Popayán Things to Do

  • some yellow adds the right spice
    some yellow adds the right spice
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  • the dome from below
    the dome from below
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    dean on in B&W
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Most Recent Things to Do in Popayán

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    Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 22, 2009

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    It is worh strolling past the early 20th century eclectic Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia, one of the few buildings in the centre of Popayán that are not painted white. Inaugurated in December 1927 with the presentation of Verdi's Troubadour. The 900 seat auditorium was restored in 1987 but retains a retro style. The project relied on the supervision of the engineer Luis Eduardo Ayerbe. The house reopened its door to the public in August 1998.

    Beautiful Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia is the scene of events, such as Festival de Música Religiosa, Semana de la Afrocolumbianidad and Encuentro Nacional de Tríos, among many others that take place here every day.

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    Capilla de Belén

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Capilla de Belén (Belén chapel) on top of a hill is a nice little church overlooking Popayan. You have to follow Calle 4 with Carrera 1 and then a pleasant path with trees and statues leads to the church. Dedicated to Ecce Homo, patron saint of the city, the church was built in 1681 by the wealthy and generous artisan Juan Antonio de Velasco. It once belonged to the Carmelite order. The original church was destroyed in the 1885 earthquake. One tower was damaged in the earthquake in 1925. During the restoration both towers were slightly changed.

    Its construction is simple and details of typical Spanish colonial style can be seen. The courtyard in front of the church offers a beautiful view of the city of Popayán and its surroundings.

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    Iglesia La Ermita

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    La Ermita, on the site of the first chapel established by Sebastián de Belalcázar, is the city's oldest standing church, dating from 1546. The church, with its simple white-washed exterior, is reached by ascending the incline of the street. This hermitage underwent restorations between 1860 and 1870. Works in the early 20th century changed the roof and façade.

    It features a plain single-naved chapel comprised of wooden pattern of raised lines. La Ermita is worth seeing for its fine altar which bears the image of an ancient Austrian two-headed eagle, and frescos that were discovered after the earthquake of 1983. The church is only open for mass.

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    Iglesia de San Jose

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Iglesia de San Jose is also known as Templo de la Compañia de Jesús (Temple of Jesus) because it belonged to the religious order. The church was created by the Jesuit Simon Schenherr and built in 1702 continuing the architectural guidelines of the Jesuits during the Baroque period in America.

    When the cathedral was destroyed in 1785, Iglesia de San Jose functioned as a cathedral. The church has undergone some changes, most recently in 1983. Painted yellow, it is one of Popayán's most distinctive structures. Unfortunately, it's only open for mass.

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    Iglesia de Santo Domingo

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Iglesia de Santo Domingo was built in 1741 after an earthquake destroyed the original chapel. Built in baroque style, the church is notable for the stonework around its doorway which depicts exotic flowers and animals, and for the image of Nuestra Señora del Rosario behind its altar, brought from Spain in 1588. The pulpit and the fountain are designed by the same great person of the era of the independence of Colombia, Francisco José de Caldas.

    In the 1983 earthquake the church suffered severe structural damage but is now completely restored. A former monastery next door now houses the Universidad de del Cauca. On Good Friday the procession leaves from this church.

    It is open daily 08:00am-07:00pm.

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    Iglesia de San Francisco

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Iglesia de San Francisco is Popayán's largest church and truly a masterpiece of colonial art. Destroyed in the 1736 earthquake and then reconstructed between 1775 and 1795, it was designed by Spanish architect Antonio Garcia. The beauty of the atmosphere, the soft light of the stained glass windows, the excellent paintings, statues and goldwork, every detail of its construction assure the visitor of an incomparable experience when visiting this church.

    Iglesia de San Francisco has baroque façade. Its tower was dedicated to San Antonio and it holds a 3-ton bell. The bright interior has a stunning gilded wooden high altar and a collection of seven side altarpieces. The church was severely damaged in the 1983 earthquake. Extensive renovation followed and it is now in remarkable condition.

    It is open daily 07:00am-07:00pm.

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    Parque Caldas - the Main Square

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Parque Caldas at Christmas time

    Shaded by tall palms, the main square in town is called Parque Caldas, after one of Popayán's most famous citizens, Francisco José de Caldas, the independence fighter whose statue is here. The 18th century Torre del Reloj, which faces the square, is one of the finest clock towers in the country. A few steps from here is Catedral de Popayán, completed in 1906. Around the park you find several banks, cafés (Juan Valdez, among others) and the main Tourist Office.

    Unfortunately, Parque Caldas was under heavy construction during the time of my visit so I could only vaguely imagine what it would look like. But by the lucky chance I was there during Christmas time so I could at least enjoy Christmas decoration at night which was quite nice.

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    Museo Guillermo Valencia

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    colonnaded 18th century building with the patio
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    Many of Popayán's museums are the historical homes of famous and admired citizens. One of them is the colonnaded Museo Guillermo Valencia, dedicated to the Popayán born poet, translator and politician Guillermo Valencia who once lived here. His son, Guillermo León Valencia, was Colombian president from 1962 to 1966.

    The gorgeous 18th century building is full of period furniture, paintings, old photos and documents related to the poet. In front of the house is a park where stands the statue of the poet. From the museum there is a nice view of Puente del Humilladero.

    The museum is open 10:00am-05:00pm Tue-Sun, closed noon - 02:00pm; admission was 2.000 COP (December 2008).

    Guillermo Valencia's poems

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    Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower)

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Next to the Cathedral on Plaza Caldas is an important landmark of the city, Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), built between 1673 and 1682. The clock was designed by Francisco José de Caldas and the mechanism brought over from England. It was installed on the tower in 1737. The clock operated through two lead weights, which were replaced by Antonio Nariño in 1814, because he needed lead for making the bullets for the War of Independence.

    As most of the important buildings in Popayan, Torre del Reloj was severely damaged in the 1983 earthquake. It was then completely restored. The clock stopped working and it was sent to London to repair. It was finally placed in la Nariz de Popayán (Nose of Popayán) as the poet Guillermo Valencia called it.

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    Catedral de Popayán

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 20, 2009

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    On Parque Caldos, the neo-classical Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (the Cathedral) is Popayan's newest religious building, built between 1859 and 1906 after an earthquake destroyed the previous church. Design and construction of the beautiful dome were the work of don Adolfo Dueñas. The cathedral was remodeled in 1953 and restored again in 1982. Severely affected in the 1983 earthquake, it is today completely reconstructed.

    The Cathedral is a testimony to the clean lines of Roman architecture. The whitewashed exterior is accented by columns with ionic capitals. The interior is painted in pale colours, from yellowish-white to light blue and grey, with gold details. A modern screen with textured gold background, depicting the Immaculate Conception, adorns the altar.

    It is open only for mass which is held several times a day.

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    Bridges

    by MalenaN Written Oct 22, 2008

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    Puente del Humilladero
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    At Carrera 6, across Rio Molino, there is a 178 metre long pedestrian bridge. It is a solid stone bridge with 12 arches and it was built in the 19th century. This big bridge is Puente del Humilladero. Next to it is the much smaller Puente de la Custoda. It was built in the 1713 to enable priests to visit the poorer areas on the other side of the river.

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    Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia

    by MalenaN Written Sep 8, 2008

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    Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia
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    In the corner of Calle 3/Carrera 7 is the beautiful Teatro Municipal, one of the few non white buildings in the centre. Construction of the theatre was finished in 1927. It can be worth to ask what performances there are in the evenings you visit. Unfortunately I didn’t think of that until I had left Popayan.

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    El Morro de Tulcán

    by MalenaN Written Sep 8, 2008

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    El Morro de Tulc��n
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    El Morro de Tulcán is a hill from where you can get a nice view over the city and the surroundings. It is situated only a few blocks north east of Parque Caldas. On top of the hill there is a statue of the towns founder Sebastián de Belalcázar. It is made by the sculptor Victor Macho.
    Excavations have showed that before the Europeans arrived this site was used for rituals and burials.

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    The Cathedral

    by MalenaN Written Sep 6, 2008

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    The Cathedral in Popayan

    The full name of the cathedral is Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. It is situated on the south side of Parque Caldas, the principal park. The cathedral was constructed between 1856 and 1906, which makes it the youngest among all churches in the centre. Earlier another cathedral was standing on the same site but it was destroyed in an earthquake. The present cathedral has also been badly damaged in an earthquake. The cupola fell to the ground in the earthquake 1983, but it is now completely reconstructed.
    The cathedral is only open for mass, but mass is held several times a day so the chance is big that you at one time will find it open. Mass is held: Mondays - Fridays at 8.30, 17.00, 18.00 and on Saturdays at 8.30, 12.00, 17.00, 18.00 and on Sundays at 7.00, 9.00, 11.00, 18.00.

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    Casa Museo Mosquera

    by MalenaN Written Sep 6, 2008

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    Casa Museo Mosquera
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    This 18th century colonial mansion was home to the Mosquera family. In the rooms around the courtyard are exhibitions of artefacts, furniture and other items which belonged to the family or are from the same period. Most of the items are related to General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera (1798 - 1878). He was a politician and historian and he was Colombia’s president on four occasions.
    The museum is open every day between 8 - 12 and 14 - 17.
    Admission was 2000 pesos (July 2008).

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