Museo & Parque Arqueologico de Sogamoso
If you decided to spend the night in Paipa, before heading back to Bogotá, I have another recommendation -- The Museo & Parque Arqueologico (Archaeological Museum and Park). It is located about 40 minutes from Paipa in the city of Sun and Steel – Sogamoso.
The Indiana Jones of Muisca (Chibcha) culture is Eliécer Silva Célis (1914-2007). He was the principal pioneer of archaeological research surrounding indigenous groups in Colombia, and the leading expert on the Muiscas. He made some amazing discoveries. And like Indiana, he felt that Muisca artifacts belonged in a museum. So, he spearheaded the building of a Archaeological Museum and Park in Sogamoso.
Sogamoso was the religious capital of the Muiscas. Both the Zipa and the Zaque honored and worshipped there. The priest of Sogamoso had a great deal of power and on at least one occasion brokered peace between the two warring factions. Silva Celis therefore thought that Sogamoso was a logical choice for a museum.
Templo del Sol
The museum itself includes Muisca mummies, clothing, pottery, jewelry, and other interesting items including 3 actual shrunken heads. The park is a collection of reconstructed Muisca dwellings and the reconstructed Templo del Sol (Temple of the Sun).
You should plan to spend a couple of hours at the Museum and Park, and then you can head back to Bogotá – a trip that takes about 3 – 3 ½ hours. If you want a break on the way home, there are some great sights in Tunja also – about 1 ½ hours from Sogamoso – but that is a topic for another time.
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