This article is about the Colombian capital. For the town in New Jersey, see Bogota, New Jersey.

Bogotá (known officially in Spanish as Bogotá D.C., formerly Santafé de Bogotá D.C.), is the capital and largest city in Colombia, with a population of roughly 7.8 million people (about 11.6 million in metropolitan area). It is the capital of the department of Cundinamarca.



Bogotá is located at an altitude of 8660 ft (2640 m) above sea level on the Cordillera Oriental of the Northern Andes Mountains, Bogotá is situated at the base of two mountains, Guadalupe and Monserrate. On the crests of these mountains, over 10,500 ft (3200 m) high, stand two small churches, which are widely-visited by tourists and locals. The population of Bogotá is currently increasing at a rate of 100,000 peaple a year; many of whom come from the rural areas of Colombia and the city is constantly expanding in size to meet this influx of people. Currently the urban area covers 384.3 sq km, and the more mountainous rural area extends 1222.5 sq km.

Several water streams, one of which, the San Francisco, passes through the city, converge near the southwestern edge of the Cundinamarca-Boyacá plateau and form the Río Funza (also known as the río Bogotá). This river flows all the way to Salto del Tequendama, one of Bogotá's main tourist attractions: a vertical waterfall 475 feet (145 meters) high. Currently, most of the reiver's water is used to power a hydroelectric project. Bogotá's climate is mild and temperate, the average annual temperature is about 58°F (14°C), with about 44 inches (110 cm) of rainfall.

The city is planned on a grid, with numbered carreras (avenues), from south to north, intersecting numbered calles (streets) going east-west. Among the city's squares is the Plaza Bolívar, where many important public buildings and churches are located. Bogotá is connected by road to the Atlantic coast to the north and to the Pacific coast to the west, as well as to all other major cities in Colombia. The Pan-American Highway and the Simón Bolívar Highway both pass through the city.

The city is served by El Dorado International Airport. The TransMilenio bus rapid transit system is the most modern form of public transit serving the city. It was opened to the public in November 2000.


Missing image
Flag of Bogotá
Symbol of Bogotá
Symbol of Bogotá

Bogotá, called Bacatá by the Muiscas, was the center of their civilization before the Spanish conquest, and sustained a large population. The European settlement was founded in 1538 by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and was named "Santa Fé de Bacatá" after his birthplace Santa Fé and the local name. "Bacatá" had become the modern "Bogotá" by the time it was made the capital of the viceroyalty of New Granada, and the city soon became one of the centers of Spanish colonial power and civilization in South America. In 1810-11 its citizens revolted against Spanish rule and set up a government of their own, but had to contend with Spanish military loyalists, who controlled the city until 1819, when Simón Bolívar captured the city after his victory at Boyacá. Bogotá was then made the capital of Gran Colombia, a federation combining the territories of modern Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. When that republic was dissolved into its constituent parts, Bogotá remained the capital of New Granada, which later became the Republic of Colombia. See History of Colombia.

In 1956, the municipality of Bogotá was joined to other neighboring municipalities forming a "Special District" (Spanish: Distrito Especial). With the Constitution of 1991, Bogotá was confirmed as the Capital of Colombia adquiring the name "Santa Fe de Bogotá", and changing the category from Special District to "Capital District" (Spanish: Distrito Capital).

In August 2000 the capital's name was officially changed back from "Santa Fé de Bogotá" to the more usual "Bogotá". The local government consists in a Capital District, the current chief of government is Luis Eduardo Garzón.


The Flag of Bogotá originates from the insurgency movement against the colonial authorities which began on July 20, 1810. During this insurgency, the rebels wore armbands with yellow and red bands, as these colours were the ones in the Spanish flag which was the one used as the flag for the New Kingdom of Granada.

In October 9, 1952, exactly 142 years after these events, decree 555 of 1952 (available at [1] ( officially and definitively adopted the patriotic armband as the flag of Bogotá.

The flag itself is divided vertically in two, the top half being yellow and the bottom half being red. The yellow colour denotes the virtues of justice, clemency and being benign, 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 colour denotes the virtue of charity, as well as the qualities of bravery, nobility, values, audacity, victory, honour and furour.


The Coat of Arms of the city of Bogotá was ceded by emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain) to the New Kingdom of Granada, as evidenced by the Royal Decree given in Valladolid, Spain on December 3, 1548. It contains a black eagle in the center, which symbolises steadfastness. The eagle is crowned with gold and holds a red pomegranate inside a golden background. The border contains olive branches with nine golden pomegranates in 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.


Main article: Anthem of Bogotá The lyrics to the anthem of Bogotá were written by Pedro Medina Avendaño, the melody was composed by Roberto Pineda Duque. The song was officially declared the anthem of Bogotá by decree 1000 of July 31, 1974, by then Mayor of Bogotá, Aníbal Fernandez de Soto.


Bogotá is Colombia's largest economic center, followed by Medellín, Cali, and Bucaramanga—residents refer to it as Colombia's "first city". Most companies in Colombia have their headquarters in Bogotá, as it is home to most foreign companies doing business in Colombia, as well as Colombia's main stock market. After mining, the three largest sectors of Colombia and Bogotá's economy are the export of coffee, emeralds, and flowers. One of the largest drivers of the Colombian economy, Colombian coffee is prized for being some of the world's finest. Colombia is the world's largest producer of smooth coffee and the second overall coffee exporter. Although it is not grown in Bogotá, the offices of most coffee producing and exporting firms reside in Bogotá. The emerald trade is a huge business in Bogotá. In downtown Bogotá, millions of dollars in domestically produced rough and cut emeralds are bought and sold daily. Colombia is also one of the world's largest flower exporters. As a matter of fact, as much as 55% of all flowers sold in the United States are imported from Colombia. In Bogotá, greenhouses up to 5 miles long are kept stocked with flowers year round, which are then transported to the United States, Europe and Japan.


Bogotá has traditionally been a major center of art, culture, and learning in northern South America. Bogotá is home to several universities. The oldest is Universidad del Rosario, founded in 1602. Others include the National University of Colombia, Los Andes University, Pontifical Xaverian University (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana), (1622), the Universidad Externado de Colombia, and the University of Santo Tomás.

Bogotá is a city of museums,the most emblematic of which is the Museo del Oro or Gold Museum, the most important of its type, which holds the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian gold, there is also the National Museum of Colombia which contains a large collection of pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial artifacts and Colombian art. Bogotá has many other history and art museums, among them the Children's Museum of Bogotá, museum of science and technology ("Maloka"), a museum of natural history, the Bogotá Planetarium, La Casa de la Moneda (Bogotá Mint) to which an important collection of modernist art was recently donated, The Botero Museum and several modern art galleries.

Bogotá was selected by Unesco as the World Book Capital City 2007 [2] ([3] ( for its excellent network of private and public libraries and the great variety in precise initiatives and activities to promote reading.

Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro

This is the most important theatre festival in Latin America and Spain. Fanny Mickey, a local actress and threater director, has been the guiding force since the festival´s inception. The Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro takes place in Bogotá every two years and it runs for 17 days.

Top theatre groups from around the world participate in the festival and their performances contribute to making this a truly unique event. Moreover, each year one honoured country is invited.

On the opening day of the festival, a grand parade takes place along the 7th Avenue. Some theatre events are free to the public. These are usually performed in open public places such as Plaza de Bolivar, Parque el Tunal, Parque Nacional and other parks around Bogotá. The main theatres are open to the public during the festival; the list includes theaters such as Teatro Colon, Teatro Colsubsidio, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, La Castellana, Nacional de la 71, Libre de Chapinero, William Shakespeare, Gimnasio Moderno, Leonardus and La Casa del Teatro Nacional.

Music festivals

Music Festivals are presented in parks. These "Al parque" festivals present different kind of performances including rock, hip hop, jazz, opera, ranchera and classical music. Venues for these activities are: Simon Bolivar park, Tunal park, Media Torta square, Olaya park, Renacimiento park, National Park among others.

These activities are performed in open air and mainly, they are for free. The most important ones are: rock al parque and opera al parque in August, jazz al parque in september, hip hop al parque in November. There are also one ranchera al parque and a Colombian Music Festival. The performancers are both renowned and new groups or bands. These activities are promoted by "Ministerio de Cultura", or the Ministry of Culture, through the division of "Instituto Distrital de Cultura y Turismo."

Bogotá's Half-Marathon

The biggest sport event is the international half marathon. Every year, between June and Agust, the Bogotá Mayor´s office organize a massive running competition with more than 200 million pesos in prizes , where both native and foreigners can compete. And everyone can see the race just in front of them because this race is done in the streets of the city.To make it possible, the Bogotá Mayor's office and other sponsoring firms are in charge of hire the adecuaded people to organize and cover the whole event to make audence feel comfortable.

The total route is about 21 km. It begins on "Plaza de Bolivar" and cross the center of the city ending in "Simon Bolivar Park". Every participant has his or her own runner kit that includes a handbook, a uniform with its respective number, water, etc. Moreover, every participant that arrives to the finishing line receives a medal.

In the reward process, the prizes will be distributed according to the different positions and categories. The prizes are both in money and in presents. The results are published in the internet with the respective race time of each participant and the respective position.

The registration process is supervised by the Mayor´s office and by the National Police that also cooperates with the security. People can register by buying a the registration form or by asking for information on-line, and it must be done five months before the race.The registration can be both individual and in groups. The registration cost is between $12,000 and $14,000. This event has a official hotel for foreigners: The International Tequendama Hotel.


Every Sunday and holiday the main streets of Bogotá are blocked off for Ciclovia. From 7 am to 2 pm, walkers and bicyclists take over the streets. At the same time, stages are set up in city parks. Aerobics instructors, yoga teachers and musicans lead people through various performances. Also, some Sundays in December, a night Ciclovia is organized. This is done to give Bogotá's citizens a chance to explore the Christmas decoration in the main streets, and is done from 7 pm to midnight.

Barrios y ciudadelas (districts)

La Candelaria

La Candelaria is an amazing neighborhood, a great number of cultural events in Bogotá take place there. It is considered the cultural and historical center of the city.

It is located on the east of the Plaza de Bolivar. An interesting site to visit there is the Chorro de Quevedo. The Chorro de Quevedo is a charming small square surrounded of picturesque bars and an old Spanish style chapel. Bogotá was originally funded in this neighborhood by the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada in 1538.

Walking through La Candelaria, you can admire its houses which have big well-decorated balconies, red tile roofs and black big iron door knobs. They also have metal and wooden doors and windows. This is the only neighborhood in Bogotá whose streets have names and several of its routes have cobblestone streets.

La Candelaria has several universities, libraries, museums, theaters, galleries, cathedrals and churches to visit. Moreover, the principal government buildings of Colombia are in this neighborhood. For instante, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Universidad de La Salle, Universidad del Rosario, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Casa de la Moneda, Museo Militar, Museo de Arte Colonial, Museo de Trajes Regionales de Colombia, Teatro Colón, Catedral Primada de Bogotá, Iglesia de San Ignacio and Palacio de San Carlos.

Community Centers, Malls and Plazas

In this city, malls are places that you can visit in order to do shopping and to have fun. Centro Chía, Plaza de las Américas, Unicentro and Centro Andino: These are the biggest malls in Bogotá. Unicentro and Centro Andino are the most famous and are visited by tourists. Unicentro is located in the north of Bogotá. There, you will find a famous supermarket called "Ley" and Cine Colombia. Centro Andino is located in one of the most visited parts of Bogotá. This is The "Zona Rosa". Andino has Cinemark, also a supermarket called Fedco. Moreover, about five blocks from Centro Andino, you will find Atlantis Plaza. This mall is modern, it is kind of small, but very comfortable. It has a big place to have breakfast, have lunch or dinner. You will find famous brands like Nike, Diesel, video Games and Cinemark. Atlantis Plaza and Centro Andino are usually visited by famous people, like T.V. stars. It is because of the proximity to the "Zona Rosa". You go to the malls, and next to them,you can find very nice bars to drink and dance. Anyway, all malls in Bogotá are very nice. There are more of them like Metrópolis, Portal de la 80, Unicentro Occidente, Salitre Plaza and Bima. Anyway, in all of them you will find what you need.


Bogotá, being Colombia's capital, is a modern city with various means of transportation. They include airlines, buses, taxis, the Transmilenio, and even a train that serves as transportation for the outskirts of the city.

Buses are the main system of mass transportation. There are two bus systems: traditional system and "Transmilenio". The traditional system runs a variety of bus types, operated by several enterprices, and operating on normal streets and avenues:

  • bus, large buses.
  • buseta, smaller buses.
  • microbus or colectivo, vans.

The buses are divided in two categories: "ejecutivo", which is suposed to be a de-lux service and are not suposed to carry passangers outside their seats, and "corriente" or normal service. Bus fares range from COP 1000 to 1100 (as of may 2005).

Transmilenio is a system of buses that operate on special and exclusive roads, with modern aritculated buses, plus smaller feeding buses that operate on residential sectors near terminal bus stops of the main system. Transmilenio bus fare is COP 1200 (as of may 2005). Feeding buses are free.

In addition, Bogotá has different sorts of taxis. Bicycle ones are for two people and only for traveling to near places. Yellow taxis are much more common. People often use them in order to go faster despite the high fees. And finally Bogotá has white taxis, which are used just for hotels and Eldorado airport´s services.

This airport, known as "Aeropuerto Internacional Eldorado" (El Dorado International Airport) operates different national airlines (Avianca, Aerorepublica, West Caribean, Intercontinental and Satena), and international airliness (Iberia, American Airlines, Varig, Copa, Continental, Delta, Air Canada, Taca, etc...)

On the other hand, Bogotá has other different means of transportation. The train is an example. In spite of being very expensive, people have utilized it to have a good time with the family, especially on Sundays. It works on weekends from Bogotá to Zipaquirá, a town near to Bogotá.

Chivas is another mean of transportation. People use them specially for special occassions. They pay for a Chiva in order to take a small trip by the city. Its parking lot is located near the airport.

Finally, Bogotá has the well known “Trasmilenio”. It is faster than te other buses, due to have its own roadway. The Transmilenio´s main streets are: Caracas Avenue, 80th Street, Americas Street, North free way, Suba Avenue, Jimenez Avenue and the 30th Street in which the Transmilenio Station is in progress right now. This system is complemented with "Alimentadores buses". They let people have the easiest access to the "portales" so that passengers can get a Transmilenio.

The system will cover the entire city in 2016. It is the biggest bus expressway system in the world and one of the few urban transportation systems to be able to support its operation through fare collection, though the infrastructure is subsidized by the government.

Goods and Services

Bogotá is the hub of bussiness for Colombia. It has a busy banking and insurance sector and a Stock Exchange, provides engineering for many regions of Colombia and Central America, houses the central government institutions and military headquarters of Colombia, carries the weight of telecommunications and has the biggest industrial facilities in the country.

Some goods are flower and emerald market; fashion and beverages industry, such as beer, juice and soda; building products like cement and bricks. You can visit and find so much information about Bavaria´s group in Bogotá.

Some services are public and others are private. The public services are for example energy, sewer and phones. For paying energy and sewer Bogotá is clasified for stratus according to the place where you live. If the stratus increase the cost increase too. So, highest stratus subsidizes the lowest. You can get a phone line for your house or company from the "Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá" (ETB), a state-owned company, or you can do it from other few private providers. There are also public payphones on streets, coin operated ones being almost entirely replaced by card phones. Cards can be purchased easily at every drugstore or small grocery shop. But there is also another system to use if you need making a call and those places are called "cabinas telefónicas" or "locutorios". In those you can call wherever you want as if you were at home, then according to the time you pay. Another common aspect in Bogotá is that many people have mobile phones. There are (as of may 2005 three main operators of wireless phones: Movistar, Comcel and Ola. For additional information check , or


Bogotá has one of the biggest urban parks in the country, the Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park, center of a recreational hub that includes the Botanical Gardens of Bogotá, the headquarters of Coldeportes (the national sports authority), the recently finished Virgilio Barco Library.

There are many parks in Bogotá, many of them provide free different venues organized by the mayor of Bogotá, such as concerts, plays, movies, storytellers and other activities. "El Tunal" park, for instance, is a big park which is regularly used to stage free concerts (such as the anual Rock al Parque, a free festival in which new and popular latin rock bands play for free). The park is also frequented massively in the month of August and used for kite flying, a national tradition.

Another public park is The National Park, which is one of the biggest in Bogotá (it certainly is the biggest one north of the downtown area). The park has many trees and plant life, as well as ponds, games for children, many regular and bicycle paths, and venues for free entertainment such as public screenings of movies and free concerts and events organized by the Mayor of Bogotá. It is located between two main streets, the Circunvalar Street and the 7th Street.

The Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden) is a private park. Thousands of people go to visit it in order to enjoy environmental field. This is a research study center, which focuses on the "Flora Andina y la Sabana de Bogotá". It provides woods and hothouse with different plants with different weathers. The park has a waterfall and labs for making plants and flowers studies. Besides, this place gives public services such as library, toilets and a tourist information desk. There are many other public parks around the Bogotá-city. Parks in the neighborhood. It is necessary that each neighborhood has its own park. Some of these parks are private and others are public. Some private parks demand that people from the neighborhood have an own card to be able to get in the park. It is not allowed to take animals to the park. Public parks are for everybody. Some of them have watchmen and are totally covered. These parks has a poly deportivo, which provides sport programs for children and adults. Programs such as volleyball, basketball, taekondo, football soccer, and other sports.

The Florida Park is other public place. There are animals such as ducks, horses. This park is very broad. There is a big lake and you can have a trip by boat. Most of the time people visit it on Sundays because you can share with your families and cook there. There are suitable places to cook with carbon. The park has a place where you can rent a horse to have a ride inside the park. On sundays, even on Saturdays there are motorcycles events. Many people go not only to see them but also to to have fun or to do different activities. In this place there is a parking lot. It is not necessary leave the cars outside the park.

Bogotá has not only natural parks but also amusement parks like Mundo Aventura and Salitre Mágico Park. Those parks are private; however, everyone can go. There is a special rate to get into these parks and people have to buy tickets to be able to play mechanical games. Mundo Aventura park has mechanical games such as skycoaster, ruler coaster, hammer, and other adults games. For children there are some mechanical games like little ruler coaster, carrusel, turtles, and so on. In this park, people can find amusement and a natural place, which is called Panaca. In this place there are different animals such as goats. Children can feed them. Besides, there is a "Cerdodromo", which is a place where pigs make races.

The other amusement park is "Salitre Mágico", which is one of the entertainment centers for children and adults. The are many mechanical games like pirate ship, apocalypsis, ruler coaster and others games. The park is next to the Simón Bolívar park, which is a well known place in Bogotá.

For relax and finding peace inside the stress of the city life, the Parque del Chicó, with centenary trees, gardens, artificial creeks and ponds, and a colonial style house converted into a museum, is worth a visit.

Near the city, to the north, the Jaime Duque park offers a cultural encounter to the visiting families. It has rides, a giant Colombia map, exhibitions and a zoo. A big hand holding the world symbolizes God, and an actual-size reproduction of the Taj Mahal provides a picture collection with reproductions of famous paintings.


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