Bogotá is located in the southeastern part of the Bogotá savanna (Sabana de Bogotá) at an average altitude of 2,640 metres (8,660 ft) above sea level. The Bogotá savanna is popularly called "savannah" (sabana), but constitutes actually a high plateau in the Andes mountains, part of an extended region known as the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, which literally means "high plateau of Cundinamarca and Boyacá".
In the extreme south of Bogota's District, the world's largest continuous paramo ecosystem can be found; Sumapaz Páramo in the locality Sumapaz.
The Bogotá River running NE-SW crosses the sabana, forming Tequendama Falls (Salto del 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. The Eastern Hills, which limit city growth, run from south to north, and form east of the centre 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.
Bogotá has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb). The average temperature is 14.5 °C (58 °F), varying from 6 to 19 °C (43 to 66 °F) on sunny days to 10 to 18 °C (50 to 64 °F) on rainy days. 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 7.6 °C (45.7 °F) in the city; fog is very usual in early morning, 220 days per year, whilst clear sky sunny full days are quite unusual.
The official highest temperature recorded within the city limits is 30.0 °C (86 °F), and the lowest temperature recorded is −7.1 °C (19 °F).
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).
Bogotá has 20 localities, or districts, forming an extensive network of neighborhoods. Areas of higher economic status tend to be located in the north, close to the Eastern Hills in the districts of Chapinero, Usaquén and the east of Suba. The lower middle class inhabit the central, western and northwestern parts of the city.. The working-class neighborhoods are located in the south, some of them squatter areas.
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 from west to east horizontally, with street numbers increasing towards the north, and also towards the south (with the suffix "Sur") from Calle 0 down south. Carreras (roads) run from north to south vertically, with numbering increasing from to west. (with the suffix "Este" for roads east of Carrera 0). At the southeast of the city, the addresses are logically sur-este. 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:Norte-Quito-Sur or NQS (North Quito South Avenue, from 9th Rd at north following railway to 30th Rd, or Quito City Avenue, and Southern Highway)
Autopista Norte-Avenida Caracas (Northern Highway, or 45th Rd, joined to Caracas Avenue, or 14th Rd)
Avenida Circunvalar (or 1st Rd)
Avenida Suba (60th transversal from 100th St the Suba Hills; 145th St from Suba Hills westward)
Avenida El Dorado (El Dorado Avenue, or 26th St)
Avenida de las Américas (Avenue of the Americas, from 34th street at east to 6th street at west)
Avenida Primero de Mayo (May First Avenue, or 22nd St South)
Avenida Ciudad de Cali (Cali City Avenue, or 86th Rd)
Avenida Boyacá (Boyacá Avenue, or 72nd Rd)
Autopista Sur (Southern Highway)
The area of modern Bogotá was first populated by groups of indigenous people who migrated south based on the relation with the other Chibcha languages; the Bogotá savanna was the southernmost Chibcha-speaking group that exists from Nicaragua to the Andes in Colombia. The civilisation built by the Muisca, who settled in the valleys and fertile highlands of and surrounding the Altiplano Cundiboyacense (modern-day departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá and small parts of Santander), was one of the four great civilisations in the Americas. The name Muisca Confederation has been given to a loose egalitarian society of various chiefs (caciques) who lived in small settlements of maximum 100 bohíos. The agriculture and salt-based society of the people was rich in goldworking, trade and mummification. The religion of the Muisca consisted of various gods, mostly related to natural phenomena as the Sun (Sué) and his wife, the Moon; Chía, rain Chibchacum, rainbow Cuchavira and with building and feasting (Nencatacoa) and wisdom (Bochica). Their complex luni-solar calendar, deciphered by Manuel Izquierdo based on work by Duquesne, followed three different sets of years, where the sidereal and synodic months were represented. Their astronomical knowledge is represented in one of the few extant landmarks of the architecture of the Muisca in El Infiernito outside Villa de Leyva to the north of Bogotá.
The first populations inhabiting the present-day Metropolitan Area of Bogotá, were hunter-gatherer people in the late Pleistocene. The oldest dated evidence thus far has been discovered in El Abra (12,500 BP), north of Zipaquirá. Slightly later dated excavations in a rock shelter southwest of the city in Soacha provided ages of ~11,000 BP; Tequendama. Since around 0 AD, the Muisca domesticated guinea pigs, part of their meat diet. The people inhabiting the Bogotá savanna in the late 15th century were the Muisca, speaking Muysccubun, a member of the Chibcha language family. Muisca means "people" or "person", making "Muisca people", how they are called, a tautology. At the arrival of the conquerors, the population was estimated to be half a million indigenous people on the Bogotá savanna of up to two million in the Muisca Confederation. 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 (9,653 sq mi), comprising Bogotá's high plain, the current Boyacá department portion and a small Santander region.
Trade was the most important activity of the Muisca with other Chibcha-speaking neighbours, such as the Guane, Lache and U'wa and with Cariban groups as the Muzo or "Emerald People". Their knowledge of salt production from brines, a task exclusively for the Muisca women, gave them the name "Salt People". Tropical fruits that didn't grow on the cool highlands, coca, cotton and gold were traded at markets that took place every Muisca week; every four days. At these frequent markets, the Muisca obtained various luxury goods that seem worthless in modern sense and precious metals and gemstones that seem valuable to us became abundant and used for various purposes. The Muisca warrior elite was allowed to wear feathered crowns, from parrots and macacs whose habitat was to the east of the Andes; the Arawkan-speaking Guayupe, Tegua and Achagua.
The Muisca cuisine consisted of a stable and varied diet of tubers, potatoes and fruits. Maize was the main ingredient of the Muisca, cultivated on elevated and irrigated terraces. In Muysccubun exist many words for maize, corn and the various types and forms of it. The product was also the base for chicha; the alcoholic beverage of the people, still sold in central Bogotá today. It was the drink for construction of houses, celebrations of harvests and sowing, ritual practices around the various sacred sites of the Altiplano, music and dances, trade at special ferias with farther away trading indigenous groups of Colombia and to inaugurate the new highest regarded member of the community; zipas, zaques, caciques and the religious ruler iraca from Sacred City of the Sun Sugamuxi.
The zipa at the moment of Spanish conquest was Tisquesusa. His main bohío was in Bacatá with others in Funza and Cajicá, giving name to the present day capital of Colombia. A prophecy in his life came true; he would be dying, bathing in his own blood. Defending Funza with a reduced army of guecha warriors against the heavily exhausted but heavily armed strangers, his reign fell in the hands of Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and his younger brother Hernán Pérez on April 20, 1537. Upon his death, his brother Sagipa became the last zipa, against the inheritance tradition of the Muisca. Sagipa used to be a main captain for Tisquesusa but quickly submitted to the Spanish rulers. The first encomenderos asked high prices in valuable products and agricultural production from the indigenous people. On top of that various epidemics of European viruses razed through the population, of which in current Boyacá 65–85 % of the Muisca were killed within 100 years.
Bogotá was founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada traditionally on the 6th of August 1538. Other documents state a second establishment was done on April 27, 1539. Gonzalo Jiménez and main conquerors De Belalcázar and Federmann, left for Spain in April 1539, founding Guataquí together on April 6, 1539. The rule over the fresh New Kingdom of Granada was left to Hernán. Bogotá became the capital of the later Viceroyalty of New Granada. With independence, Bogotá became capital of Gran Colombia and later the capital of the Republic of Colombia.
From 1533, a belief persisted that the Río Grande de la Magdalena was the trail to the South Sea, to Peru, legendary El Dorado. Such was the target of Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, the Granadanian conquistador who left Santa Marta on 6 April 1536 with 800 soldiers, heading towards the interior of current Colombia. The expedition divided into two groups, one under Quesada's 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 of salt villages. 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 indigenous people covered with very finely painted cotton mantles. When they arrived in Muisca territories, of the expedition leaving Santa Marta, only 162 men were left.
On the other side to Plaza de Bolívar, the Chapter and the Royal Audience were located. The street joining the Major Plaza and Herbs Plaza —currently Santander Park— was named Calle Real (Royal Street), now Carrera Séptima (or "Seventh Street"; counted from the mountains to the east of the city).
Formed by Europeans, mestizos, indigenous people, and slaves, from the second half of the 16th century, the population began to grow rapidly. The 1789 census recorded 18,161 inhabitants, and by 1819 the city population reached 30,000 inhabitants distributed in 195 blocks. Importance grew when the Diocese was established.
The city mayor and the chapter formed by two councilmen, assisted by the constable and the police chief, governed the city. For better administration of 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. Fourteen years later in 1564, the Spanish Crown designated the first Royal Audience chairman, Andrés Díaz Venero de Leyva.
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, 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 20 July movement leaders in 1810.
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, 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 Thousand Days' War from 1899 to 1902.
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 the 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.
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 1981. In the middle of political and administration avatars, Bogotá continued as the capital and principal political center of the country.
From a base of only 20,000 people in 1793, the city grew to approximately 117,000 people in 1912. Population growth was rapid after 1870, largely because of emigration 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 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. 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 dead.
Bogotá had practically no industry. Production was basically artisan work grouped in specific places, similar to commercial sectors. 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.
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.
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, architectural and population sectors were substantially reorganized.
The largest and most populous city in Colombia, Bogotá had 6,778,691 inhabitants within the city's limits (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.
In Bogotá, as in the rest of the country, urbanization has accelerated due to industrialization as well as complex political and social reasons such as poverty and violence, which led to migration from rural to urban areas throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A dramatic example of this is the number of displaced people who have arrived in Bogotá due to the internal armed conflict.
Some estimates show that Bogotá's floating population may be as high as 4 million people, most of them being migrant workers from other departments and displaced people. The majority of the displaced population lives in the Ciudad Bolívar, Kennedy, Usme, and Bosa sections.
The ethnic composition of the city’s population includes minorities of Afro-Colombian people (1.5%), and Indigenous Amerindians (0.2%); 98.27% of the population has no ethnic affiliation, but are mestizos and whites.
Bogotá has gone to great lengths to change its formerly notorious crime rate and its image with increasing success after being considered in the 1990s to be one of the most violent cities in the world. In 1993 there were 4,352 murders at a rate of 81 per 100,000 people; in 2007 Bogotá suffered 1,401 murders at a rate of 19 per 100,000 inhabitants, and had a further reduction to 16.9 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012 (the lowest since 1983). This success was mainly 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 Congress, Supreme Court of Justice and the center of the executive administration as well as the residence of the President (Casa de Nariño). These buildings, along with the Office of the Mayor, the Lievano Palace (Palacio Liévano), are located within a 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.
The Mayor of Bogotá and the City Council – both elected by popular vote – are responsible for city administration. In 2015 Enrique Peñalosa was elected Mayor; his term runs from 2016 to 2019.
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 and 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 Mayor designates local mayors from candidates nominated by the respective administrative board.
Bogotá is the main economic and industrial centre of Colombia. The Colombian government fosters the import of capital goods, Bogotá being one of the main destinations of these imports.
In 2008 the World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom ranked Bogotá as a beta-level city, a medium ranking. Beta-level cities are important world cities that are instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy.
Bogotá is responsible for 56% of the tourism that arrives to Colombia and is home 1,423 multinational companies. Bogotá also ranked highly as a global city where business is done and meetings are held. Bogotá is a growing international meetings destination.
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. In La Candelaria, there are many museums, including the Botero Museum and the Gold Museum. Close to La Candelaria is the Cerro Monserrate, which you can reach by cable car or funicular. The hotels located near Ciudad Salitre are intended for visitors who make short stops in Bogotá and near El Dorado International Airport.
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). 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.
Green areas surrounding Bogota are perfect locations for eco-tourism and hiking activities, in the eastern mountains of the city, just a few minutes walking from main roads, there are Quebrada La vieja and Chapinero Waterfalls, two of many green spots for sightseeing and tourism with clean air.
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, major hotel chains have established in the city.
Bogotá's economy has been significantly boosted due to new shopping malls built within the last few years. As of December 2011, over 160 new malls are planned in addition to the existing 100 malls. Notable malls include:Centro Andino
Portal de la 80
Bogota is home to several television stations like Canal Capital and Citytv which are local stations, Canal 13 is a regional station, 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 Telefónica, Claro and DirecTV and several satellite dishes which offer hundreds of international channels, plus several exclusive channels for Bogotá.
In Bogota, 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 (Colombia)|El Periódico, and El Nuevo Siglo, plus economical dailies La República (Colombia)|La República and Portafolio, tabloids El Espacio, Q'Hubo, and Extra, and Communist Party's Voz Proletaria. Bogotá also offers three free newspapers, two Spanish, ADN and Publimetro, and one English, The Bogota Post.
Energy and sewer bills are stratified based on the location of owner's residence, The system is the classification of the residential properties that should receive public services. Although the system does not consider the income per person and the rules say that the residential real estate should stratify and not households. All mayors should do the stratification of residential properties of their municipality or district.
Bogotá's social strata have been divided as follows and have been extensively used by the government as a reference to develop social welfare programs, statistical information and to some degree for the assignment of lands.Estrato 1 (lowest)
Estrato 2 (low)
Estrato 3 (mid-low)
Estrato 4 (mid-high)
Estrato 5 (high)
Estrato 6 (highest)
Bogotá's growth has placed a strain on its roads and highways, but since 1998 significant efforts to upgrade the infrastructure have been undertaken. Private car ownership 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: 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. 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.
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. 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). 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 (0.60 USD or 2000 COP) than any public transport, except taxis.
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 license plate numbers during peak hours called Pico y placa; 121 kilometres (75 miles) of Ciclovía on Sundays; a massive system (376 km (234 mi) as of 2013) 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 and discourage car use. Ciclorrutas is one of the most extensive dedicated bike path networks of any city in the world, with a total extension of 376 kilometres (234 miles). It extends from the north of the city, 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 with a few kilometers, and considerably extended during the administration of Mayor Peñalosa with the development of a Bicycle Master Plan and the addition of paths hundreds of kilometers in extent. Since the construction of the ciclorruta bicycle use in the city has increased, and a car free week was introduced in 2014.
Bogotá's principal airport is El Dorado International Airport, west of the city's downtown. Due to its central location in Colombia and in Latin America, it is a hub for Colombia's Flagship Carrier Avianca, Copa Airlines Colombia and LAN Colombia. It is also serviced by a number of international airlines including American, Delta, United, Jet Blue and Lufthansa. Currently the national airport has begun to take more responsibility due to the congestion at the international airport. In response to the high demand of approximately 27 Million passengers per year, a new airport, El Dorado II, is planned to be built by 2021, to help alleviate traffic at the main airport.
A secondary airport, CATAM, serves as a base for Military and Police Aviation. This airport, which uses the runways of El Dorado will eventually move to Madrid, a nearby town in the region of Cundinamarca, leaving further space to expand El Dorado.
Guaymaral Airport is another small airport located in the northern boundaries of Bogota. It is used mainly for private aviation activities.
Bogotá has little railway transit infrastructure, following the collapse of the tram network, although a number of plans hope to change that. The Bogotá Metro has been pushed forward by two successive governments, and proponents hope that construction will soon begin. Plans to construct railways in and out of the city, replacing defunct routes, have been delayed due to the pressing need for transport within the city.
Bogotá is the Colombian city with the most extensive and comprehensive network of bike paths. Bogotá’s bike paths network or Ciclorutas de Bogotá in Spanish, designed and built during the administration of Mayors Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa, is also one of the most extensive in the world. The network is integrated with the TransMilenio bus system which has bicycle parking facilities.
Bogota implemented a healthy habit called "Ciclovia" where principal highways are closed from 7:00 a.m. till 2:00 pm on Sundays and public holidays; therefore, the People ride their bikes to enjoy the city as well as exercise. In the same way just on December the same activity is carried out in the night, there are some special activities such as fireworks, street theater performances, and street food just to mention a few.
Since the 4th of April 2016 the carrera 11 has been reduced from four to three car lanes and a new bike lane (cicloruta) has been inaugurated.
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 connecting Plaza de Bolívar and La Sabana Station started operating. The tramway ran over wooden rails and was easily derailed, so steel rails imported from England were eventually installed. In 1894, a tramway car ran the Bogotá-Chapinero line every 20 minutes. The tramway provided services until 1948, and was then replaced by buses.
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.
There are a number of universities, both public and private. In 2002, there were a total of 114 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, La Salle University, Colombia, University of La Sabana, Pontifical Xavierian University, Our Lady of the Rosary University, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Military University Nueva Granada, University of America, Sergio Arboleda University, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, Pilot University of Colombia, Catholic University of Colombia, Saint Thomas Aquinas University and Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.
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.
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: 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;
The Cristóbal Colón Theater, the country's oldest Opera House, opened in 1892. It is home to the National Symphony Association's major act, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia.
Rock al Parque or Rock at the Park is an open air rock music festival. Recurring annually, it 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.
Kids' Choice Awards Colombia, are the most important awards given in the city by Nickelodeon and the first ceremony was given in 2014 by the singer Maluma and in Corferias the ceremony has been the home of shows given by artists like Austin Mahone, Carlos Pena, Don Tetto and Riva among others.
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. 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 gave the Spanish-speaking world José Asunción Silva (1865–1896), Modernism pioneer. His poetic work in the novel De sobremesa has a place in outstanding American literature. Rafael Pombo (1833–1912) was an American romanticism poet who left a collection of fables essential part of children imagination and Colombian tradition.
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, 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 (constructed 1936 to 1939). This work was developed by German architect Leopold Rother, 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.
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.
In 2015 BD Bacatá was inaugurated, surpassing the Colpatria Tower to become the tallest building of the city and of Colombia. 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. 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.
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 (specializing in old books, catalogs and art), Museum of Modern Art, 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.
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. 45 thousand square metres (480 thousand square feet) 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), 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 in 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 (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.
The city offers 58 museums and over 70 art galleries. The Colombian National Museum has acquisitions divided into four collections: art, history, archeology and ethnography. The Gold Museum, with 35,000 pieces of tumbaga gold, along with 30,000 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. 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, and the Geological Museum, which has a collection specializing in Geology and Paleontology.
Bogotá has historical museums like the Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Museum, the Museum of Independence (Museo de la Independencia), the Quinta de Bolívar and the Casa Museo Francisco José de Caldas, as well as the headquarters of Maloka and the Children's Museum of Bogotá. New museums include the Art Deco and the Museum of Bogotá.
Besides the Ibero-American Theater Festival,the largest theater festival in the world, the city has forty-five theaters; the principal ones are the Colon Theater, the newly built Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo, the National Theater with its two venues, the traditional TPB Hall, the Theater of La Candelaria, the Camarin del Carmen (over 400 years old, formerly a convent), the Colsubsidio, and a symbol of the city, the renovated Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitan (the highest capacity currently in South America), León de Greiff Auditorium (home of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra), and the Open Air Theater "La Media Torta", where musical events are also held.
Bogotá has its own film festival, the Bogotá Film Festival, and many theatres, showing both contemporary films and art cinema.
The main cultural center of the city is the La Candelaria, historic center of the city, with a concentration of universities and museums. In 2007 Bogotá was designated the Ibero-American cultural Capital of Iberoamerica.
Before the Spanish conquest, the beliefs of the inhabitants of Bogotá formed part of the Muisca religion. From the colonial period onwards, the city has been predominantly Roman Catholic. Proof of this religious tradition is the number of churches built in the historic city center. The city has been seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bogotá since 22 March 1564. The seat of the Archbishop is the Primary Cathedral of Bogota; the archdiocese itself is located in new buildings in the north of the city. However a large group of the population nowadays declares itself non-practicing.
The city has a mosque located in the area of Chapinero called the Estambul mosque, a mosque currently being built on the Calle 80 with Cra 30 called Abou Bakr Alsiddiq mosque and which is the first in the city to have the traditional Islamic architecture, and an Islamic Center called Al-Qurtubi.
The main Ashkenazi Jewish synagogue (there are a total of 4 synagogues in Bogotá) is located on 94th street (also called State of Israel avenue).
An Eastern Orthodox church and the San Pablo Anglican Cathedral, the mother church of the Episcopal Church in Colombia, are both located in Chapinero. The Bogotá Colombia Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located in the Niza neighborhood. There are four Buddhist centers located in the north of the city. There is also a wide variety of Protestant churches in different parts of the city, including the Bogotá Baptist Chapel, the non-denominational Union Church, and the St. Matthaus Evangelical Lutheran Church which holds services in German as well as Spanish for the German-Colombian community.
There is a broad array of restaurants in Bogotá that serve typical and international food. Parque de la 93, Usaquén, Zona T, The G Zone, La Macarena, La Candelaria and the International Centre are some of the main sectors where a number of international restaurants are found, ranging from Argentinian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Mexican, American establishments to Arabic, Asian, French, Italian, Russian and British bistros, rotisseries, steakhouses and pubs, just to name a few. Typical dishes of Bogotá include the Ajiaco, a soup prepared with chicken, a variety of potatoes, corn on the cob, and guascas (an herb), usually served with sour cream and capers, and accompanied by avocado and rice.
Tamale is a very traditional Bogotá dish. Colombian tamal is a paste made with rice, beef, pork and/or chicken (depending on the region), chickpea, carrot, and spices, wrapped in plantain leaves and steam-cooked.
Figs with arequipe, strawberries with cream, postre de natas and cuajada con melao are some of the main desserts offered in the city. Canelazo is a hot drink from the Altiplano prepared with aguapanela, cinnamon and aguardiente. Another hot beverage is the Carajillo, made with coffee (tinto as it is known in Colombia) and aguardiente.
There are numerous parks in Bogotá, many with facilities for concerts, plays, movies, storytellers and other activities.Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park is a large park regularly used to stage free concerts (such as the annual Rock al Parque, a festival in which popular and/or recently formed international, latinamerican, and Colombian rock bands play free of charge).
The public Parque Nacional (National Park) has green spaces, ponds, games for children, foot and bicycle paths, and venues for entertainment such as public screenings of movies and concerts and events organized by the Council of Bogotá
The Bogotá Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico de Bogotá)
Parque de la 93 has day-time leisure activities and nightlife. Several of the top restaurants and bars in the city are in this park, the park is known around the world like the Colombian Pike Place by having the first Starbucks in all the country and Carls Jr. as well.
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 Mágico is another amusement park with rides and attractions. The park is near the Simón Bolívar park, where concerts are held throughout the year.
Parque del Chicó has trees, gardens, artificial creeks and ponds, and a colonial style house converted into a museum; Museo del Chicó
To the north of Bogotá, in the municipality of Tocancipá; 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 is a sightseeing train, popular with Bogotá residents, which runs to outlying towns Zipaquirá, Cajicá and Nemocón along the lines of the former Bogotá Savannah Railway on weekends. The route to Zipaquirá (famous for its salt cathedral) is 53 kilometres (33 miles) long. Another line goes towards the north for 47 km (29 mi) and ends at Briceño.
The Usaquén Park is another of the most important parks in the city several of the best restaurants in this city are located there, is recognized to have street performers such as storytellers, magicians, jugglers, etc. and also for being one of the most decorated parks in the city during Christmas time.
The District Institute for Recreation and Sport promotes recreation, sports and use of the parks in Bogotá.
Football has been declared a symbol of Bogotá, and is widely played in the city. There are three professional clubs in the city, Santa Fe, Millonarios, and La Equidad. The main stadium in the city is The Campín Stadium (Estadio Nemesio Camacho El Campín) home of the local teams Santa Fe and Millonarios, In 2001 The Campín Stadium has been the place for the 2001 Copa América final between the Colombia national football and the Mexico national football, final score 1–0 in favor of the home team and finally getting their first continental cup. The other soccer venue is the multi-use Techo Metropolitan Stadium which is the home of La Equidad.
Other major sporting venues are the covered Coliseum El Campín, the Simón Bolívar Aquatic Complex, the Sports Palace, the El Salitre Sports Venue which includes the Luis Carlos Galán Velodrome (which hosted the 1995 UCI Track Cycling World Championships), the El Salitre Diamond Ballpark and the BMX track "Mario Andrés Soto".
Bogotá hosted the first Bolivarian Games held in 1938. The city hosted the National Games in 2004, winning the championship. It was a sub-venue Bolivarian Pan American Games. In addition, the city on the route of the Tour of Colombia.
After being a major venue city for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup that was held in Colombia, the Colombian Football Federation announced that Bogotá will be one of the venue cities to host the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup as well.
The flag originated with the insurgency movement against the colonial authorities which began on 20 July 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.
On 9 October 1952, exactly 142 years after these events, decree 555 of 1952 officially adopted the patriotic armband as the flag of Bogotá. 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" (defined as nobility, excellence, richness, generosity, splendour, health, steadfastness, joy and prosperity), 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 (Charles I of Spain) to the New Kingdom of Granada, by royal decree given in Valladolid, Spain on 3 December 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 on 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 Bogotá.
Bogotá's anthem lyrics were written by Pedro Medina Avendaño; the melody was composed by Roberto Pineda Duque. The song was officially declared the anthem by decree 1000 31 July 1974, by then Mayor of Bogotá, Aníbal Fernandez de Soto.
Bogotá is twinned with: London, United Kingdom
Chicago, USA (2009)
Washington, D.C., USA
Seoul, South Korea
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2008)
Miami, USA (1971)
Bogotá is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities from 12 October 1982 establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:
Other forms of cooperation and city friendship similar to the twin city programmes exist: Turin, Italy