Bogota

(Santa Fé de Bogota) (Chibcha: bo-catá, end of the farm-lands)

Capital of the Republic of Colombia, founded in 1538 by Gonzalo Ximenez de Quesada, a Spanish conqueror. The Plaza de Bolivar, the principal square, contains the cathedral in Corinthian style with a jeweled statue of the Blessed Virgin. There are 30 churches, some possessing paintings of Murillo, Il Spagnoletto, and Gregorio Vazquez. Many old conventual buildings have been used for secular purposes since 1861, the national library and museum being housed in the former Jesuit college. Bogota is the seat of an archdiocese. The college of Saint Bartholomew founded by the Jesuits, 1605, is the oldest "college" in America still in existence and directed by its founders. Among other institutions of learning are the secular College of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Dominican College of Saint Thomas. The National Observatory of Saint Bartholomew is directed by the Jesuits.

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