History, Culture

Colombia is a multi-ethnical and multicultural country, where every region of the country has its own characteristics and traits that distinguish it from its neighbours; a great diversity of cultures have lived on the Colombian lands since before the arrival of the Spaniards. 

Photo taken at Lost City, by : Gavin Rough -Wikimedia

Some of the cultures that lived across Colombia were very advanced and sophisticated. Some inhabited the San Agustin zone, where stone monolithic statues were found, representing gods and warriors and pre-Columbian figures; as well as the hypogea (graves), the complex underground burial chambers of Tierradentro, in Cauca; or the lost city, stone city built by the Tayronas, an advanced prehispanic culture, whose jewellery legacy can be admired at the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) of Bogotá or the Tayrone Culture Museum of Santa Marta. Colombia has thousands of years of history before the conquest, and several places of the country still keep alive this Indian past.

Photo taken at Tayrona Park, by : Luis Perez -Wikimedia

More than 12 cultures inhabited the Colombian territory before the Conquest period and have left a legacy that allow us to imagine the high level of development those cultures reached; towns, stone roads, statues, funeral urns, refined gold and ceramic pieces are part of this heritage.

Photo taken at National Museum, by : MegavasCol -Wikimedia

Some of these cultures were noted for their works which impress visitors to the country in museums including the Gold Museum of the Banco de la Republica in Bogotá, the Archaeological Museum Casa del Marques de San Jorge in Bogotáthe National Museum of Bogota, the Quimbayan Culture Museum in Armenia, the Tayrone Culture Museum in Santa Marta and the Sinu Culture Museum in Cartagena.

Photo by : Luis Gomez

The Muiscas, located in the Cundi-boyacense Plat, were excellent farmers and their skills excelled in jewellery, pottery, mud and clay. The Quimbaya, Sinu, Tayrona and Calima cultures were also noted for their jewellery and pottery works.

Photo by : Luis Gomez

Europeans came from Spain with the Conquest and the Colony who, in turn, brought slaves from Africa. The mixture of races and cultures contributed to the different cultural events of the country in music, plastic arts, letters and literature, gastronomy, architecture, sculpture, film and photography.

Photo by : Luis Gomez

The foundation of towns began by the third decade of the XVI century. The settlers distributed the land, organised the salt, gold and emerald mines and introduced Christianity through the entire Colombian territory.


Photo by : Luis Gomez

We currently find cities throughout Colombia that have many well preserved pieces of historical architecture such as buildings, cobbled streets and churches, where we can imagine how they were back in time. You can find cities like Mompox, port on the Magdalena River, that was a trade centre and stately village; its architecture produced outstanding works like the Santa Barbara church or the Pinillos College.


Photo by : Luis Gomez

In Bogotá, the seat of the Spanish Government and of the High Ecclesiastic Hierarchy, we find places like the Candelaria neighbourhood  and its surroundings, where there are still preserved houses, churches and streets where we can appreciate artistic and cultural events of our ancestors. Popayan and Tunja preserve colonial neighbourhoods, churches, streets, squares and houses. Cartagena was one of the major trade ports between Spain and America, which is why we find forts built for its defence including the walled city, the historic centres, churches and squares; it has since been declared as a Historical Heritage of Humanity. Honda, a midpoint in the access of travellers and cargo toward Bogotá, retains part of its original architecture and its steep streets.