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Tunja Overview


Tunja is on the main highway heading north from Bogotá (135 kilometers/81 miles) to Santa Marta on the Atlantic coast (three toll booths en route Bogotá-Tunja) and situated on a high-altitude plateau surrounded by mountains. It is the capital of Boyacá Department, whish in the Muisca language means "Land of Blankets" or "Royal Mantle." Some Colombians may tell you there's nothing to see in Tunja, but you'd be surprised. The city has preserved its colonial past and as what many purport to be the only surviving founder's house in all Colombia (some say all of Latina America), the Casa del Fundador Gonzalo Suárez Rendón. Many of the Catholic temples share a gold-leaf-on-red motif, most stunningly displayed in the Iglesia de Santo Domingo. Santa Bárbara church houses works embroidered by Juana la Loca, the "mad" mother of Spanish emperor Carlos V. A few fragments of the Muisca indigenous culture remain. The most important part of Tunjano history, however, is the Wars of Independence; 15 kilometers (8 miles) south is where the monumental Batalla de Boyacá was fought, after which the Viceroy of Nueva Granada knew the end of Spanish domination was at hand.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

17 Dec 2007

VIVA Colombia

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