March 13, 2012

0145 COLOMBIA (Cundinamarca) – Environmental Axis and Monserrate Mountain

In 1536 Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada has left Santa Marta and the Caribbean coast with 500 soldiers in search of El Dorado. They haven't found the Lost City of Gold, but the survivors, 70 in number, arrived at Bacatá, center of Muisca civilization, where they founded, on August 6, 1538, an urban settlement which they called Santa Fé de Bacatá, as the birthplace of the conquistador and indigenous village name. It had received the modern name of Bogotá after the establishment of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (1717), and became one of the most flourishing city of the Spanish occupation. With independence, Bogotá became the capital of the Gran Colombia (1819), and later the capital of the Republic of Colombia (1886). Now it has nearly 7 million inhabitants and is known as the Athens of South America, because of its numerous universities and libraries.

In the postcard is depicted Avenida Jiménez de Quesada, a major artery running through the historic city center, and constitutes the border between the localities La Candelaria and Santa Fe. It’s also placed on one of the main routes (Norte Quito Sur or N.Q.S. for short) of TransMilenio, a bus rapid transit system deployed as a measure to compensate for the lack of a subway or rail system. TransMilenio combines articulated buses (one of them can see in the picture), that operate on dedicated bus roads (busways), and smaller buses (feeders) that operate in residential areas, bringing passengers to the main grid.

Between 1997 and 2001 has been achieved a recovery project of the public space of downtown, El Eje Ambiental (Environmental Axis), designed by the architects Rogelio Salmona and Luis Kopec. This project transformed basically the Avenida Jiménez in a large walking path along the river channel for San Francisco, wooded with native flora. On the left can be seen Parque de los Periodistas (Journalists's Park) with the Templete del Libertador (Temple of the Liberator), designed by Pietro Cantini in 1883, and the statue of Simón Bolívar, made by Gerardo Benitez in 1973.

In the background can be seen Monserrate hill, named after Catalan homonym mountain Montserrat. Actually is a mountain (3,152m above the sea level), but considering that Bogotá it’s the third-highest capital city in South America (after La Paz and Quito) at 2,625m above sea level, Monserrate seems a hill. On its top is a church (built in the 17th century) with a shrine, devoted to El Señor Caído (Fallen Lord). The hill is a pilgrim destination, as well as a tourist attraction, and can be accessed by aerial tramway, a funicular or by climbing.

The stamps (unfortunately stuck on the edge of the postcard and exceeding it, as on the first postcard) are of two types. The first on the left, depicting Manuela Beltrán Archila,  is part of  the set Heroínas de la Independencia (Heroines of Independence), about which I wrote here.

About the three identical stamps on the right, which overlapping, I couldn't find any information this time either.

sender: Aleja (direct swap)
sent from Bogotá (Colombia), on 28.11.2011

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