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This peculiar building was initially designed as a prison by the English architect Thomas Reed. It became a museum in 1948 after some internal reconstruction. The exhibits, displayed on three floors, range from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary art. The ground floor has a display of archeology and ethnography and numerous artifacts that represent the culture of pre-Columbian societies. The first floor exhibits paintings, furniture and many other objects from the colonial and independence periods. The second floor focuses on the art works of the best-known Colombian painters, such as Botero, Obregón and Grau. Museo Nacional de Colombia (National Museum of Colombia) also organizes temporary exhibitions of well-known international and national artists. For a pleasant respite, take a seat in the cafe opposite the bookshop and enjoy a cup of Colombian coffee while looking through some of the fine art books on display.
The building was designed by Rogelio Salmona, an icon in the history of modern Colombian architecture. The museum offers a selection of 20th-century art. Its permanent exhibition focuses on Colombian painters and sculptors of the last 40 years. Traditional and contemporary art exhibitions are also regularly organised. The complex also has a small cinema that shows European and Latin American films.
With over 33,000 gold objects, the Gold Museum is one of a kind in the world. The artifacts on display reflect the genius and artistry of the Pre-Columbian societies. The museum is divided into different rooms; each one displays a selection of gold pieces, representative of the indigenous cultures of Colombia. The Salon Dorado room exhibits 8,000 gold pieces of astonishing beauty and the display throws light on the legend of El Dorado using a background of sounds and images. The bookshop carries a vast selection on Pre-Columbian cultures, art, architecture and natural reserves, as well as a selection of souvenirs and reproductions of the exhibited pieces. Guided tours in several languages are provided free of cost.
Cerro de Monserrate is very important to Bogotá. The white church built on the mountain summit, 3,200 meters high, dominates the cityscape. Pilgrims, devoted to the Señor Caído (a statue of Christ inside the church), visit to pay their dues. The mountaintop also offers the best panoramic view of Bogotá. There is a handicrafts market, cafés and a couple of excellent restaurants with both traditional and international menus, which stay open until midnight. You can get to the top by funicular or by cable car after paying the entry fee, or traverse the walking trail up the mountain free of charge.
Replete with buildings reminiscent of different architectural designs like Baroque, art deco and Spanish Colonial, La Candelaria delineates historical memories as it is the area where the city was originally founded. Walking along the street allows visitors to identify the Carrera Septima, originally a royal street. Behind Carrera Septima lies Plaza Bolívar, and on its left, Catedral Primada de Bogota. Strolling towards the hill takes visitors to a typical square, Plazuela de Don Rufino José Cuervo and on the next street, Iglesia de San Ignacio. Continuing down the same street, at the intersection between Calle 10 and Carrera 5, is the Teatro Colon, and to the other side is Palacio San Carlos. Two streets up is the Museo Militar (Military Museum), and the Camarín Del Carmen theatre, at the intersection between Calle 9 and Carrera 4. Towards the north, ambling visitors will find themselves surrounded by picturesque hills to their right as they emerge into Iglesia de la Candelaria and nearby is the Luis Angel Arango Library. On El Cajoncito Street there are also a lot of "chocolaterías" famous for their Bogotá hot chocolate.
The Bogota train is principally used to make tours of the Sabana. It departs from Sabana station on Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays at 8am, and from Usaquen station, in the North of the city, at 9am. The tour is from Bogota to Nemacon and back. Tickets must be booked 2 or 3 days in advance from the Sabana train station or from one of the offices located at Transversal 17 no. 98-17. The tour provides entertainment from a typical Colombian group of musicians called 'Papayera' and the train also has a restaurant car offering fast food. The train arrives in Nemocon at 11:45am. Passengers are free to explore and lunch in town. The return journey is at 2:30pm arriving in Usaquen at 5:15pm and at Sabana station at 6pm.
The Salt Cathedral is 48.28 kilometers (30 miles) north of Bogotá, in Zipaquirá, which is the largest salt-producing region since pre-Columbian times. Constructed in a salt mine that sits under the foot of a prominent Halite mountain in Cundinamarca, the cathedral first opened its doors to the public in the 1950s. The church is known for its lofty ceiling that stands around 82 feet (25 meters) high, and its main hall that can easily accommodate up to 10,000 people at a time. Its overall structure is divided into three different areas that are ornamented with an assortment of architectural features that depict the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ. The main altar is one of the church's most prized possessions which is guarded by a vivid sculpture of an angel sounding his bugle.