Bogotá, Distrito Capital, from 1991 to 2000 called Santafé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent capital district and no longer belongs administratively to that department(SONY PCG-5G2L battery). Bogotá is the most populous city in the country, with 7,363,782 inhabitants as of 2005. Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had a population of 7,881,156 in 2005.
In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest in Latin America. It figures amongst the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the third-highest capital city in South America at 2,625 metres (8,612 ft) above sea level, after Quito and La Paz. (SONY PCG-5G3L battery) With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as "The Athens of South America". Bogotá owns the largest moorland of the world, which is located in the Sumapaz Locality. The city ranked 54th in the 2010 Global Cities Index, and is listed as global city of the Beta+ kind by the GaWC(SONY PCG-F305 battery).
The area of modern Bogotá was first populated by groups of indigenous people who migrated from Mesoamerica. Among these groups were the Muiscas, who settled in what is now mainly Cundinamarca and Boyacá. With the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, the area became a major settlement, founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and later capital of the Spanish provinces and the seat of the Viceroyalty of New Granada(SONY PCG-5J1L battery). With independence, Bogotá became capital of the Gran Colombia and later the capital of the Republic of Colombia.
The first populations inhabiting Bogotá were the Muiscas, members of the Chibcha language family. At the arrival of the conquerors, the population was estimated to be half a million indigenous people(SONY PCG-5J2L battery). They occupied the highland and mild climate flanks between the Sumapaz Mountains to the southwest and Cocuy's snowy peak to the northeast, covering an approximate area of 25,000 km², comprising Bogotá's high plain, the current Boyacá department portion and a small Santander region. Most fertile lands were ancient Pleistocene lake beds and regions irrigated by high Bogotá, Suárez, Chicamocha and some Meta affluent river beds(SONY PCG-5K2L battery).
In this area, the population was organised in two large federations, each commanded by a chief. The southwest area was dominated by the Zipa with the center located in Bacatá, currently Bogotá. He was the strongest leader, occupying two-fifths of the territory. The northeast zone was the Zaque domain and the center was Hunza region, currently Tunja(SONY PCG-5L1L battery). Muisca population however, contrasting with Tayrona population, did not develop large cities. Muisca, eminently farmers, formed a disperse population occupying numerous small villages and hut settlements. In addition, some free isolated tribes also existed: Iraca or Sugamuxi, Tundama, and Guanentá(SONY PCG-6S2L battery).
From 1533, a belief persisted in the sense that Río Grande de la Magdalena was the trail to the South Sea, to Peru, legendary Dorado. Such was the target Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, the Spaniard conqueror who left Santa Marta on 6 April 1536 with 500 soldiers, heading towards the interior of current Colombia. The expedition divided into two groups(SONY PCG-6S3L battery), one under Quesada command to move on land, and the other commanded by Diego de Urbino would go up river in four brigantine ships to later on meet Quesada troops at the site named Tora de las Barrancas Bermejas. When they arrived, they heard news about Indians inhabiting the south and making large salt cakes used to trade for wild cotton and fish. Jiménez decided to abandon the route to Peru and cross the mountain in search for salt villages(SONY PCG-6V1L battery). They saw crops, trails, white salt cakes and then huts where they found corn, yucca and beans. From Tora, the expedition went up the Opón River and found Indians covered with very finely painted cotton mats. When they arrived to Grita Valley, of the expedition leaving Santa Marta, only 70 men were left(SONY PCG-6W1L battery).
Along their trip, they took a large amount of gold and emeralds. In Hunza, they captured the Zaque Quemuenchatocha and headed towards Sogamoso, where they plundered and set the Sun temple on fire and obtaining immense prize.
On 22 March 1537, they arrived from the north crossing Nemocón and Zipaquirá salt villages to a place they named Valle de los Alcázarea (Valley of the Fortress) (SONY PCG-7111L battery). Already in Chibcha territory they found goods roads and moved southwest. In the next few days, they came across several villages, among them Lenguazaque and Suesca. They continued through Cajicá, Chía and Suba, the start of Bogotá Kingdom, where they fought Bogotá Chief Indians, who tried to prevent them from entering their town, and saw Muequetá or Bacatá fenced ranch village(SONY PCG-71511M battery), built on a swampy ravine, and Tisquesusa Zipa capital on the right margin of the Tisquesusa River.
The fountain of Quevedo, one of the possible foundation sites of Bogotá
Following the conquerors motto to found and to populate, Quesada decided to build an urban settlement to live in good order and under stable government. To the east on the foothills, they found an Indian village named Teusaquillo near the Zipa's recreation residence(SONY PCG-6W3L battery), supplied with water, wood and planting land and protected from winds by Monserrate and Guadalupe hills.
In 1553, the Main Plaza —now Plaza de Bolívar— was moved to its current site and the first cathedral construction on the eastern side began. On the other sides, the Chapter and the Royal Audience were located. The street joining the Major Plaza and Herbs Plaza —currently Santander Park(SONY PCG-7113L battery)— was named Calle Real(Royal Street), now Seventh Carrera.
Formed by Whites, Mestizos, Indians, and slaves, from the second half of the 16th century, the population began rapidly growing. The 1789 census recorded 18,161 inhabitants, and by 1819, the city population amounted to 30,000 inhabitants distributed in 195 blocks. Importance grew when the diocese was created. Up to 1585, the only parish was the Cathedral(SONY PCG-7133L battery), later on Las Nieves to the north and Santa Bárbara south of the Main Plaza were created.
The city mayor and the chapter formed by two councilmen, assisted by the constable and the police chief, governed the city. For better administering these domains, in April 1550, the Audience of Santafé de Bogotá was organized. At that time, the city became the capital and the home of New Kingdom of Granada government(SONY PCG-7Z1L battery). Fourteen years later in 1564, the Spanish Crown designated the first Royal Audience Chairman, Andrés Díaz Venero de Leyva. The New Granada became a viceroyship in 1739 and kept that condition until Liberator Simón Bolívar achieved independence in 1819.
Political uneasiness felt all over Spanish colonies in America was expressed in New Granada in many different ways, accelerating the movement to independence. One of the most transcendent was the Revolution of Comuneros(SONY PCG-7Z2L battery) , a riot of the inhabitants started in Villa del Socorro —current Department of Santander—in March 1781. Spanish authorities suppressed the riot, and José Antonio Galán, the leader was executed. He left an imprint, though. He was followed in 1794 by Antonio Nariño, precursor of independence by translating and publishing in Santa Fe, the Rights of Men and the Citizen, and by the 20 July movement leaders in 1810(SONY PCG-8Y1L battery). Independence outcry originated in an apparently slight dispute between Creole and Spaniards over the loan of a flowerpot, but became a popular uprising.
The period between 1810 and 1815 is known as "La Patria Boba" (The Foolish Fatherland), because during those years Creoles fought among themselves seeking ideal government forms, initial ideological struggles began and the first two republican political parties —federalists and centralists—were formed(SONY PCG-8Y2L battery).
The Royal Street, today known as the Seventh Avenue (Carrera Séptima).
Between 1819 and 1849, there were no fundamental structural changes from the colonial period. By the mid-19th century, a series of fundamental reforms were enacted, some of the most important being slavery abolition and religious, teaching, print and speech industry and trade freedom, among others. During the decade of the 70s(SONY PCG-8Z2L battery), radicalism accelerated reforms and state and social institutions were substantially modified. However, during the second half of the century, the country faced permanent pronouncements, declarations of rebellions between states, and factions which resulted in civil wars: the last and bloodiest was the One Thousand Days War from 1899 to 1902. After independence, Bogotá continued to enjoy the privilege of being the main educational and cultural center of the new nation(SONY PCG-8Z1L battery).
In 1823, a few years after the formation of Gran Colombia, the Public Library, now the National Library, was enlarged and modernized with new volumes and better facilities. The National Museum was founded. Those institutions were of great importance to new republic's cultural development. The Central University was the first State school, precursor of the current National University, founded in 1867 and domiciled in Bogotá(SONY PCG-7112L battery).
Bogotá's Railroad Central Station
On 25 December 1884, the first tramway pulled by mules was inaugurated, and covered the route from Plaza de Bolívar to Chapinero, and in 1892, the line linking Plaza de Bolívar and La Sabana Station started operating. The tramway ran over wood rails, but since it easily derailed, steel rails imported from England were installed. In 1894, a tramway car ran the Bogotá-Chapinero line every 20 minutes(SONY PCG-6W2L battery). The tramway provided services until 1948, and was then replaced by buses.
President Rafael Núñez declared the end of Federalism, and in 1886 the country became a centralist republic ruled by the constitution in force – save some amendments – up to 1991. In the middle of political and administration avatars, Bogotá continued as the capital and principal political center of the country(SONY PCG-5K1L battery).
From a base of only 20,000 people in 1793, the city grew to 117,000 in 1912. Population growth was rapid after 1870, largely because of immigration from the eastern highlands.
Early in the 20th century, Colombia had to face devastating consequences from the One Thousand Days War, which lasted from 1899 to 1902, and the loss of Panama. Between 1904 and 1909, the lawfulness of the liberal party was re-established and(SONY VGP-BPS8 battery) President Rafael Reyes endeavored to implement a national government. Peace and state reorganization generated the increase of economic activities. Bogotá started deep architectural and urban transformation with significant industrial and artisan production increases. In 1910, the Industrial Exposition of the Century took place at Park of Independence(SONY VGP-BPS8A battery). Stands built evidenced industrial, artisan work, beaux arts, electricity and machinery progress achieved. The period from 1910 to 1930 is designated conservative hegemony. Between 1924 and 1928, hard union struggles began, with oil fields and banana zone workers' strikes, leaving numerous people killed.
Bogotá had practically no industry. Production was basically artisan work grouped in specific places, similar to commercial sectors(SONY VGP-BPL8 battery). Plaza de Bolívar and surroundings lodged hat stores, at Calle del Comercio –current Carrera Seventh– and Calle Florián –now Carrera Eight– luxurious stores selling imported products opened their doors; at Pasaje Hernández, tailor's shops provided their services, and between 1870 and 1883, four main banks opened their doors: Bogotá, Colombia, Popular and Mortgage Credit banks(SONY VGP-BPS9 battery).
See also: Bogotazo and La Violencia
Following the banana zone killings and conservative party division, Enrique Olaya Herrera took office in 1930. The liberal party reformed during 16 years of the so-called Liberal Republic, agricultural, social, political, labor, educational, economic and administrative sectors. Unionism strengthened and education coverage expanded(SONY VGP-BPS9/S battery). In 1938, the fourth centenary of Bogotá foundation, the population had reached 333,312 inhabitants, a celebrated event.
The celebration produced a large number of infrastructure works, new construction and work sources. Following the 1946 liberal party division, a conservative candidate took presidential office again in 1948, after the killing of liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Bogotá's downtown was virtually destroyed as violence reigned. From then, Bogotá's urban(SONY VGP-BPS9A battery), architectural and population sectors were substantially reorganized.
In January 2012, Gustavo Petro became Mayor with a pledge to ban carrying weapons on the city's streets.
Astronaut view of Bogota
Bogotá is located on the west of the Savannah of Bogotá (Sabana de Bogotá), 2640 metres (8661 ft) above sea level. (SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery) Although it is located in what is popularly called "savannah" (sabana), 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 Boyacá".
The Bogotá 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. (SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery)
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 Bogotá River. The Sumapaz Paramo (moorland) borders the south and to the north Bogotá extends over the plateau up to the towns of Chía and Sopó(SONY VGP-BPS9A/S battery).
Bogotá has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cfb). The average temperature on is 14.0 °C (57 °F), varying from 3 to 20 °C (37 to 68 °F) during the course of the day. Dry and rainy seasons alternate throughout the year. The driest months are December, January, July and August. The warmest month is March, bringing a maximum of 19.7 °C (67.5 °F). The coolest nights occur in January, with an average of 5.4 °C (41.7 °F) in the city(SONY VGP-BPL9 battery); temperatures can fall below freezing in the nearby towns, causing frosts and fog in early morning, with the lowest recorded temperature within the city being −7.2 °C (19.0 °F). in February 2007.
The official highest recorded temperature is 24.9 °C (77 °F) reached in January 1992 and March 1995(SONY VGP-BPS10 battery).
Hailstorm in Bogotá
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 18 °C (64 °F) and lows of 7 °C (45 °F). Hailstorms are very common during the rainy season, and can be very strong, especially in October(SONY VGP-BPL10 battery). Days are mild or cool and nights can get moderately cold due to the city having mild winds at night all year round, though frequent fog from sinking of cold mountain air in the enclosed valley of the city means sunshine totals are much lower than would be expected for a relatively dry location in such a low latitude.
While temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year(SONY VGP-BPS11 battery), weather conditions can change dramatically during the course of a single day. Climatic conditions are irregular and variable due to the El Niño and La Niña climatic phenomena which occur in and around the Pacific basin and are responsible for pronounced climatic changes. This makes the city's weather unpredictable; sunny mornings can turn into a severe-storm afternoon (SONY VGP-BPL11 battery) (something commonly referred as sol de lluvia (literally, "rainy sun"). Similar to Quito, precipitation amounts possess irregular patterns throughout the year.
Urban layout and nomenclature
Carrera Séptima (Seventh Avenue)
Bogotá has 20 localities, or districts, forming an extensive network of neighborhoods. Areas of higher economic status tend to be located to the north and northeast, close to the foothills of the Eastern Cordillera. Poorer neighborhoods are located to the south and southeast, many of them squatter areas. The middle classes usually inhabit the central(SONY VGP-BPL12 battery), western and northwestern sections of the city.
Street arrangement of Bogotá based on the Cartesian coordinate system: North is to the right.
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) (SONY VGP-BPS12 battery), which run perpendicular to the Cordillera, with street numbers increasing towards the north, and also towards the south (with the suffix "Sur") from Calle 0. 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 0). At the southeast of the city, the addresses are logically sur-este(SONY VGP-BPS13 battery). 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 Bogotá's main roads, which also go by a proper name in addition to a number, are(SONY VGP-BPS13Q battery):
Norte-Quito-Sur or NQS (North Quito South Avenue, from 9th road at north following railway to 30th road Avenue, or Quito City Avenue, and Southern Highway)
Autopista Norte-Avenida Caracas (Northern Highway, or 45th road, joined to Caracas Avenue, or 14th road)
Avenida Circunvalar (from downtown following hillside on eastern hills going to La Calera, mostly the 1-este (1st-east))
Avenida Suba (60th transversal from 100th street to the Suba Hills; 145th street from Suba Hills westward) (SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q battery)
Avenida El Dorado (El Dorado Avenue, or 26th street)
The largest and most populous city in Colombia, Bogotá had 7,363,782 inhabitants in its metropolitan area (2005 census), with a population density of approximately 4,310 inhabitants per square kilometer. Only 15,810 people are located in rural areas of Capital District. 47.5% of the population are male and 52.5% women(SONY VGP-BPS13B/Q battery).
View of Bogotá at dusk from Monserrate.
British architectural style in Bogotá
99.5% of households have electricity service, while 98.7% have water service and 87.9% have telephone service. However, 32.6% of citizens were living in poverty (living on less than US$2 a day) in 2005.
In Bogotá, as in the rest of the country, the acceleration of the urbanization process is not only due to industrialization(SONY VGP-BPS13/B battery), since there are complex political and social reasons such as poverty and violence which led to migration from rural to urban areas throughout the twentieth century and beyond. This has led to an exponential growth of population in urban areas creating misery belts in their surroundings. A dramatic example of this is the number of displaced people who have arrived in Bogotá(SONY VGP-BPS13B/B battery). According to the Consultancy for Human Rights, Codhes, in the period from 1999 to 2005 more than 260,000 people arrived in Bogotá as a result of displacement, about 3.8% of the total population of Bogotá.
The majority of the displaced population lives in the Ciudad Bolívar, Kennedy, Usme, and Bosa sections(SONY VGP-BPS13A/S battery).
The racial composition of the city's population includes people of Mestizo origin (those of mixed Amerindian and European descent), in addition to Europeans, mostly Spaniards, and other European ethnic groups. It has a large Middle Eastern population, made up mostly of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. (SONY VGP-BPS21A/B battery)The Afro-Colombian population in Bogotá is smaller than cities along the coast such as Cartagena, where Colombians of African descent have historically resided.
Bogotá 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; (SONY VGP-BPS21B battery) in 2007, Bogotá 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, "Comunidad Segura", that was first adopted in 1995 and continues to be enforced.
Bogotá is the capital of the Republic of Colombia, and houses the national legislature, the Supreme Court of Justice(SONY VGP-BPS21 battery), and the center of the executive administration as well as the residence of the President of the Republic (Casa de Nariño). These buildings, along with the Principal Mayor's office, the Lievano Palace (Palacio de Liévano), are located within few meters from each other on the Bolívar Square (Plaza de Bolívar). The square is located in the city's historical center, La Candelaria, which features architecture in Spanish Colonial and Spanish Baroque styles(SONY VGP-BPS21/S battery).
The Principal Mayor and District Council – both elected by popular vote – are responsible for city administration. In 2011 Gustavo Petro was elected Mayor; his term runs from 2012 to 2015. Previous recent mayors of Bogotá include Luis Eduardo Garzón, Antanas Mockus Sivickas and Enrique Peñalosa Londoño(SONY VGP-BPS13AS battery).
The city is divided into 20 localities: Usaquén, Chapinero, Santa Fe, San Cristóbal, Usme, Tunjuelito, Bosa, Kennedy, Fontibón, Engativá, Suba, Barrios Unidos, Teusaquillo, Los Mártires, Antonio Nariño, Puente Aranda, La Candelaria, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Ciudad Bolívar, Sumapaz.
Each of the 20 localities is governed by an administrative board elected by popular vote, made up of no fewer than seven members(SONY VGP-BPS13S battery). The Principal Mayor designates local mayors from candidates nominated by the respective administrative board.
Bogotá is the main economic and industrial center of Colombia. 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. (SONY VGP-BPS13B/S battery) The city is one of the largest industrial centers in Latin America. The Colombian government fosters the import of capital goods, Bogotá being one of the main destinations of these imports (the size of Bogota's industry accounted for 24.4% of Colombia's total in 2003). This is due in part to its geographical location, which makes the city a strategic point in terms of logistics(SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery), since transportation of goods to other parts of the country is relatively fast. This also facilitates the supply of raw materials for industry in the city, by its proximity to agricultural regions like the Eastern Plains. Several multinational companies have established their regional operations here during the last decades. However, the distance from the ports reduces the competitive advantages for exporting industrial products(SONY VGP-BPS14 battery). Thus services (including telecommunications and trade) are gaining share versus industry.
In 2005, consumer goods led industrial production, followed by intermediate and capital goods. Of the 248,000 companies available to Bogotá, 78% are linked to service activities, contributing to 76% employment and 79% of GDP. The highest concentrations of industrial establishments are in Puente Aranda, Fontibón(SONY VGP-BPL14 battery), Kennedy, Los Mártires, and Barrios Unidos, and Engativá (in that order). Important business include the food industries, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, publishing and metalworking. Also in 2005, the town with the highest labor productivity was Tunjuelito, followed by Teusaquillo and Chapinero.
The main international trading partner in Bogotá in 2003 was the United States, followed by the European Union(SONY VGP-BPS14/B battery). 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%).
In 2008, the World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom ranked Bogotá as a beta level city, one of their highest rankings. Beta level cities are important world cities that are instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy. (SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery)
Colombia bore in the 1980s and early 1990s, tourism in Bogotá 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 with the goal of making Bogotá a sustainable tourist destination(SONY VGP-BPS14B battery).
The hotels in the historical center of La Candelaria and its surrounding areas cater to lovers of culture and the arts. This area also has the bulk of hostels in the city as well. The hotels located near Ciudad Salitre are intended for visitors who make short stops in Bogotá or need proximity to El Dorado International Airport(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery).
Important landmarks and tourist stops in Bogotá include the botanical garden José Celestino Mutis, La Quinta de Bolivar, the national observatory, the planetarium, Maloka, the Colpatria observation point, the observation point of La Calera, the monument of the American flags, and La Candelaria (the historical district of the city) (SONY VGP-BPS22 battery). There is also Usaquen, a colonial landmark where brunch and flea market on Sundays is a traditional activity. The city has numerous green parks and amusement parks like Salitre Magico or Mundo Aventura. Just outside the city you can find the salt cathedral and very near candelaria you can find the Cerro Monserrate. (SONY VGP-BPS18 battery) .
There are also several areas of the city where fine restaurants can be found. The G Zone, the T Zone and La Macarena are well known for their gastronomic offerings.
Since the 2000s huge hotel chains have been arriving to the city giving one of the most exclusive hotel services around the world. Some of the most important hotel chains that have arrived to Bogotá are: Marriott, Radisson, JW Marriott, Hilton, NH Hoteles, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, among others(SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery).
Gran Estacion mall in western Bogota
Bogotá's economy has significantly been boosted due to new shopping malls built within the last few years. As of December 2011, over 160 new malls are planned to be built on top of the existing 100 malls. Notable malls include:
Centro Mayor (the largest mall in the country)
Santafé (the second largest mall in the country)
The city has several television stations: Canal Capital and Citytv are local stations, Canal 13 is a regional station(SONY VGP-BPS22A battery), and is home to the national channels Caracol TV, RCN TV, Canal Uno, Canal Institucional, and Señal Colombia. It has multiple satellite television services like DirecTV and Telefonica; cable TV is mostly provided by the Mexican company Telmex (formerly TV Cable Bogotá, Superview, and Cablecentro) and the Venezuelan company Super Cable, and satellite dishes which offer hundreds of international channels, plus several exclusive channels for Bogotá(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ battery).
In the capital all the major radio networks in the country are available, in both AM and FM; 70% of the FM stations offer RDS service.
There are several newspapers, including El Tiempo, El Espectador, El Periódico, and El Nuevo Siglo, plus economical dailies La República and Portafolio, tabloids El Espacio, Q'Hubo, and Extra, and Communist Party's Voz Proletaria. Bogotá also offers a free newspaper called aDn(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11S battery).
A house in the Chapinero locality, near downtown Bogotá. (Estrato 4)
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. Bogotá is divided into six socio-economic "estratos" (strata):
A biarticulated TransMilenio bus.
Bogotá'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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15T battery). 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 the TransMilenio. The traditional system runs a variety of bus types, operated by several companies on normal streets and avenues(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15G battery): Bus (large buses), Buseta (medium size buses) and Colectivo (vans or minivans). The bigger buses were divided into two categories: Ejecutivo, which was originally to be a deluxe service and was not to carry standing passengers, and corriente or normal service. Since May 2008, all buses run as corriente services. Bogotá is a hub for domestic and international bus routes(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ4000 battery). The Bogotá terminal serves routes to most cities and towns in Colombia and is the largest in the country. There is international service to Ecuador, Perú and Venezuela.
TransMilenio Museo del Oro Station
The TransMilenio 'rapid transit system' was created during Enrique Peñalosa's mayoral term, and is a form of bus rapid transit that has been deployed as a measure to compensate for the lack of a subway or rail system(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E battery). TransMilenio combines 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, Jiménez Avenue, and 30th Avenue (also referred to as Norte Quito Sur or N.Q.S. for short) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440N battery). 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11L battery), it is more expensive than any public transport except taxis, and fares increase with petroleum fuel prices. As of 2011 the price of a ticket was C$1700 (about US$0.85); 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11Z battery).
100 Street north to Highway
Despite the city's chronic congestion, many of the ideas enacted during the Peñalosa years are regarded worldwide to be cost-effective, efficient and unique solutions. In addition to TransMilenio, the Peñalosa administration and voter-approved referenda helped to establish travel restrictions on cars with certain licence plate numbers during peak hours called Pico y placa(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11M battery); "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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M battery), 170th Street, to the south, 27th Street, and from Monserrate on the east to the Bogotá River on the west. The ciclorruta was started by the 1995–1998 Antanas Mockus administration, and considerably extended during the administration of Mayor Peñalosa. Since the construction of the ciclorruta bicycle use in the city has increased(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18 battery).
Bogotá's principal airport is El Dorado International Airport, west of the city's downtown, at the end of Avenue El Dorado. Due to its central location in Colombia and in Latin America, it is a hub for domestic and international airlines. Currently the national airport has begun to take more responsibility due to the congestion at the international airport(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31S battery).
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; there is also Guaymaral Airport, for private aviation activities(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31Z battery).
Building of Science and Technology Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, National University of Colombia.
Centro Ático at Pontifical Xavierian University
Often known as the Athens of South America, Bogotá 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31E battery).
Mario Laserna Building. University of the Andes.
There are a number of universities, both public and private. In 2002, there were a total of 106 higher education institutions; in Bogotá there are several universities, most partially or fully accredited by the NAC (National Accreditation Council): National University of Colombia, University of the Andes, Colombia, District University of Bogotá(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31J battery), La Sabana University, Pontifical Xavierian University, Our Lady of the Rosary University, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Military University Nueva Granada, Sergio Arboleda University, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, Catholic University of Colombia Santo Tomás de Aquino University and La Salle University(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31M battery).
The city has a University City at the National University of Colombia campus located in the traditional sector Teusaquillo. It is the largest campus in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America. The town of La Candelaria is home to the largest concentration of private universities in Latin America(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31B battery).
Additionally, Bogota is becoming increasingly popular among foreigners and tourists wishing to learn Spanish while discovering the Latin American culture. Schools such as the Meboc Institute have been set up to offer flexible courses to international students at competitive prices.
In Colombia, the primary and secondary schools educational system goes from pre-kindergarten to eleventh grade, that being the high school senior year(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32 battery). Education in Colombia is not obligatory(only until 8th grade) as in other countries, but the government has implemented a promotional campaign nationwide to influence families with low economic levels to get their children enrolled in school.
Profamilia Transmilenio station near downtown Bogotá
Bogotá has many cultural venues including 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21 battery):
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 Bogotá Philharmonic is the most important symphony orchestra in Colombia, with over 100 musicians and 140 performances a year(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S battery);
The Cristobal Colon Theater, the Country's oldest Opera House, 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, it gathers over 320,000 music fans who can enjoy over 60 band performances for free during three days a year. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M battery) 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.
Bogotá has worked heavily in recent years to position itself as leader in cultural offerings in South America, and it is increasingly being recognized worldwide as a hub in the region for the development of the arts(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery). In 2007 Bogotá was awarded the title of Cultural Capital of Ibero-America by the UCCI (Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities), and it became the only city to have received the recognition twice, after being awarded for the first time in 1991.
Bogotá was a city quite isolated, since communication media were scarce. Only by the end of the century did such isolation decline thanks to the railroad and to some roads linking the city and the Magdalena river and down the river up to the Caribbean coast(Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery).
During the decade of the 70s, writers of varied trends grouped around Mosaico magazine, founded and directed by José María Vergara y Vergara, to make one of the first efforts to record Colombian literature history and to consolidate the cultural identity of the country.
Cultural life in the city concentrated in literary gatherings, which during the Nineteenth century allowed Bogotanians to share their literary and political concerns (Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery)and to attend musical and drama presentations. Maldonado Theater featured theatrical and opera presentations and by the end of the Nineteenth century Bogotá had two important theatres: the Theater Colón, inaugurated in 1892, and the Municipal Theatre, inaugurated in 1895, which featured zarzuela (operetta) and musical shows. Also the scenario for important Colombian history events during the decades of the 30s and 40s(Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery).
During the nineteenth century, despite constant riots and civil wars altering normal new republic development, Bogotá preserved traditions and uses dating back to colonial times, combined with some European influence.
In 1886 the National School of Beaux Arts was founded and definitely drove artistic development in the city. Alberto Urdaneta was the first director(Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery). Painters Epifanio Garay and Ricardo Acevedo Bernal, School professors, were important portraitists, but the most outstanding person at that time was painter Andrés de Santamaría (1860–1945), greatly renowned painting in Colombia. He was Beaux Arts School director twice and his work, associated to impressionism, is the most important of that time. Landscaping trend most famous representatives were Roberto Páramo(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery), Jesús María Zamora, Eugenio Peña, Luis Núñez Borda and Ricardo Gómez Campuzano, painters whose work is preserved in the permanent National Museum collection.
Bogotá gave the Spanish speaking world José Asunción Silva (1865–1896), Modernism pioneer. His poetic work in the novel De sobremesa position him in an outstanding American literature place. Rafael Pombo (1833–1912) was outstanding American romanticism poet who left a collection of fables essential part of children imagination and Colombian tradition(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z battery).
The urban morphology and typology of colonial buildings in Bogotá have been maintained since the late nineteenth century, long after the independence of Colombia (1810). This persistence of the colonial setting is still visible, particularly in La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogotá. Also kept up are the colonial houses of two stories, with courtyards(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery), gabled roofs, ceramic tiles and balconies. In some cases, these balconies were filled with glass during the Republican period, a distinguishing feature of the architecture of the sector (for example, the House of Rafael Pombo).
"Republican Architecture" was the style that prevailed between 1830 and 1930. Although there were attempts to consolidate a modern architectural language, the only examples seen are University City and White City at the National University of Colombia (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery) (constructed 1936 to 1939). This work was developed by German architect James Daly, although architects of rationalist trends participated in the design of campus buildings. We also see in Bogotan architecture trends such as art deco, expressionism and organic architecture. This last trend was typified by Bogotan architects in the second half of the twentieth century such as Rogelio Salmona(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery).
In 2006 Bogotá won The Golden Lion Award at the Tenth International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, in recognition of "their efforts towards social inclusion, education, housing and public space, particularly through innovations in transportation."
Although renowned for its beautiful preservation of colonial architecture, there are also significant contemporary architecture examples found in the downtown and at the north of the city(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery).
In 2014 BD Bacatá will be inaugurated, taking the place from Colpatria tower to become the tallest building of the city. The building its expected to be the beginning of the city's downtown renovation.
In 2007 Bogotá was named World Book Capital by UNESCO. Bogotá is the first Latin American city to receive this recognition, and the second one in the Americas after Montreal(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery). It stood out 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. Several specific initiatives for the World Book Capital program have been undertaken with the commitment of groups, both public and private, engaged in the book sector(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery).
The city is home to the Biblored, an institution which administers 16 small and four large public libraries (Biblioteca Virgilio Barco, Biblioteca El Tintal, Biblioteca El Tunal and Biblioteca Julio Mario Santodomingo). 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 (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery) (specializing in old books, catalogs and art), Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá, the Alliance Française, and the Centro Colombo Americano.
Another set of libraries are the new collaborative initiatives between the state, city and international agencies. Examples are the Cultural Center Gabriel García 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 downtown Bogotá(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery).
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 volumes, with an important collection of ancient books. The latter has almost two million volumes(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery). 45 thousand square meters in size, it hosts 10 thousand visitors a day. Bank of the Republic depends also on the Library Alfonso Palacio Rudas, north of the city, with about 50 thousand volumes. Other large public libraries are the Library of Congress in Colombia (with 100 thousand volumes), of the Instituto Caro y Cuervo (with nearly 200 thousand volumes, the largest Latin American library in Philology and Linguistics) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery), 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.
Bogotá is home to historical records housed the General National Archive, a collection of about 60 million documents, one of the largest repositories of primary historical sources in Latin America. Bogotá is also home to the Musical Archive of the Cathedral of Bogotá(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery) (with thousands of books and choral song-colonial period), the Archdiocesan Archive, the Archive of the Conciliar Seminary of Bogotá, the Archive History National University of Colombia and the Archive of the Mint in Bogotá, under the Bank of the Republic.
National Museum of Colombia
The city offers 58 museums and over 70 art galleries. The National Museum of Colombia has acquisitions divided into four collections: art, history, archeology and ethnography. The Gold Museum, with 35 thousand pieces of tumbaga gold(Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery), along with 30 thousand objects in ceramic, stone and textiles, represents the largest collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world.
The Botero Museum has 123 works of Fernando Botero and 87 works by international artists. The Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá has a collection of graphic arts, industrial design and photography(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery). The Museum of Colonial Art is home to an important collection of colonial art from Colombia. Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño hosts activities related to the performing arts and shows temporary exhibits of art in its halls and galleries.
Among the scientific museums are the Archeological Museum – Casa del Marqués de San Jorge, which 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery), and the Geological Museum, which has a collection specializing in Geology and Paleontology.