Plaza de Bolivar (Bolivar Square)

The Bolivar Square (Plaza de Bolivar) is located in the heart of historical center of the city. This area is where most of the government buildings are. The Bolivar Square is a great place to walk and admire colonial buildings, historic sites, old churches and the mountains in the background.

The Plaza was named after Simon Bolivar who was one of South America’s greatest generals.  His victories over the Spaniards won independence for Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.  He is called El Liberator (The Liberator) and the “George Washington of South America.”

To the East side of the square, you will find the Primary Cathedral of Bogotá, the seat of the Archbishop of Bogotá

To the north, you will find the Palacio de Justicia (Palace of Justice) home to the Supreme Court.  This building was attacked in 1985 by the M-19 guerrilla where they held the Supreme Court hostage, intending to hold a trial against President Belisario Betancur. Hours later, after a military raid, the incident left all the rebels and 11 of the 25 Supreme Court Justices dead.

On the west side of the square there is a French style building known as the Liévano building which is the seat for Bogotá’s Mayor.

To complete the square and to the South you will find the Capitolio Nacional (National Capitol).  It houses both houses of the Congress of Colombia.  The construction of the building began in 1876 and concluded in 1926.

Around the Plaza de Bolivar you will find other buildings and sites worth seeing.

Two blocks to the South, you will find the Casa de Nariño (Presidential Palace), built in 1908.  This is the official home and workplace of the President of Colombia.  It houses the main office of the executive branch.  This building carries the name of Nariño after being constructed on the site of the house where Antonio Nariño was born.  Nariño was an ideological precursor and one of the early political and military leaders of the independence movement in Colombia from the Spanish Empire.

One block South of the Plaza de Bolivar you will find the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé. A Jesuit, private and bilingual school, affiliated with the Society of Jesus of the Roman Catholic Church. The school was established in 1604, and clinched a special name in the country, teaching generations of distinguished Colombians.

Enjoy the walk!

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