Bogota felt like an immense treasure trove of history and culture just waiting to be explored. After all this is the land of El Dorado.The Gold Museum is perhaps one of the city’s most famous attractions. With over 34,000 pieces of history relating to gold in Colombia this is one of the world’s greatest museums on the subject and turned out to be a highlight. I really liked the fact it was free on Sundays, giving locals a chance to visit this wonderful place.
Gold played an important part in the ancient cultures in Colombia. There were no precision instruments at that time so the intricacy of some of the items was incredible, given they were constructed with basic stones. Gold was associated with symbolism and the afterlife, particularly within the Muisca culture. I was intrigued to learn that birds were considered heavenly and of the upper life. Men and leopards were the intermediate life in the Muisca culture. Snakes, caimans and rats belonged to the underworld. Looking at some of the gold structures displayed there were bird features in many of the pieces.
I had assumed El Dorado was something from an adventure book but it really happened. Shamen used to make offerings of gold which were thrown into a lake. When the Spaniards invaded Colombia they drained that lake taking the gold with them. A darkened theatre within the Gold Museum depicted how things worked at El Dorado when the gods were worshipped in this way.
The streets around La Candelaria are some of the most beautiful in the city with characterful buildings and graffiti murals all over the walls. Wandering these beautiful streets was a real highlight of the city and a joy. They felt alive with music, colour and culture. Some of the artwork was truly magnificent with entire streets turned over to vibrant murals. At one time people were terrified to walk around here but today it was just wonderful to see this beautiful part of the city. Look out for my other posts on the Colombian Journey.
January Journeys: Visiting Colombia; Visit an interesting museum