( ) – officially named Bogotá,
D.C. (D.C. for "Distrito Capital", which means
"Capital District"), formerly called Santa Fe de
Bogotá – is the capital city
of Colombia, as well as
the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 7.304.384
inhabitants as of 2009. Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which
includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had an
estimated population of 8,566,926. In terms of land area,
Bogotá is also the largest in Colombia, and its altitude (2,640
metres) makes it the third-highest major city in the world, after
La Paz and Quito.
its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as
"The Athens of South America". Bogota's constant growth and attempt
to establish itself as one of the world's most important cities has
not been unnoticed. In 2008, the World Cities Study Group and
Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom included the city in a list of World Cities ranked
by their economical, political and cultural developments.
Bogota is ranked as a World City in the same category as other
global metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Washington, Los
Angeles, Dubai and Berlin, and above others such as Boston, Miami
Bogotá was originally called "Bacatá" (which means “planted
fields”) by the Muiscas
. It was the center
of their civilization before the Spanish
colonized the area, and it sustained a large
population. The European settlement was founded on August 6, 1538
by Gonzalo Jiménez de
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 New Kingdom of Granada
, which was
then part of the Viceroyalty of
, and later of the Viceroyalty of New Granada
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 internal divisions
and the temporary return to power of Spanish military loyalists who
regained control of the city in 1816. In 1819 Simón Bolívar
liberated it after his
victory at Boyacá
. Bogotá was
then made the capital of Gran
, a federation combining the territories of modern
Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. When Gran Colombia was
broken up, Bogotá remained the capital of New Granada, which later
became the Republic of Colombia. See History of Colombia
In 1956 the municipality was joined to other neighboring
municipalities forming a "Special District" ( ).The Constitution of
1991 confirmed Bogotá as the Capital of Colombia, gave it the name
"Santafé de Bogotá", and changed the category from Special District
to "Capital District" ( ).
In August 2000 the name was officially changed back to simply
In 2009, Bogotá made a attempt to host the 2015 Pan American Games.
received 7 votes, losing to Lima, Peru and Toronto, Canada which received 11 and 33 votes
Bogotá is located on the east of the Savannah of Bogotá
Bogotá), 2640 meters (8661 ft) above sea level. Although it is
located in what is popularly called the "sabana", literally meaning
", the geographical site is
actually a high plateau
Andes mountains. The extended region is also known as "Altiplano Cundiboyacense
literally means "high plateau of Cundinamarca and Boyacá".
The Bogotá River
'sabana' forming Tequendama Falls
(Salto de 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
mountain range. Surrounding hills, which
limit city growth, run from south to north, parallel to the
Guadalupe and Monserrate
western city limit is the Bogotá
. The Sumapaz Paramo (moorland) borders the
south and to the north Bogotá extends over the mentioned plateau up
to the towns of Chía and Sopó.
Bogota has a Subtropical Highland
. The average temperature on the 'sabana' is 14.0°C,
varying from 3°C to 25°C. Dry and rainy seasons alternate
throughout the year. The driest months are December, January,
February and March; the rainiest are April, May, September, October
and November. June and July are usually rainy periods and August is
sunny with high winds. Hailstorms are common during the rainy
season, and can be very strong, especially in October.
Climatic conditions are irregular and quite variable due to the
climatic phenomena, which occur in and around the Pacific
basin and are responsible for very pronounced climatic changes.
Even with this fact, overall, all year days are mild or cool and
nights can get moderately cold due to the city having mild winds in
the night year round.
Urban layout and nomenclature
Bogotá has 20 localities, or districts, forming an extensive
network of neighborhoods. Areas of higher economic status tend to
be located to the north and north-east, close to the foothills of
. Poorer neighborhoods are located to the south and
south-east, many of them squatter
The middle classes usually inhabit the central, western and
north-western sections of the city.
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
(streets), which run perpendicular to the
Cordillera, with street numbers increasing towards the north, and
also towards the south (with the suffix "Sur") from Calle 1.
Carreras run parallel to the hills, with numbering increasing as
one travels east or west of Carrera 1 (with the suffix "Este" for
roads east of Carrera 1). Other types of roads more common in newer
parts of the city may be termed "Eje" (Axis), "Diagonal" or
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 Bogota's main roads,
which also go by a proper name in addition to a number, are:
- Norte-Quito-Sur or N.Q.S.
(North Quito South Avenue, from 9th road at north following railway
to 30th road Avenue, or Quito City Avenue, and Southern
- Autopista Norte-Avenida Caracas (Northern
Highway, or 45th road, joined to Caracas Avenue, or 14th road)
- Avenida Circunvalar (from
downtown following hillside on eastern hills going to La
- Avenida Suba (60th transversal from 100th
street to the Suba Hills; 145th street from Suba Hills
- Avenida El Dorado (El Dorado Avenue, or 26th
- Avenida de las Américas (Americas Avenue, from
34th street at east to 6th street at west)
- Avenida Primera de Mayo (May First Avenue, or
22nd south street)
- Avenida Ciudad de Cali (Cali City Avenue, or
- Avenida Boyacá (Boyacá Avenue, or 72nd
- Autopista Sur (Southern Highway)
|Source: Biblioteca Luis
The largest and most populous city in Colombia, Bogotá has
8,566,926 inhabitants in its metropolitan area (2009 census), with
a population density of approx. 3912 inhabitants per square
kilometer. Nowadays in 2009, it is estimated that the city house
about 7,362,520 and 8,566,926 inhabitants in the metropolitan area.
Only 15,810 people are located in rural areas of Capital District.
47.5% of the population are male and 52.5% women. The city has the
lowest rate of illiteracy in the country whichreaches only 4.6% of
the population older than 5 years old.
Public services have a high coverage, since 99.5% of households
have electricity service, while 98.7% have service of an aqueduct
and 87.9% have telephone communication. However, as the mission to
design a strategy for poverty reductionand inequality, 32.6% of
citizens were in poverty (living on less than 2 USD a day) in
In Bogotá, as in the rest of the country, the accelerating of the
urbanization process is not only due to industrialization, since
there arecomplex political and social reasons such as poverty and
violence which have led to migration from rural to urban areas
throughout the twentieth century. This has led to an exponential
growth of population in urban areas and belts of misery in their
surroundings. Adramatic example of this is the number of displaced
people who have arrived in Bogotá. According to the Consultancy for
Human Rights, Codhes, in the period 1999-2005 more than 260,000
people arrived in Bogotá as a result of displacement, about 3.8% of
the total population of Bogotá.
The majority of the displaced population lives in the Ciudad
Bolivar, Kennedy, Usme, and Bosa sections.
The composition of the city's population is of mestizo
origin (those of mixed Amerindian
and white European descent), in
addition to white European descent, mostly of Spaniard, Italian,
French, German, and other European ancestry. It has a very large
Middle Eastern population, made up mostly of Lebanese and Syrian
immigrants. The population of Colombians of African descent in Bogotá is smaller
than cities along the coast such as Cartagena, where Colombians, of African descent, have
Bogotá has gone to great lengths to change its crime rate and its
image with increasing success after being considered in the mid-90s
to be one of the most violent cities in the world. In 1993 there
were 4,352 intentional homicides 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. This success was the result of a
participatory and integrated security policy, "Communidad Segura",
that was first adopted in 1995 and continues to be enforced.
these figures remain far higher than equivalent US urban areas such
as Philadelphia, Washington and Atlanta, today Bogotá has a lower murder rate
than Caracas, and Rio de Janeiro.
the capital of the Republic of
Colombia, and houses the national legislature, the Supreme
Court of Justice, and the center of the executive administration as
well as the residence of the President of the Republic.
District Council – both elected by popular vote – are responsible
for city administration. In 2007 Samuel Moreno Rojas
was elected Mayor
for the period 2008-2011.
divided into 20 localities: Usaquén,
Fe, San Cristóbal, Usme, Tunjuelito, Bosa, Kennedy, Fontibón, Engativá, Suba, Barrios Unidos, Teusaquillo, Los
Nariño, Puente Aranda, La Candelaria, Rafael Uribe
Each of the 20 localities is governed by an administrative board
elected by popular vote, made up of no fewer than seven members.
The Principal Mayor designates local mayors from candidates
nominated by the respective administrative board.
Colombia's largest economic center (followed by Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla), and one of the most important in Latin America.
Its GDP of US$
86 billion, almost a quarter of Colombia's total
approximately 10,000 USD per capita, is the fifth highest
among cities in South
America. Most companies in Colombia have their headquarters in Bogotá (for example,
Bavaria, Avianca), it is the site of Colombia's main stock exchange.
is also a major center for the import and export of goods for
Colombia and the Andean Community
in Latin America.
Bogotá is the centre of Colombian
, and the city's industrial base include staples of the
, Compañía Colombiana
, and Ecopetrol
important industries include financial services, especially
. Bogotá is the headquarters of major
commercial banks, and of the Banco de la República
Colombia's central bank. Bogotá is a centre of printing
as well as of the national telecommunications network and has the
biggest industrial facilities in the country. Bogotá also houses
the central governmental institutions and military headquarters
, which represent
another major component of the city's economy.
The city is also a major convention destination with major
convention centres including Centro Ferial de Convenciones
Corferias, Centro de Convenciones y Eventos Cafam, Centro de
Convenciones Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, among others.
Energy and sewer bills are stratified based on the location of
owner's residence, with the intended purpose that wealthier
sections of society subsidize the energy bills of the poorer
sections of society. Telephone service is provided by both "Empresa
de Telefonos de Bogota (ETB) and three main operators of wireless
(owned by Spanish firm
(owned by Telmex
(co-owned by ETB, EPM and
Bikeways in Bogotá
Bogotá's growth has placed a strain on its roads and highways, but
within the past decade significant efforts to upgrade the
infrastructure have been undertaken. Private car ownership, despite
being under 27%, 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 Trasmilenio. 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 is supposed to be a deluxe
service and is not supposed 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
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
TransMilenio rapid transit system, created during Enrique Peñalosa's mayoral term, is a
form of bus rapid transit that has
been quickly and affordably deployed as an appropriate stopgap
measure to compensate for the lack of a subway or rail
TransMilenio combining 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
for short). Routes for
Suba Avenue and Southern Highway (Autopista Sur
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
than any public transport except taxis, and fares increase with
petroleum fuel prices. As of July 2009 the price of a ticket was
1500 (about US$
0.75); however, a single ticket
allows unlimited transfers until the passenger leaves the system,
and passengers travel on feeder routes for free. Transmilenio does
not yet cover some main routes, and buses are overcrowded.
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 licence-plate numbers during peak hours called Pico y placa
, "Car Free Days" on Sundays, a
massive system of bicycle paths and segregated lanes called
the removal of thousands of parking spots in an attempt to make
roads more pedestrian-friendly. Ciclorrutas is one of the most
extensive dedicated bike path
any city in the world, with a total extension of 303 km. It
extends from the north of the city, 170th Street, to the south,
27th Street, and from Monserrate
east to the Bogotá River
west. The ciclorruta was started by the 1995–1998 Antanas Mockus
considerably extended during the administration of Mayor Peñalosa.
Since the construction of the ciclorrutas bicycle use in the city
principal airport is El Dorado International
Airport, west of the city's downtown, at the end of
El Dorado. Due to its central location in Colombia and
in Latin America, it is a natural hub for domestic and
El Dorado is heavily congested, as it handles more passengers than
its optimal capacity. Work on a major expansion of El Dorado
airport started in September 2007. When completed, this will expand
capacity from the current 8 million passengers a year to 16
secondary airport, Catam, serves as a base for Military and Police
Aviation, also Guaymaral
Airport, for private aviation activities.
Urban and suburban railways
Colleges and universities
Saint Thomas Aquinas University.
It is the oldest Colombian university.
Known as the Athens of South America, Bogotá has more schools,
colleges, and universities than any other city in Colombia and a
scholarly tradition that dates back to July 13, 1580, when the
first university, Saint
Thomas Aquinas University
, was founded by the Dominicans
. On July 9, 1623 the Pontifical
Xavierian University was founded by the Jesuits
and on December 31, 1651 the Our Lady of
the Rosary University by Cristóbal de
largest university in Colombia, the Universidad
Nacional de Colombia, was founded on September 22, 1867.
by Universia found it to be the Colombian university producing the
largest number of scientific papers published in peer-refereed
publications in 2005, and the 45th most prolific in Latin
notable universities include the Universidad
Externado de Colombia, founded in 1886, and the University
of the Andes, founded in 1948.
According to a study by
the QS network, this is the only Colombian university ranked
amongst the top 500 of the world.
Bogota is host to endless cultural venues and acts across 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
- 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 Bogota Philharmonic is
the most important symphony
orchestra in Colombia, counting over 100 musicians and 140
performances a year;
- The Cristobal Colon
Theater, the Country's oldest Opera House, which opened in 1892
is home to the National Symphony Association's major act, the
Symphony Orchestra of Colombia ;
- Rock al Parque or Rock at the
Park, the most important open air rock music festival in Latin
America. Recurring annually, its rallying power 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.
Bogota has worked heavily in recent years to position itself as
leader in cultural offerings in South America, and it is
increasingly being worldwide recognized as a hub in the region for
the development of the arts.
of such work and recognition is the recent series of awards that
Bogota counts on its favor: in 2007 it was named World Book Capital by UNESCO, topping
other nominees for said year such as Dublin, Amsterdam and
Vienna. Bogota is effectively the first Latin
American city to receive this recognition, and the second one in
the whole Americas after Montreal.
The same year, Bogota was awarded the title
of Cultural Capital of Ibero-America
by the UCCI (Union of Capital Cities in Ibero-America), and it
became the only city to have received the recognition twice, after
being awarded for the first time in 1991.
Parks and recreation
There are many parks, many with facilities for concerts, plays,
movies, storytellers and other activities.
Bolívar Metropolitan Park" is a large park regularly used to
stage free concerts (such as the annual Rock al Parque, a festival in which new and
popular Latin rock bands play free of charge). Kites are flown in
- The public Parque Nacional (National Park)has many
trees and green spaces, ponds, games for children, many foot and
bicycle paths, and venues for entertainment such as public
screenings of movies and concerts and events organized by the
Council of Bogotá. It is
located between two main streets, the Circunvalar Avenue and the
Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico de Bogotá).
- The Children's
Museum of Bogotá (Museo de los Niños), is a science, technology
and art interactive museum specialized in attending children and
youngsters ages 2 to 19.
- "Parque de la 93" is located between 93rd and 93Ath street, and
12th and 13th avenue, and has day-time leisure activities and
nightlife. Several of the top restaurants and bars in the city are
in this park.
- There are restaurants and bars in the vicinity of a T-shaped
pedestrian strip dubbed "La T" (The T) at the corner of 82nd street
and Cra.12. More recently, restaurant activity has begun in the
"Zona G" (Gourmet Zone) in and around 67th and 70th Streets and
other locations including Usaquen in the north-east and La Macarena
- 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
- "Salitre Mágico" is another amusement park with rides and
attractions. The park is near the well-known 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.
- To the north 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
- Tourist train, on weekends a
sightseeing train, popular with Bogotá residents, runs to outlying
towns Zipaquirá, Cajicá and Nemocón along the lines of the former Bogotá Savannah Railway.
The route to Zipaquirá (famous for its salt cathedral) is
53 km long. Another line goes towards the north for
47 km and ends at Briceño.
Bogotá is known for its vibrant night life. It has a wide variety
of restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural activities to please
anyone's preference. There are numerous zones including the T,
Parque de la 93, Candelaria, Usaquen, Avenida Primero de Mayo and
Zona G among others. Places range from fine cuisine from all over
the world to night clubs that offer different types of music. There
is a curfew for most night places at 3:00am although some clubs
still operate after hours.
The flag originates from the insurgency movement against the
colonial authorities which began on July 20, 1810, during which the
rebels wore armbands with yellow and red bands, as these colours
were those of the Spanish flag
the flag for the New Kingdom of Granada.
In October 9, 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.
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 December
It contains a black eagle in the center, which
symbolises steadfastness. The eagle is also a symbol of the
, 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 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.
Bogotá's anthem lyrics were written by Pedro Medina Avendaño, the
melody was composed by Roberto
. The song was officially declared the anthem by
decree 1000 of July 31, 1974, by then Mayor of Bogotá, Aníbal Fernandez de
Twin towns — Sister cities
Bogotá is twinned
- "Secretaria Distrital de Planeacion", 
- German explorer Alexander von Humboldt was the first
European to call Bogotá "The Athens of South America" during his
visit to the city in 1802
- The World According to GaWC 2008
- Colombia Official Tourism Portal "Bogotá: a city for experiencing culture"
- Banco de la Republica "2008 Press Release" Retrieved Sept. 3 2009
- Museo Nacional de Colombia "History" Retrieved Sept. 3 2009
- Colombia Official Tourism Portal Theater Festival of Bogotá: The Largest Theater
Showcase in the World"
- Filarmonica de Bogota "Philarmonic Timeline"
- Ministerio de Cultura "Cristobal Colon Theater"
- Rock at the Park "15th Edition of the Concert is over"
- Scoop Independent News, New Zealand "Cultural Diversity Highlighted" 24 April 2007
- Sun Sentinel, FL "GIVE BOGOTA A TRY (NO KIDDING) CITY BOASTS ARTS,
CULTURE, SCENERY AND GREAT FOOD." Feb 26 2006
- Inter Press Service "COLOMBIA: Open Your Books, Please, Bogota"
- Noticias de Bogotá: Arte "ArtBo 2009 - Reportaje"
- UNESCO "World Book Capital City" 2007
- Universia "Bogota Ibero-American Capital of Culture for