Visiting Colombia is an experience full of history and fun. There are many inspiring and captivating places you could go, and one of them is the mountain “Monserrate” located in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.
Monserrate is a place where you can live one of the most spiritual, recreational and cultural experiences of Colombia. From almost any spot of the city you can see the sanctuary of Monserrate. This is one of the most characteristic tourist sites of Bogotá.
How to get up there
Monserrate can be climbed in three different ways and each one has its own charm. The first way is by train or funicular, which ascends the mountain. This route has a great view of the ecological park of the eastern hills and the living nature that offers visitors a pleasant experience.
The second way to get up there is by cable car, hanging from a cable between Bogotá and the hill itself you can travel to this wonderful place. It is the most expensive way of transportation, but allows its passengers to appreciate a beautiful city view.
The third way of transportation is the stairs that can be climbed by foot. Many athletes also use it as a form of training. On your way up you will see athletes, pilgrims, residents and tourists who want to enjoy the experience of hiking. While ascending the mountain, you can enjoy the nature and the little shops with typical food such as: Tamales, hot cocoa with arepa, bread, almojábanas, and the most traditional of all, the “chicha”, a drink made with rice and milk.
A little history
When Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada chose the site to found the city of Santa Fe de Bogotá he was struck by the two huge hills that surrounded the large plain. Taking advantage of the mystery and the majestic presence of these mountains, he placed two large crosses at the top of one hill.
A century later, Juan de Borja, President of the New Kingdom of Granada, authorized Pedro Solís de Valenzuela, in 1640, the construction of a chapel dedicated to the Virgin “Morena de Montserrate”, whose sanctuary is located in Barcelona, Spain.
Pedro Solis, architect of this work, wanted to build more than a chapel there. He knew well that it was the right place for a monastery, which was finally completed in 1657. From that time, every day, thousands of believers climb as a penitential act the steps that lead to the sanctuary at the summit, while thousands of other tourists, athletes or curious people arrive by foot, funicular or cable car.
Around Monserrate and its sanctuary there have been woven a number of stories, beliefs and fabulous events that in one way or another have been transmitted orally and written from generation to generation.
Some say that the sculpture of the fallen Lord grows hair, and when they have taken it down to the city it weighs more than when they cut it. They also say that the couples who visit the Sanctuary never marry; however, others think that the Lord of Monserrate separates them if the relationship is not convenient, otherwise he unites them forever.
There are some people who say that the Sanctuary was built over a volcano ground that is asleep, and when it wakes up it will shake all of Bogotá. They say that the movement that the volcano will produce will be so strong that buildings will fall and people will have nowhere to go.
We could tell you more about the myths that are related to this amazing place, and assure that they certainly don’t stop thousands of tourists to come visit Monserrate every year!
The city view that Monserrate offers, the faith that its Sanctuary evokes and every stone that was put in place for that purpose, its pilgrims, its gardens and fountains, its gastronomy, its cloud forests, its sunsets, its starry nights and its majestic moon make the experience of visiting Monserrate very much unique.
Colombia is an amazing Latin America country full of great places to visit. If you want to live the experience of connecting with the culture and its people in a deeper level, we recommend that you take a Spanish course. And for that we invite you to check out Centro Catalina Spanish School, an excellent choice to learn Spanish in Colombia for a short period of time.
Our team is young and dynamic and ready to assist you with the best learning methods in a friendly atmosphere. If you want to immerse yourself in this wonderful Latin culture, speaking Spanish will make it happen. For more information please visit www.centrocatalina.com