Colombia, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, is home to a series of colonial towns that seem frozen in time. These charming places, with their well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and historic squares, are true cultural treasures that represent the cultural heritage of the nation.
1. Santa Cruz de Mompox
Located on the banks of the Magdalena River, Santa Cruz de Mompox, or simply Mompox, is a colonial treasure that has withstood the test of time. Its historic center was declared a National Monument in 1959, and later in 1995, UNESCO granted it the title of World Heritage.
One of Mompox’s main architectural attractions is the Church of Santa Barbara, a jewel built in 1630 that stands as a monument to faith and history. In addition to its architecture, Mompox is known for its filigree, a goldsmith technique that brings exquisite craftsmanship to life.
2. Cienaga: Source of Inspiration for Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Cienaga, nicknamed “the capital of magical realism,” was the source of inspiration for Gabriel Garcia Marquez when writing his masterpiece, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” In 1994, this town was declared a cultural heritage of Colombia due to its historical and architectural richness.
The Templete of Centenario Square, a colonial structure inspired by Roman temples, is the icon of Ciénaga and was declared a National Architectural Heritage. Here, history and fantasy converge in a unique way.
3. Villa de Leyva: The Majestic Plaza Mayor
Recognized as a National Monument in 1954, Villa de Leyva preserves colonial-style architecture amidst beautiful rural landscapes. Its main emblem is the Plaza Mayor, considered one of the largest squares in South America, spanning 14,000 square meters of history and culture.
4. Guaduas: Integral Part of Colombia’s History
Guaduas, located near Bogota, has witnessed important moments in Colombia’s history. It is the birthplace of Policarpa Salavarrieta, known as “La Pola,” a heroine of Colombian independence.
The colonial houses of Guaduas, with clay tile roofs and bahareque walls, faithfully represent the image of a heritage town that has preserved its beauty and authenticity.
5. Jerico: Paisa Beauty at Its Finest
Jerico, one of the most beautiful towns in Antioquia, welcomes you with its narrow streets, colorful façade houses, and the warm Paisa culture of its people. Jerico’s central park is a living testimony to the coffee culture that characterizes the region.
In addition to its beauty, Jerico is famous for being the leading producer of “carrieles paisas,” iconic accessories of traditional Paisa fashion. It is also the birthplace of Saint Laura Montoya, a religious icon in Colombia.
These five Colombian towns, with their colonial charm and cultural richness, invite us to explore the depths of Colombia’s history and identity. They are treasures that deserve to be preserved and admired, not only by Colombians but by the whole world. In every cobblestone street and colorful façade, you can find the traces of a past that continues to live in the present.