History of Bogota


1538. City’s Founding.
Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada establishes the city in what is currently known as La Candelaria.

1623. First Universities.
The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, one of the oldest and most prestigious univerities in Latin America, is established, followed 20 years later by the Universidad del Rosario.

1640. Monserrate.
The Sanctuary and the statue of Our Fallen Lord are built atop Monserrate, perched 3,152 meters above sea level. Thousands of city residents and tourists visit this mountain, which offers increbible views of most of the city.

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1803. Construction of the National Astronomical Observatory
This holds the distinction of being the first astronomical observatory in Latin America.

1867. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, the first public university in the country.
It is currently ranked the 12th best in Latin America, and the best public university in the country, according to the QS Latin American University Rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds.

1878. Bogota Chamber of Commerce (CCB)
The CCB is dedicated to increasing the prosperity of the residents of the Bogota - Region, particularly by strengthening enterpreneurial capabilities and improving competitiveness and shared value, under the principles of governance and a long-term vision of the city.

1889. Electric Lighting in Bogota
The Bogotá Electric Light Company (BELC) lights up Bogota for the first time. In 2011, the company, now called Empresa de Energía de Bogotá (EEB), makes a successful placement of bonds in the international capital market, raising USD $610 million.

1892. Teatro Cristóbal Colón (Cristobal Colón Theater).
With a neo-classic Italian design by Pietro Cantini, this theater showcases important artistic events and is the current base of the Colombian Philharmonic Orchestra.

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1923. Cable Railway to Monserrate.
The train wends its way up to the top of Monserrate, offering its passengers a beautiful view of the city's landscape as they ascend.

1930. Airport in Techo.
The city's first airport, which 29 years lateris replaced by the El Dorado International Airport.

1948. Universidad de los Andes esablished
In 2012, it was rated as the sixth best in Latin America, and the best in Colombia, by Quacquarelli Symonds, in the QS Latin American University Rankings.

1952. Construction of the Avenida El Dorado (El Dorado Avenue).
Connecting the airport to the city's main districts, it has,during the past 10 years, become one of the city's main corporate, academic, and tourist hubs.

1955. Botanical Garden
A natural area spanning 19 hectares with over 18,200 species of Colombian native plants, offers the possibility to observe and experience the climate of each of the country's different regions.

1959. El Dorado International Airport.
In 2012, it became the main airport for cargo traffic in Latin America, and the third in Latin America in terms of passenger volume

1974. Ciclovía (Temporary Bicycle Ways)
This world-class idea has been replicated in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Mexico D.F., and Sao Paulo. A circuit spanning 127 kilometers of bicycle ways, it allows over one million users to perform different sports and recreational activities every Sunday.

1983. Parque Simón Bolívar (Simon Bolivar Park)
An area of over 113 hectares dedicated to sports and recreation for the residents of Bogota. Its main plaza can host events and concerts for over 80,000 people.

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1988. Bogota Ibero-American Theater Festival.
One of the largest festivals of its kind in the world. In 2012, it welcomed guests from 33 countries, participating in activities such as productions by 65 international theater companies, 699 in-door shows, 218 street shows, and 9 world premieres, all attended by a total of 2,800,000 spectators.

1995. Rock al Parque (Rock the Park)
The largest free and outdoor festival in Latin America, and the third largest in the world, it drew over 250,000 spectators and 72 bands to the 2012 event. The city also offers other park festivals for genres such as salsa, jazz, opera, hip hop, and Colombian music

1998. Capital Network of Public Libraries - BibloRed.
In 2012, the 21 libraries in the network served over 4.3 million visitors.

1999. Ciclorrutas (Dedicated Bicycle Pathways)
This example of sustainable mobility holds 376 kilometers of pathways for use exclusively by bicycles. Daily, over 450,000 citizens of Bogota ride on them.

2000. Transmilenio
This innovative mass transit system which starts with an idea developed in Brazil, is nowadays the largest of its kind in the world. Due to its high capacity, its cost/impact ratio and its low environmental impact, it has been replicated in 57 cities in the world. 

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2012. Member of UNESCO's Network of Creative Cities
Bogota becomes the first city in Latin America and the fifth City of Music along with Seville, (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Glasgow (Scotland), and Gent (Belgium).

2012. Bogota Integrated Mass Transit System (SITP)
Gradual introduction of the SITP, which strengthens the public transport system's multimodal nature.

Learn more about the city's history



Banco de la República
Bogotá D.C.
Bogotá Humana
City Tourism Institute
Bogota Chamber of Commerce
Monserrate Mountain
Empresa de Energía de Bogotá
El Nuevo Dorado Airport
Bogota Latin American Theater Festival
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
Botanical Garden
Secretary of Mobility
Quacquarelli Symonds
Rock Al Parque (Rock the Park)
Transmilenio S.A. 
Universidad de los Andes
Universidad del Rosario