The imposing cathedral on Plaza de Bolivar’s eastern end is the biggest in Colombia and one of the biggest in South America. A neoclassical masterpiece that would match almost any in Spain, it looms over the rest of the square like an old lord surveying his subjects. La Catedral Primada was erected in 1823 on the site of the city’s first humble church, when Bogotá was made up of a few simple houses. The city’s inaugural mass is also said to have taken place on the site in 1538. The inside is eerily solemn and surprisingly bare. Paul Theroux generalised Bogotá’s church interiors as “elegant…with a touch of voodoo”, and in the case of its cathedral, he was onto something. Apart from some paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, it houses one of the largest organs in Latin America and the tomb of the city’s founder, Jiménez de Quesada.
Things to see in Bogotá
The District Institute of Tourism of Bogotá
Carrera 24 No.40-66, Bogotá
Tel: (1) 217 0711.