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colonial cities
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Friday, 10 May 2019

For once, this article is not completely chronological. As a matter of fact, here in Colombia, the colonial cities are to be found everywhere : at the foot of the mountains, in the jungle, in the desert or on the coast! Each one has its particularities, but they are all built around a shaded central square, a church and make the colombians proud!

 plaza villa de leyva plaza villa de leyva

The first city we have seen is Popayan, andean city close to the cloud forest. It is a very important religious center with many churches and chapels. One of the biggest and most famous procession of Colombia takes place here during the holy week.

Popayan Popayan

Santa Fe de Antiochia, half way between the central cordillera and the caribbean sea, boast distinctive immaculate small colored houses and an average temperature of 26°C all year round. We liked its small flowered squares and its big baroque cathedral. No wonder it is a top weekend destination for inhabitants of nearby Medellin.

Santa Fe 1 Santa Fe 1 Santa Fe 2 Santa Fe 2

Mompox, built in 1539 far inland on the Magdalena river, was the biggest deposit of gold and silver for the conquistadors, away from the pirates of the caribbean sea, but connected the the sea and Carthagena by the river. The city is still rather isolated on an island in swamp area, and has kept more authenticity. Even some lazy iguanas walk around the main square. The city looks out of time, but sadly, the heat and humidity there is intense and the mosquitoes plentiful.

Mompox 1 Mompox 1 Mompox 2 Mompox 2

Mompox 3 Mompox 3 Mompox 4 Mompox 4

Mompox 5 Mompox 5

Playa de Belen , north of the eastern cordillera, impressed us with its white buildings, and the rock formations around the city made by erosion, which can stand the comparison with some north american canyons.

Playa de Belen 1 Playa de Belen 1 Playa de Belen 2 Playa de Belen 2

Barichara, near the pretty Chicamocha canyon, is a relaxed city with orange cobbled street and white houses. We walked around the city on the “Camino real”, an old historical trail, enjoying the nice weather before going to the national park “El Cocuy” and the fresh air at its 4500m.

Barichara 1 Barichara 1 Barichara 2 Barichara 2

Barichara 3 Barichara 3 Barichara 4 Barichara 4

In Villa de Leyva, we stopped a while, enjoying the numerous cobbled streets. We cycled just outside the city to the “Pozo azules”, small lakes of turquoise water in the middle of the desert, and found in some back street of the city a french bakery!

Villa de Leyva 1 Villa de Leyva 1 Villa de Leyva 2 Villa de Leyva 2

Villa de Leyva 3 Villa de Leyva 3

The most impressive of all this cities being of course Carthagena, but we talked about it before!


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