The colonial highlights in Colombia start with the capital
of Bogota and also with the Caribbean port city of Cartagena. Much of Bogota's
historic heart is in the colonial style and some of the most impressive buildings
from this time period include the Palacio de San Carlos, the Iglesia del Carmen,
Iglesia del Monserrate, and many other buildings in La Candelaria.
Cartagena is a great mix of Spanish and Caribbean in style
as the city blossomed as the major port during colonial times. This historic city
boasts a massive wall around the city as well as fortresses including Castillo de
San Felipe de Barajas (1600-1700s). These fortifications were needed to protect
the lands, the trade, and of course the city itself which boasts numerous colonial
buildings from the time. The Catedral de Cartagena (or the Cathedral of Santa Catalina
de Alejandria, 1612), the Church of Santo Domingo (1549), and the Convent of La
Popa (1609-1611) are the religious highlights, but a stroll around town displays
the numerous colonial houses, which add much depth to the city as many are brightly
painted in a style common in the Caribbean.
Despite the highlights of Bogota and Cartagena, the country is home to numerous
colonial structures and nearly every city founded during this time is home to at
least one building from this era. The towns of Mompox, Popayan, and Villa de Leyva
are all excellent examples of the colonial past.