What is the Capital of Colombia?

Bogota Skyline cityscape in Bogota capital city of Colombia South America
Bogota Skyline cityscape in Bogota capital city of Colombia South America

Introduction

If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, or just brushing up on your geography, you are probably wondering where its capital is. You’re not alone if so, because many people don’t know the answer to this question!

The capital of Colombia is Bogotá, and it’s the biggest city in Colombia. There’s a north side and a south side, with most of the wealth on the north side. Bogotá is an amazing city to visit, and it’s very diverse and interesting. It’s found high in the Andes, and is full of highrise buildings. Its official name is Bogotá Distrito Capital (or Bogotá, D.C.).

With that in mind, let’s learn about the capital of Colombia!

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Where Is The Capital Of Colombia Located?

Where Is The Capital Of Colombia Located
Where Is The Capital Of Colombia Located

Bogotá is found in the Northern Andes Mountains, near the center of Colombia. The surrounding land is fertile and rich, and it stands on a plateau at around 8600 feet. It’s in the Andean Region, which runs from the southwest to the northeast, across the center of the country.

Bogotá attracts an enormous range of people, both to visit and to stay, and it’s an immensely diverse place. It is home to many libraries, museums, and theaters, and has a population of around 51 million individuals.

Brief History Of Bogotá

main square of Bogotá
main square of Bogotá

Bogotá has had many different names and designations in its long history, but it has always been a place of great importance, and treated as a central point, if not a capital.

Before it was taken over by Europeans, this site was a main seat of the Chibcha Indians, and was known as Bacatá. In 1538, it was taken over by the Spanish, specifically by a man named Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. At this point, its name was changed to Santa Fé de Bacatá, and this soon became mispronounced as Bogotá. 

The city became a central hub for Spanish power, and it then became the seat of government for the Spanish Royal Audiencia in 1550. In 1717, it was made the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The citizens revolted between 1810 and 1811, but Spanish power remained until 1819.

The Battle of Boyacá saw the control swap to Simon Bolívar, and Bogotá was established as independent from Spain at this point. It then became the capital of Gran Colombia in 1821; this was a confederation under the control of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. 

The confederation only lasted for 9 years, but Bogotá remained the capital of New Granada, and stayed as such when this then became the Republic of Colombia.

When Did Bogotá Become The Capital Of Colombia?

Panoramic aerial view of downtown Bogota Colombia on a beautiful golden sunset
Panoramic aerial view of downtown Bogota Colombia on a beautiful golden sunset

Bogotá was a key city in the area from the 1500s, but it officially became Colombia’s capital city when Colombia gained independence from Spain in 1821. It couldn’t have been the capital before this point, but it’s clear that the city was of great importance for centuries before Colombia was founded. 

Colombia has never had another capital city, although there were some administrative changes during the 19th century civil wars that challenged this briefly.

Why Is Bogotá The Capital Of Colombia?

It’s difficult to say immediately why the capital of Colombia is Bogotá, because this city is a long way from the sea – which is an obvious disadvantage. However, there are some reasons that it retained its importance even after Spanish influence had been withdrawn.

Firstly, the plateau is surrounded by fertile land, which the indigenous Indians were able to turn into a valuable resource, bringing wealth and people into the city. The community was known as the Muisca, and we can still see the impact of their work in today’s world.

Interestingly, Colombia’s capital couldn’t be changed without a constitutional amendment, because it is also the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, and its capital is laid out by the national constitution. It is therefore very difficult for the capital to be changed, even if there was a desire to change it.

Bogotá also has the advantage of an excellent road network, bringing together the rest of the country. It does suffer from major traffic problems, but its position is a benefit as well as a drawback.

Best Places To Visit In Bogotá

If you’ll be visiting Bogotá, it’s crucial to know what the top sites and activities are, so let’s look at this next. 

First, you might want to try checking out the Gold Museum, which is filled with artifacts from the pre-Hispanic era, and which will teach you a great deal about how the people mined for and shaped metals. The entry fee is small and the museum is stunning.

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is also a must-see, although it’s about an hour outside Bogotá. It’s an amazing cathedral, carved into a salt mine. It’s full of beautifully lit crosses and extraordinary carvings, and it’s absolutely enormous, spanning about 180 meters.

Alternatively, check out the Laguna de Guatavita, a little way north of Bogotá. This is a breathtaking landscape that is thought to have inspired the story of El Dorado, and it’s a very important area for indigenous people here.

If you’d rather stay in Bogotá itself but you still want to see a bit of nature, the Parque Central Símon Bolívar is a wonderful place to visit. It has a lake where you can boat, plus plenty of nature trails. In the summer, you can see open-air performances on the stage, which attracts some famous bands. This park is always buzzing with activity.

For those who love theater, the Teatro Colón is an excellent stop. It was built in the 1800s and offers some wonderful shows in an atmospheric, stunning building. You’ll see concerts, plays, and operas, skillfully presented in ways that are truly magical. The theater is similar to the Parisian Palais Garnier, although considerably smaller.

Conclusion

Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, is certainly not a city to miss if you’re traveling. It’s a vibrant, unusual, busy place, with so much to do that there’s no risk of getting bored. Totally unique and surrounded by amazing views, it should be high on your bucket list!

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!