where concerts are held throughout the year.

Parque del Chico has trees, gardens, artificial creeks and ponds, and a colonial style house converted into a museum.

To the north Parque Jaime Duque has rides, a giant map of Colombia, popular exhibits, a zoo, and a big hand holding the world symbolizing God. There is a reproduction of the Taj Mahal in the park with a collection of reproductions of famous paintings. The park is also used for large concerts, mainly electronic music ones.

Maloka is an interactive museum of sciences.

Tourist train, on weekends a sightseeing train, popular with Bogota residents, runs to outlying towns Zipaquira, Cajica and Nemocon along the lines of the former Bogota Savannah Railway. The route to Zipaquira (famous for its salt cathedral) is 53 km long. Another line goes towards the north for 47 km and ends at Briceno.

Bogota is known for its vibrant night life. It has a wide variety of restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural activities to please anyone's preference. There are numerous zones including the T, Parque de la 93, Candelaria, Usaquen, Avenida Primero de Mayo and Zona G among others. Places range from fine cuisine from all over the world to night clubs that offer different types of music. There is a curfew for most night places at 3:00am although some clubs still operate after hours.


The flag originates from the insurgency movement against the colonial authorities which began on July 20, 1810, during which the rebels wore armbands with yellow and red bands, as these colours were those of the Spanish flag used as the flag for the New Kingdom of Granada.

In October 9, 1952, exactly 142 years after these events, decree 555 of 1952 officially adopted the patriotic armband as the flag of Bogota. The flag of Cundinamarca follows the same pattern, plus a light blue tile which represents the Virgin Mary's cape.

The flag itself is a yellow band above a red one. The yellow denotes the gold from the earth, as well as the virtues of justice, clemency, benevolence, the so-called "mundane qualities" , long life, eternity, power and constancy. The red denotes the virtue of charity, as well as the qualities of bravery, nobility, values, audacity, victory, honour and furor, Colombians call it the blood of their people.

The coat of arms of the city was granted by emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor|Charles V (Charles I of Spain) to the New Kingdom of Granada, by royal decree given in Valladolid, Spain on December 3, 1548. It contains a black eagle in the center, which symbolises steadfastness. The eagle is also a symbol of the Habsburgs, which was the ruling family of the Spanish empire at the time. The eagle is crowned with gold and holds a red pomegranate inside a golden background. The border contains olive branches with nine golden pomegranates in a blue background. The two red pomegranates symbolize audacity, and the nine golden ones represent the nine states which constituted the New Kingdom of Granada at the time. In 1932 the coat of arms was officially recognized and adopted as the symbol of Bogota.

Bogota's anthem lyrics were written by Pedro Medina Avendano, the melody was composed by Roberto Pineda Duque. The song was officially declared the anthem by decree 1000 of July 31, 1974, by then Mayor of Bogota, Anibal Fernandez de Soto.

International relations

Twin towns Sister cities

Bogota is twinned with:

See also

Bogota's Carnival

Bolivar Square

Children's Museum of Bogota



External links

City Official Site

Bogota Tourism - Directory & travel information

22 Places to Go in Bogota - Clever collection of Bogotas urban best.

Harvard Gazette Archives Text on Antanas Mockus's many inspired strategies to change Bogota

Plaza Capital - Digital magazine about Bogota

Noticias de Bogota - News in Spanish on Bogota & its Districts

Bogota Meets the World by The New York Times

Population Clock

District Planning Secretariat

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