Tour of La Candelaria the Fascinating Encounter of History and Legend
Bogota´s La Candelaria section begins at the foothills of the Monserrate and Guadalupe peaks, on the eastern part of the savanna. With only 181 hectares, it is one of the smallest localities in the city. Yet the size of La Candelaria, both as a locality and as a neighborhood, is at odds with the immeasurable historical archive and cultural inventory it preserves.
A good part of the events that marked the destiny of the city and the nation took place in this centric zone of the Colombian capital. Following the foundation of Bogotá in what is today the bohemian plaza of Chorro de Quevedo, there began the construction of sites and the parade of characters whose legacy is one of Bogota´s most important assets.
In Search of Characters
The Tour is a walk along the streets of La Candelaria as seen through the eyes of six characters who left their mark on many of Bogota´s events.
La Candelaria is an urban complex that begins on the mountainside and ends at the congested Carrera Décima, or Tenth Avenue. The streets of La Candelaria, all of which bear a number and a name, are home to a diversity of places, in most of which an important event took place or a character resided who became famous in the course of the years.
Precisely, it is the passage of time that has been in charge of confirming the existence of those characters or to make myths of several of them, all risen from cultural roots and oral tradition.
Nowadays the "Ghost Tour" follows the steps of the inhabitants of years past and recreates unlikely events and situations. It is a tourist strategy born from research, which collected a series of data - truthful and anecdotal - to transmit them in an original fashion to the area’s new wayfarers.
Some events and characters have been taken from books and are now represented live in the settings where history says they took place. The Ghost Tour is a walk along the streets of La Candelaria as seen through the eyes of six characters who left their mark on many of Bogota´s culture events.
A Dramatized Tour
The streets of La Candelaria, all of which bear both a number and a name, are home to a diversity of places, in most of which an important event took place or a character who became famous in the course of the years resided.
As a novel attraction, this promenade of Bogota´s historical center brings together the performing arts to accompany the traveler during his or her visit to the area’s landmarks. Here, theater is removed from conventional settings and brought to life by way of character monologues on streets and in houses.
This tourist and cultural proposal encourages the visitors’ imagination through a question inquiring what they think would happen if, all of a sudden, the characters, and even the heroes described in the city’s history, materialize before their eyes.
Six Characters Who Come to Life
Even more appealing is the fact that during these encounters with the past, there also appear fantastic beings whose existence has been recorded for one reason or another and have become part of the city´s identity.
The "Ghost Tour" is a marvelous walk that includes the company of characters like:
A lady from Quito, a revolutionary and feminist, lover of Liberator Simón Bolívar, and a companion in several of his feats.
Viceroy Juan Sámano
Last Spanish governor of the Nuevo Reino de Granada, who had to suffer the triumph of the Liberation Campaign.
Mysterious Doctor José Raimundo Russi
Defense attorney of the Bogotá artisans of the 19th century, who was shot at the Plaza de Bolívar under the regime of José Hilario López.
Heroine Policarpa Salavarrieta
Courageous women who participated actively in Colombia’s independence and whose acts of irreverence cost her her life in 1817 when she was shot by orders of Viceroy Sámano.
The celebrated ‘Loca Margarita’ (crazy Margaret)
A staunch detractor of the conservative party who spent her time cheering in favor of the liberals and sheltering humble people in her home.
Poet José Asunción Silva
A nineteenth century writer known for his novel De sobremesa and his poetic work Nocturno. He committed suicide in 1896 by reason of of being alone, broke, and afflicted by the death of his sister Elvira.
Those are the characters in charge of telling their experiences to whoever enters the settings that served them as homes, hiding places, refuges for inspiration, or confabulation sites for becoming heroes or villains.
This three-hour history review is also food for the imagination when incredible legends are heard about the following ghosts in the vicinity of the Chorro de Quevedo, the Plaza de Bolívar, the plaza of the Universidad del Rosario, and the 20 de Julio House Museum:
The shoed mule
Legend about a rider-less mule who walked at night on Calle 6 between Carreras 5 and 6, and whose disappearance coincided with the finding of the body of an old woman wearing worn-out horse shoes.
The headless priest
A myth, common to several American peoples, that tells about a headless priest who searched for her late at night in churches and cemeteries.
The goblin in the green coat
A mysterious character who wore a tight green outfit and silk stockings and used to wander in the house that belongs nowadays to the Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation.
The unkempt being of Las Aguas
Concerns a woman who was punished for daring to compare her beauty to that of the Virgin Mary.
La Candelaria is the district where Bogota´s history began to be written, while folk wisdom and rumors created a vast, interesting, and amusing wealth of fantasy.