Myths tell of cities of gold, but few believe they ever existed. A visit to Bogota, Columbia’s Gold Museum will change your mind, and you will be packing your bags to search for the legendary El Dorado.
Colombia possesses a history rich in myth and legend. Many recount adventures of gold seekers who scoured the country for hidden treasure. Lost civilisations are said to be hidden deep in the unexplored forests, and children are lulled to sleep by bedtime stories of wealth beyond imagination.
Visitors to Bogota can have just a taste of this dream at the Gold Museum, founded by Banco de la Republica in 1939. Home of some of the most ancient cultures on earth, Colombia has a long tradition of gold mining and metal working. The first gallery in the museum, People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia, explores their history with gold artefacts dating back more than 2,500 years. The ancient Colombians were skilled agriculturalists, producing much more than they could use. Thus they had time to experiment with gold, creating a stunning collection. Learn how gold was used to explain the origin of the world. Understand how early South Americans worshiped with gold religious symbols and ornaments. Examine the gold costumes buried for 1,500 years in the tombs of the most prominent leaders. Consider the correlation between Colombian gold use and that of the ancient Egyptians.
Guests of the museum will be awestruck by the sheer volume and variety of gold artefacts. Jewellery represents just a fraction of the items on display. An entire gallery is devoted to the Cosmology and Symbolism of gold, containing priceless masterpieces that connect ancient theories of the inner workings of the universe to those commonly held today. Colombian chiefs showcased their relationship to the life giving powers of the sun by dressing in gold, and the metal was used in medicine as a treatment for fertility. Gold was combined with paint and clothing to create a “second skin”, temporarily transporting wearers into alternate realities, where they took on the characteristics of animals, plants, and sometimes even gods.
The current exhibits show only 6,000 pieces of the museum’s 55,000 total collection, yet visitors can spend hours exploring this small fraction, without ever seeing them all. A restaurant and shop offer welcome respite after the overwhelming display of riches. The Gold Museum is a must-see for every traveler to Bogota, Colombia. Offering guests the largest gold collection in the world, it is a reminder of the amazing gifts of mother nature. Not enough gold in your pocket for your trip?
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