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Bogota or Santafe de Bogota travel guide — Bogota or Santafe de Bogota tourism and travel information

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about Bogota or Santafe de Bogota

Bogotá (known officially in Spanish as Bogotá D.C. (Distrito Capital)) is a city of 7.7 million people and the capital of Colombia.

At an altitude of 8,660 feet (2640 meters) above sea level in the Cordillera Oriental of the Northern Andes Mountains, Bogotá is situated on a sloping plain at the base of two mountains, Guadalupe and Monserrate, upon whose crests stand two imposing churches.

Several small streams, one of which, the San Francisco, passes through the city, unite near the south-western extremity of the plateau and form the Rio Funza, or Bogotá, which finally plunges over the edge at Tequendama in one of Bogotá's biggest tourist attractions: a beautiful, perpendicular waterfall of about 475 feet (145 meters). The climate is mild and temperate, the average annual temperature being about 58°F (14°C) and rainfall about 44 inches (110 cm).

The city is laid out in a grid, with numbered carreras intersecting numbered calles. Several squares are located in the city, including the Plaza Bolívar, where some of the important public buildings and churches are located. Bogotá is connected by road to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Colombia, to the north and west, respectively, as well as to all other major cities of Colombia. The Pan-American Highway and the Simón Bolívar highway both pass through the city. The city is served by El Dorado International Airport. The TransMilenio transportation system is the most modern form of public transit serving the city.

Bogotá has traditionally been a major center of art, culture, and learning for northern South America. Sometimes called the "Athens of South America," Bogotá is home to several excellent universities, including the Los Andes University, The National University of Colombia (1830), The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Xavier Pontifical University) (1622) and the University of Santo Tomás (1580). In addition to the Gold Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts, there is also a museum of natural history, a planetarium, and several modern art galleries.

Bogota or Santafe de Bogota history

Bogotá, called Bacatá by the indigenous Chibcha, was the center of their civilization before the Spanish conquest, and sustained a large population. The European settlement was founded in 1538 by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada 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 viceroyalty of New Granada, and the 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 citizens contended with Spanish military loyalists, who controlled the city until 1819, when Simón Bolívar captured the city after his victory at Boyacá. Bogotá was then made the capital of Gran Colombia, a federation combining the territories of modern Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. When that republic was dissolved into its constituent parts Bogotá remained the capital of New Granada, which later became the Republic of Colombia. In August 2000 the capital's name was officially changed (again) from "Santafé de Bogotá" to the more usual "Bogotá". The local government consists in a Capital District, the current chief of government is Luis Eduardo Garzón.

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