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The Bolivar Square, a symbol of the founding of Bogota, is a witness to history, events and characters that century after century have contributed to the development and growth of the city. In the center of the square stands the statue of General Simon Bolivar, sculpted in bronze by artist Pietro Tenerani, a famous artwork that further embellishes this iconic place. It was declared a National Monument in 1994, Surrounding the Plaza de Bolivar are the Primary Cathedral (Catedral Primada), the Palace of Justice (Palacio de Justicia), the Palacio Liévano (City Hall) and the National Capitol, © Carreras 7 and 8 with calles 10 and 11.

History of Bolívar Square

The square, first singled out by the founder of Bogota, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, in 1539, was then known simply as the Main Square. The revolutionary leaders, led by Jose Antonio Galan, were executed there, and the echo of the first cry for independence rang around it on July XX, 1810. The illustrious Camilo Torres, the journalist-scholar Manuel del Socorro Rodriguez, and the people’s heroine Policarpa Salavarrieta were later executed there as well. In 1819 the crowds received Bolivar and his men in the square, after the great victory in the Battle of Boyaca, the culmination of the War of Independence.




In 1821, it was called Constitution Square, but by the I850’s, popular sentiment renamed it in honor of Bolivar. Originally there was a fountain, in the middle, called “Mono de la Pila”, a traditional and popular meeting place for the local inhabitants. Burnt down in 1881, it was removed to make way for an English-style garden. The statue of Bolívar liberator of what were now five nations, was the first public monument in the city, given to him by his great friend Jose Ignacio Paris, who commissioned its creation to the Italian Pietro Tenerani. In I960 the square was remodeled to its present form, in honor of the 150th anniversary of independence. Around it are examples of almost every architectural style to be found in Bogotá: the Colonial Museo 20 de Julio and Casa de los Comuneros; the XIX-Century cathedral, Capilla del Sagrario, the Congress building; the early XX-Century San Bartolome, Cardinal’s Palace, the Lievano building; and the Palace of Justice, rebuilt in the I990’s.



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