Location: Standard Park, at the crossing of 16th Street and Carrera 5
Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Preferred Timings: Sundays and Public Holidays — 10 am to 4 pm (last exit at 5 pm)
Tuesday to Saturday — 9 am to 6 pm (last exit at 7 pm)
Closed on Monday, 1st January, Good Friday, 1st May, 24th December,
25th December, and 31st December.
Admission Fee: Adults — Col $2.70; Children within 12 years and Adults over 65 — Free; ICOM Care Holders and members of Friends of the Banco de la Republica Art — Free; Entrance is free on Sundays
Photography and Video Filming Charges: Allowed and free
How to Reach: By road — take a Las Aguas bus and get down at the crossing of Jimíénez and 7th Avenue; alternatively take a taxi
Parking: Supervised parking available at Carrera 5 nos. 16-35.
Nearest International Airport: El Dorado International Airport in Bogota
The time required for sightseeing: 2 hours
History has it that it was the lure of gold that dragged the Spanish conquistadors to the American coasts, and took them to the very ends of extortion and cruelty. The legends said that the Incas had a wealth of gold way beyond the imagination of the Europeans. The colonizers failed to find them all, some of the secret places will never be disclosed, and will forever stay secret. However, you can get a taste of the inexhaustible wealth of gold of the pre-Hispanic Columbians at the Gold Museum in Bogota. It has the world’s largest display of gold in the form of ornaments, coins, artifacts, and daily use items. Gold in Colombia was just another metal comparable to copper or aluminum. Its use was widespread reflecting its abundant availability. Not until the arrival of the Spaniards in the 15th century did the local Hispanic Indians understand the worth of this bright yellow metal. In no other museum in the world, you get the rare opportunity to see more than 36,000 items of gold on display.
Banco de la Republica Gold Museum established in 1939 traces the importance of gold in the life of local inhabitants for the last 2500 years. Be prepared to be baffled by the huge collection of gold items that seem to float in air within glass showcases. All items have been described in detail by tests placed alongside each of them. Rent a guide who gives you a fuller description of each of the displayed items. Spread across four galleries, namely, i) The Working of Metals, ii) People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia, iii) The Offering, and iv) Cosmology and Symbolism, exploration becomes convenient. At ‘The Exploratorium’, you can express your views about the museum and its diverse collections.
You have to see to believe the effort put behind creating each of the items on display. In the ‘Working of Metals’ section witness how metallurgy invented in various parts of the world at different times changed lifestyles and human endeavors. In this section, you will be awed to see a golden sea snail crafted during the Yotoco Period (200 BC — 1300 AD). This golden sea snail was crafted by pressing seven thin sheets of gold one on top of the other on to a sea snail with the joints being made with small clips.
Gold became an accepted metal to the Pre-Hispanic Columbians 2500 years earlier. In the gallery ‘People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia’, you will become familiarized with ancient cultures and customs of tribes that lived in the Andean tracts, and the coastal regions of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Artifacts from Tumaco (Pacific Coast), Calima (Lake Calima), and San Augustin and Tierradentro (Upper Magdalena) regions reflect local cultures. Diadems and ‘alcarrazas’ (twin spouted containers) from Upper Magdalena, masks and breastplates from Calima, and delicate ornaments from Tumaco are typical such examples.
In the ‘Offering’ gallery you will discover that Pre-Hispanic people in Colombia used gold more for religious purposes rather than a decorative metal. ‘Shamanism’ the belief of the local inhabitants used gold representations extensively. Walk into the exhibition room on the 3rd floor and study the religious art of the Pre-Hispanics in a semi-dark environment. Examine the ‘Musica Raft’ which symbolizes El Dorado myth. According to tradition, the tribe chief or ‘shaman’ made offerings to restore equilibrium.
In the ‘Cosmology and Symbolism’ gallery discover masterpieces in gold crafting. Local belief says that creators at the beginning of time provided people with whatever they needed for surviving. Each of these things is interconnected and collectively gave rise to symbolic representations. All these symbols and figures are placed inside vaults.
Before coming out of Bogotí¡ Gold Museum, sit through a son et lumií¨re show. A wall opens up and you enter a zone of bewilderment and fantasy. This experience is bound to remain with you until your last breath.
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=mFKxjthxvzc: For a glimpse of the great gold collection at the Bogota Gold museum, watch this video! It is bound to take your breath away.