Monday, March 23, 2009

Puente Boyacá -- Site of Colombian Independence

Would you travel to Paris and miss the l’Arc de Triomphe? Or how about Philadelphia and miss Independence Hall? Probably not! And yet many families miss out on seeing beautiful historic sights just outside of Bogotá. I am not really sure why. In blogs I see plenty of families travelling to Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral, but I have yet to see any blog I have followed record a visit to the site where Colombia won its independence from Spain. And this, in spite of the fact that it is only about 1-1 ½ hours from Bogotá in one of the safest parts of Colombia – Boyacá.

Here is a great idea for a day trip, and this comes from my personal BEEN THERE DONE THAT file. And lest you think the trip is too difficult, we made it with a 21 month old and a 5 year old in tow.

So, enjoy the next few days as I take you on a tour of the historical sites -- just outside of Bogotá.

You could plan to do all or part of the trip, or plan to stay overnight and make a weekend trip out of it. But, I really think it would be a tragedy to miss taking pictures with your child in these most important places in Colombian history.


Place #1 – Puente Boyacá (Boyacá Bridge)


Located about 120 kilometers outside of Bogotá, Puente Boyacá is the most important site in the Colombian battle for Independence from Spain. It was here that Simón Bolivar and his troops defeated the Spanish and the Spanish Royalists and won Independence from Spain – on August 7, 1819.

It is a lovely Park and National Monument site. There you will see the following monuments:

1. La Llama de la Libertad – The Flame of Freedom = the flame is to burn eternally and never be extinguished.

2. La Puente Boyacá – The Boyacá Bridge = a small bridge that spans the Teatinos River.

3. Monumento Von Miller – Von Miller Monument = a statue with 5 female figures (representing Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) holding up Simón Bolivar.

4. Francisco de Paula Santander Statue

5. La Capilla – the chapel = 4 Catholic masses are held here daily.

The Park also has Tourism Police that can tell you the history in Spanish, English and sometimes French, German or Italian (depending on which soldier is there on the day you visit).

For those of you who already missed your opportunity to visit, I am including photos that you can use for your child’s life book or country reports in school. Find more at FLICKR by typing in Puente Boyacá.

Also for you Spanish speakers, here is a video of a Tourism Police Officer telling the story I found on Youtube.

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