La Candelaria is a historic neighborhood in downtown Bogotá, Colombia. This colonial district is officially the first neighborhood of Bogotá, as Colombia’s capital city was founded here in 1538 by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera, a Spanish conquistador, in what is known today as El Chorro de Quevedo. The city was later re-founded a few blocks away at what is now known as the Plaza de Bolívar. Bogotá expanded around the neighborhood, mostly north, parallel to the Andes.
La Candelaria is full of cobblestone streets, centuries-old houses, museums, churches, and hostels, the equivalent to an “Old City” or the “Old Town” in other cities. Now a popular tourist destination and university district, as well as the site of most of the country’s government buildings, it is frequented often by many; budget backpackers can find cheap accommodations in the hostels located here, and the average photographer will be pleased at all the photo opportunities that the picturesque streets and buildings provide.
- Museo Botero – One of the Museos del Banco de la República, the Botero Museum permanently exhibit Banco de la República’s art collection consisting of nearly 3,000 paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts of Colombian and Latin American masters from the 15th century until the present. In 2000, the artist Fernando Botero (Colombia’s most famous artist) donated to the Central Bank an art collection of 208 works, 123 of his own authorship and 85 from other various international artists, subsequently founding the Botero Museum. The collection of art here displays works from prominent artists such as Picasso, Leger, Renoir, Monet, Dali, Giacometti, Beckmann, Freud, Calder, and Bacon. The Botero Museum ranks among the top five most-important international public art collections in Latin America. Calle 11 # 4-41. Open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Sundays and holidays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Free Admission.
- Museo del Oro -Another of the Museos del Banco de la República, the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) houses an impressive collection (the largest in the world) of gold and pre-Hispanic artifacts from Colombia and surrounding nations. The Gold Museum also exhibits pottery, stone, shell, wood and textile archaeological objects, over 55,000 pieces in all. Calle 16 # 5-41 (On one side of the Parque Santander, corner of Carrera 5 and 16th Street). ☎ (571) 343 22 22 Tue – Sat 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sundays and Public Holidays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays. 3,000 COP, Adults; Free Sundays.
- La Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango – The Luis Ángel Arango Library is the most important library of Colombia, and another one of the Museos del Banco de la República; it has over 1.1 million books and is the most visited public library in Latin America. Luis Angel Arango, general manager of the Banco de la República in 1955, began efforts to build a library to provide to the city, and on February 20, 1958, under the direction of Dr. Jaime Duarte French, it was opened under the name of Luis Angel Arango Library. Calle 11 # 4-14. ☎ (571) 343 12 24 Reading Room Hours: Mon – Sat 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Sun 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Closed on holidays. Free Admission.
- Teatro de Cristóbal Colón (Teatro Colón for short) – The Christopher Columbus Theatre is the National Theater of Colombia. Built by Italian architect Pietro Cantini in 1885, it is now a national monument and a perfect example of Neoclassical-style architecture. Calle 10 # 5-32. ☎ (571) 284 74 20 Closed for renovations.
- Museo de Desarrollo Urbano – The Bogotá Museum of Urban Development
- El Museo Militar – The Military Museum of Bogotá was once home to Antonio Ricuarte (1786-1814), who blew himself up along with 800 Spanish troops to prevent the Spanish from compromising their independence. Calle 10 # 4-92. ☎ (571) 281 25 48
- Museo Francisco José de Caldas – Centered around the life of the revolution martyr. Showcases his mapping expedition of Colombia and how he contributed to the revolution by building a fort and a rifle factory in Antioquia. Carrera 8 #6-87 ☎ (571) 289 62 75 Mon – Fri 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sat 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Free Admission.
- Museo de Arte Colonial – The Colonial Art Museum contains many artifacts showcasing the evolution of many art pieces, and has a large collection of Colombia’s famous Baroque artist, Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos. Carrera 6 # 9-77 ☎ (571) 341 60 17 Tue – Fri 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sat & Sun 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays. 2,000 COP, Adults, 1,500 COP Students.
- Casa de la Moneda – Has a collection of Colombian coins and the history of moneymaking. Calle 11 # 4-21 (Next to Museo Botero) ☎ (571) 343 12 23 Mon – Fri 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Sat 10:00 am – 7:00 pm / Su : 10AM to 4PM. Sundays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Closed Tuesday. Free entrance.
- Museo Histórico de la Policía Nacional – The National Police Historical Museum is mostly dedicated to the hunt of Pablo Escobar. Calle 9 # 9-27 ☎ (571) 233 59 11 Mon – Fri 8:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Sat 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Free Admission.
- Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo – This square is an icon in Bogotá history and culture, because it is assumed that the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada built 12 huts and a small chapel, thus founding Bogotá. The square receives a large influx of students, musicians, artisans, tourists, and vendors daily. Calle 13 & Carrera 2