Popayán, Colombia - Polarsteps
Nov. 1, 2022 - I spent 2 nights in Popayán (pop. 300,000). Popayán was founded in 1537 and still has many original historical buildings throughout the city center. It is famous for its many universities, one of which was founded in 1827. There have also been 17 Colombian Presidents from Popayán, as well as many famous poets, painters, and composers. UNESCO named Popayán their first city of gastronomy. UNESCO also declared the Easter week processions a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Patrimony of Humanity. These processions are documented all the way back to 1558.
"El Morro del tulcán" is an archeological site in the city. It is a pyramid without a pointy top. There is a rocky path that leads up to the top where a monument was built way back in 1937. Now, due to years of neglect and damage from no-gooders, there's not much left of the monument. The pyramid itself dates back to between 500-1600AC. While I was at the top of El Morro I saw a small group of teens and could here them speaking English. I walked over to them and introduced myself and they were glad to have a chance to practice their English with a native speaker. They were making a video interview for an assignment from their English class at school and asked me to help them.
The major city-center park/plaza is called Caldas Park, and it dates back to 1537, the year the city was founded. There is a statue in the center of the park, but over the years that centerpiece changed several times, the first being a 'trap' - where 2 men were beheaded.
The city clock tower was built between 1673-1682 and was built with 96,000 bricks. The clock was built in England and added to the tower in 1737. The 1983 earthquake damaged the original clock but it was restored by the same company that made the original clock hundreds of years before. But, since then it has again stopped working.
Humilladero Bridge, made of brick and masonry, was built in 1873 across a fault which is also a flowing stream.
The Iglesia de San Francisco was built in the 1500s but it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1736. The new church was built in the 1760s-1770s. The blessing of the church took place in 1787. Then the earthquake of 1983 did a fair amount of damage to the church but it was restored in the late '90s. The church bell was cast in gold and bronze. Inside and at the front of the church is the monstrance. The upper section of it is of gold and there are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls used for decoration.
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