Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Walk in La Candelaria

If you are a foreigner, this is where you will likely spend a lot of your time. La Candelaria is Bogotá’s oldest neighborhood with a bohemian and cosmopolitan feel. It is filled with museums, universities, theaters, and libraries, making it a vibrant historical and cultural center. On weekends its bars and restaurants are packed with young people from around the world.


La Candelaria is located in the heart of the city with the nearby commercial district (with its skyscrapers) to the north, and the steep mountain peeks (such as Monserrate) to the east. It retains a lot of its beauty from its past. When the first Spanish conquistadores arrived in 1538, the area was inhabited by the Chibcha Indians (Muiscas). The conquistadores imposed their will on the native population and began constructing the buildings that are mostly still intact today.


This Spanish architecture is what many tourists come to see. Oddly enough, I haven’t spent much time in La Candelaria because I don’t have any friends that live there, and I tend to stay away from the touristy areas. However, since it was a pleasant, sunny day, I decided to take a walk for a couple hours this afternoon in La Candelaria. It feels a lot like Europe. There are many one-way streets. Some have cobblestones, and others are blocked off for pedestrians. The buildings are usually no more than two storeys with brightly-colored stucco walls, red-tiled roofs, projecting eaves, wrought ironwork, and carved balconies. Bogotá’s main plaza, called Plaza de Bolívar, has elaborately decorated government buildings and is a popular hangout for the large pigeon population. A few blocks away is Palacio de Nariño, Colombia’s version of the White House, where President Álvaro Uribe lives. On Sunday afternoons, there is the changing of the guard. Naturally, this entire area is very secure as can be seen by the policemen and military soldiers on every block. More than a decade ago this area was less safe, and has seen its share of violence. Maybe that is why several people warned me to be careful walking alone with an expensive camera. I’m glad I ignored them as I was able to get the shots you see below.













45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the pics!! The colombian flag looks just amazing. You truly know how to capture the moments! Keep up the good work!

Take care

Mark said...

Garg is doing his thing. Keep it up dawg!

-Tadow

Brett Garamella said...

Thanks Tadow, and everyone else here!

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