In La Candelaria

Museo del 20 de Julio Museo del 20 de Julio

Calle 11 No 6-94; adult/student COP$3000/2000; h9am-5pm Tue-Fri, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun). The late-16th-century home that houses this museum marks the spot where a ‘broken vase was heard around the world.’ Apparently.  Just after Napoleon overcame Spain in 1810, a local Creole Antonio Morales came here, according to the story, and demanded an ornate vase from its Spanish owner José González Llorentes, which led to a fistfight on the street (plus one shattered vase, and some hurt feelings) – eventually spurring a rebellion. In these hallowed halls you can see the broken vase in question.

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Museo Histórico de la Policía Museo Histórico de la Policía

Calle 9 No 9-27; h8am-5pm Tue-Sun) This surprisingly worthwhile museum not only gets you inside the lovely ex-HQ (built in 1923) of Bogotá’s police force, but gives you 45 minutes or so of contact time with 18-yearold, English-speaking local guides who are serving a one-year compulsory service with the police (interesting tales to be heard). The best parts otherwise follow cocaine-kingpin Pablo Escobar’s demise in 1993 – with a model dummy of his bullet-ridden corpse, his Harley Davidson (a gift to a cousin) and his personal Bernadelli pocket pistol, otherwise known as his ‘second wife'.

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Museo Militar Museo Militar

Calle 10 No 4-92; h9am-4pm Tue-Sun) This two floor museum is run by military guys in fatigues, and may be interesting to some for its playful models sporting the history of military uniforms (note the ‘antiterrorist’ outfit), a Korean War room, a video of the operation that rescued Ingrid Betancourt, and a courtyard of artillery and aircraft including a presidential helicopter. ID required.

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Observatorio Astronómico Observatorio Astronómico

Conceptualized by celebrated Colombian botanist José Celestino Mutis, the 1803 tower is reputedly the first astronomical observatory built on the continent. It’s possible to visit Monday to Friday at 11am and 1pm, but you must reserve a week ahead. Email your name, nationality and passport number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a spot.

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Palacio de Justicia Palacio de Justicia

(Closed to the public) on the northern side of the plaza, this massive, rather style less edifice serves as the seat of the Supreme Court. It’s seen its troubles. The first court building, erected in 1921 on the corner of Calle 11 and Carrera 6, was burnt down by a mob during El Bogotazo. A modern building was then constructed here, but in 1985 it was taken by M-19 guerrillas and gutted by fi re in a fierce 28-hour offensive by the army in an attempt to reclaim it. The new building was designed in a completely different style.

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Teatro Colón Teatro Colón

www.bogota-dc.com/eventos/teatro/colon.html; Calle 10 No 5-32) With its adorable Italian-style facade, which has had various names since its birth in 1792, this latest version you see opened as Teatro Nacional in 1892 and was designed by Italian architect Pietro Cantini. Its lavish interiors are undergoing a long renovation that – apparently – could go fi ve more years. Normally, concerts, opera and ballet are performed here, and day-time tours are on offer.

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