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Central Bogotá's Neighborhoods


While Bogotá hasn't experienced waves of foreign immigration like many other Latin American capitals, the city's neighborhoods do have characteristic personalities, formed during the city's growth north and south from the historical center.

la_candelaria_street

A street of centuries-old buildings in La Candelaria, Bogotá's historical center.

Bogotá was founded in 1538 in the Plaza del Chorro in the La Candelaria neighborhood. For centuries, the city didn't extend much beyond what is now the historical center. But after about 1900, the city expanded rapidly, as peasants moved from the countryside, seeking new opportunities and fleeing violent political upheavals.

la_favorita_bldg

A handsome building in the once-wealthy La Favorita neighborhood in central Bogotá. Today, La Favorita is known for sales and repair of motorcycles.

During the early- and mid-1900s central Bogotá neighborhoods such as Los Martires, Santa Fe and La Favorita were home to the wealthy. The city exploded northward after the 1948 Bogotazo riots destroyed much of central Bogotá. Over the past century, as Bogotá's wealthy moved farther north, these neighborhoods have declined into disrepair and neglect, although some of the grand old homes remain.

teusaquillo

Cyclists pedal past a Dutch-style house in the quiet Teusaquillo neighborhood, once Bogotá's wealthiest.

Less than a century ago, the stately Teusaquillo neighborhood, with its grand Victorian and Dutch-style homes, was Bogotá's wealthiest neighborhood. Today it's a quiet, leafy neighborhood of residences, universities and small businesses.

la_merced_2

Londonesque houses in the La Merced district, which was built for British Petroleum executives.

La Merced, tucked in beside the Parque Nacional, looks and feels like a ritzy district of London. That's no surprise, since the homes here were built by the British Petroleum Company in the 1930s and '40s so that their executives would feel like they were back home. Today, only a few of the houses are still residences, while private universities, clubs, restaurants and offices use the buildings.

la_jugueteria

A restaurante in La Macarena, known for its dining, bars and art galleries.

The small La Macarena neighborhood above the bullfighting stadium consists basically of two streets, Carreras 4 and 5, populated with art galleries, bars and restaurants. It's known as hip and bohemian, although nobody could mistake it for New York's Greenwhich Village. La Macarena also has something unusual in Bogotá - lots of ethnic restaurants.

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