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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Architecture in Colombia

My obsession with Colombian doors has already been documented so it should come as no surprise that I also admired the architecture in Colombia - from small to large and ancient to modern.

*Small in stature but large in patriotism - this house catches attention.

*Clay-tiled rooftops and indoor patios in Bogota

 *A house wrapped around a street corner in Bogota.

*Green windows and balconies pop against an orange wall.

*The school my grandfather attended. 

*An artistic looking house in Bogota.

 *A church...everywhere there are churches.


*Two different styles to two similar houses.

*A Colombian orchestra performs at the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center in Bogota - A recent architectural collaboration between Mexico and Colombia.

*Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota. This church was built in the 1800s and is now a national monument.

*El Capitolio Nacional is home to the Colombian congress. Also pictured are the infamous pigeons of the Plaza de Bolivar.

*El Palacio de Justicia is Colombia's Supreme Court. It stands directly north from the Colombian congressional building and west of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. This particular building doesn't have the neoclassical look of the rest because it's been rebuilt several times, most notably after the 1985 siege of the palace during which members of the guerrilla group M-19 held all members of the Supreme Court hostage in an attempt to overthrow the president. When the Colombian military raided to try and free the hostages chaos ensued and about half of the twenty-five judges were killed. Earlier that same year my parents had moved us to the United States so we stayed safely away from the bloodshed that ensued.

*The modern part of Cartagena all lit up along the beach at night.

*This is photo of a picture that was hanging in front of the elevators of our hotel in Cartagena. It shows people hanging out along the wall in the colonial part of Cartagena that the Spanish built to protect the city from invasion; hence one of it's nickname "The Walled City".


*The main entrance to the Old City of Cartagena is The Clock Tower. It also serves as a popular point of reference for visitors and locals alike.

*Church of Saint Peter Claver in Cartagena - Peter Claver was a Jesuit priest known as the Patron Saint of Slaves. His remains have been preserved since his death in the 1600s and can be seen inside the church, although it was closed both times we tried to enter.

*A statue of Pedro de Heredia - the Spanish conqueror who founded Cartagena -  stands in the Plaza de los Coches (where carriages were allowed to park) in colonial Cartagena.

*Another view of the colonial buildings surrounding the Plaza de Los Coches

The yellow wall below adds cheeriness to an otherwise somber building - The Palace of Inquisition - in which the Catholic church used torture to convert "infidels" into the holy way of The Lord.


To Wit:

*El Aplastapulgares - The Finger Smasher 



 *El Desgarrador de Senos - The Breast Ripper (shudder...)

 
*A list of questions the priests and their henchmen would ask to decide if one was a witch or warlock: "What demons and people attended your wedding?; Are you flying so fast?; Why does the devil strike you blows at night?".

*Old bells from centuries ago, a wooden balcony, and white beams.

*Heredia Theatre - Opened in 1911








*Colorful balconies growing with flowers and vines, like these, were ubiquitous inside Cartagena's Old City

 *Even the old buildings with walls that were succumbing to weathering and needed new paint jobs were still breathtaking.






You can't visit Cartagena without seeing their most important architectural design: The old fortress - The Castle of San Felipe de Barajas, which is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

*An enormous Colombian flag greets visitors to the fortress, which the Spanish slave's began constructing in 1536 and later expanded.



*The castle's location on top of a hill gives it a commanding 360 degree view of Cartagena, including the bay, which made the fortress particularly dreadful.



In Medellin - a city we fell in so much love with that we are trying to convince my parents to live there when they retire - we saw some really cool architecture, too; more on the modern side than what we'd seen before. Just another sign of how progressive the city has become since it's time under the power of Pablo Escobar.

*The Orquideorama, in Medellin's Botanical Garden, was designed by three Colombian students of architecture, and, according to The New York Times: "a towering wood mesh work canopy rising 65 feet above a latticed patio. Its 10 hexagonal flower-tree structures, collecting fresh rainwater and woven together like honeycombs, shelter an orchid collection and butterfly reserves. The canopy is at once formally economical and spectacular."





*A large, arguably ugly but still interesting, building in the Plaza Botero of Medellin.

*View of Spain Park Public Library through the cable car windows.




*Spain Library was built in 2006 and designed by architect Giancarlo Mazzanti. It's located in the neighborhood of Santo Domingo, which used to be one of the most dangerous areas in Medellin. The library symbolizes the New Medellin. 

*The only metro in Colombia is in Medellin. It's safe, fast, centrally located, and easy to use. It's how we did the majority of our traveling within Medellin.



Unique to the Medellin Metro are it's Metro Cables - cable cars, or gondolas - used for public transportation under three different lines: Lines J, K, and L.

*Here I am waiting in line to board Metrocable Line L, which is mostly used for tourists who want to go up to Parque Arvi, which is a nature preserve located in the mountains of Santa Elena.

*From our cable car we get an extended view of suburban Medellin and it's Metrocable.

*More spectacular views of the city from our cable car.



*Before the Metrocable was created, the people who lived in the underdeveloped barrios of Medellin, like Santo Domingo where the Spain Library was built, had to walk for hours on their daily work commute. After a long day of work the last thing I would want to do is walk uphill for two and a half hours just to get home.


*Many tall brick buildings in Medellin like this one, which is where we rented an apartment for our short stay in the city.

Hope you enjoyed my take on Colombian architecture and thanks for stopping by my tiny cubicle in the gigantic world of blogs. Thanks also to Chris who provided many of these pictures whenever I forgot to charge my camera.

One last Colombia post to go and then I can finally move on!








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