Local Myths and Legends of Bogota Colombia & Video

Local Myths and Legends of Bogota Colombia

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Bogota, the capital city of Colombia, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination. Beyond its historical sites and modern attractions, the city is also steeped in local myths and legends that have been passed down through generations. These stories add a touch of mystery and folklore to the city’s already captivating atmosphere. In this article, we will explore some of the most interesting local myths and legends of Bogota.

The Legend of El Dorado

  • El Dorado: El Dorado, meaning “the golden one,” is a legendary city made entirely of gold. According to the myth, the Muisca people, who inhabited the region before the Spanish colonization, would hold sacred rituals where their leader, the zipa, would cover himself in gold dust and ornaments before diving into Lake Guatavita. This ritual was believed to please the gods and bring prosperity to the Muisca civilization.
  • Lake Guatavita: Located just outside of Bogota, Lake Guatavita is said to be the site where the El Dorado ritual took place. The lake’s mystical aura and its association with gold have made it a popular destination for tourists and treasure hunters alike.
  • Treasure Hunting: The legend of El Dorado has sparked numerous treasure hunting expeditions throughout history. Many explorers have searched for the fabled city of gold, but none have succeeded in finding it. Today, the legend lives on as a symbol of Colombia’s rich cultural heritage.

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The Ghost of La Candelaria

  • La Candelaria: La Candelaria is the historic neighborhood of Bogota, known for its colonial architecture and vibrant street art. It is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a nun.
  • Sister Francisca: According to the legend, Sister Francisca was a nun who lived in the Convent of Santa Clara during the colonial era. She fell in love with a Spanish soldier and, when their forbidden relationship was discovered, she was bricked alive in the convent’s walls.
  • Ghostly Sightings: Locals and tourists have reported sightings of a ghostly figure in a nun’s habit wandering the streets of La Candelaria. Some claim to have heard her eerie cries late at night.

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The Legend of the Chibchacum

  • Chibchacum: The Chibchacum is a mythical figure from the Muisca mythology. It is depicted as a bearded old man with a large nose and carries a staff.
  • Earthquakes and Agriculture: According to legend, the Chibchacum was responsible for causing earthquakes. The Muisca people believed that these tremors were necessary for the fertility of their lands, as they believed the shaking of the earth helped to release the seeds and ensure a bountiful harvest.
  • Chibcha Language: The word “Bogota” is said to have originated from the Chibcha language, with “bog” meaning “reeds” and “ta” meaning “enclosure.” This refers to the reed fences that the Muisca people used to protect their crops.

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The Legend of the Pied Piper of Usaquen

  • Usaquen: Usaquen is a charming neighborhood in northern Bogota known for its colonial architecture and vibrant cultural scene.
  • The Pied Piper: The legend tells the story of a mysterious musician who arrived in Usaquen and mesmerized the local children with his enchanting melodies. The children followed the piper, never to be seen again.
  • Usaquen Park: Today, Usaquen Park is said to be haunted by the spirits of the lost children. Locals believe that on certain nights, the sound of faint music can be heard, drawing unsuspecting children to follow the invisible piper.

The Legend of Monserrate

  • Monserrate: Monserrate is a prominent mountain that overlooks Bogota and is home to the iconic Monserrate Sanctuary.
  • The Fallen Angel: According to legend, Monserrate was once home to a fallen angel who was banished to the mountain as punishment for his rebellion against God. It is said that the angel’s presence can still be felt on the mountain, and some claim to have encountered supernatural phenomena there.
  • Pilgrimage: Monserrate is a popular destination for pilgrims who climb the mountain to visit the sanctuary and seek blessings. The breathtaking views of Bogota from the top make the journey even more rewarding.

The Legend of the Tequendama Falls

  • Tequendama Falls: The Tequendama Falls is a majestic waterfall located just outside of Bogota.
  • The Crying Woman: According to legend, a woman named La Llorona took her own life by jumping off the falls after being abandoned by her lover. It is said that her ghost can be seen and heard crying near the falls, especially during full moon nights.
  • Hotel del Salto: The abandoned Hotel del Salto, situated near the falls, is rumored to be haunted. It is said that the spirits of the deceased still wander its halls, making it a popular destination for paranormal enthusiasts.

The Legend of the 13 Witched Crosses

  • The Witched Crosses: The 13 Witched Crosses are a series of stone crosses located in the outskirts of Bogota.
  • The Witch’s Curse: Legend has it that a powerful witch placed a curse on the crosses to protect her treasure. It is said that anyone who tries to remove the crosses will suffer misfortune and tragedy.
  • Treasure Hunting: Despite the curse, treasure hunters have attempted to find the witch’s hidden wealth. However, the exact location of the treasure remains a mystery, and many believe it is guarded by supernatural forces.

The Legend of the House of the Marquis of San Jorge

  • The Marquis of San Jorge: The House of the Marquis of San Jorge is a historical mansion located in the heart of Bogota.
  • The Haunted Mansion: According to local lore, the mansion is haunted by the ghost of the Marquis of San Jorge, who was murdered by his wife in a fit of jealousy. Visitors and staff have reported eerie encounters and unexplained phenomena within the mansion’s walls.
  • Historical Significance: Despite its haunted reputation, the House of the Marquis of San Jorge is an important architectural and historical landmark in Bogota, attracting visitors interested in its rich past and ghostly tales.

The Legend of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

  • Salt Cathedral: The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine near Bogota.
  • The Devil’s Bargain: According to legend, the construction of the salt cathedral faced numerous challenges. The miners made a pact with the devil, who promised to help them finish the cathedral in exchange for the soul of the last person to leave the mine. To outwit the devil, a rooster was set free instead, tricking the devil into taking its soul.
  • Religious Pilgrimage: Today, the Salt Cathedral is a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics and tourists alike. Its unique architecture and spiritual atmosphere make it a must-visit attraction in the region.

The Legend of the Gold Museum

  • Gold Museum: The Gold Museum in Bogota houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of pre-Hispanic gold artifacts.
  • Curse of the Golden Raft: The museum’s most famous exhibit is the Golden Raft, a representation of the Muisca ritual of El Dorado. According to legend, the raft is cursed, bringing misfortune to anyone who possesses it. Several owners of the Golden Raft have experienced tragic events, leading to the belief in its curse.
  • Cultural Heritage: Despite the curse, the Gold Museum continues to preserve and showcase Colombia’s rich cultural heritage through its collection of intricate gold artworks and artifacts.


Bogota, Colombia, is not only a city of historical significance and modern attractions but also a place where myths and legends come alive. The local folklore adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystery to the city’s already vibrant culture. From the legendary El Dorado and the ghostly presence in La Candelaria to the mystical figures of Chibchacum and the Pied Piper of Usaquen, these stories form an integral part of Bogota’s identity. Exploring the myths and legends of Bogota allows visitors to delve deeper into the city’s rich history and immerse themselves in its captivating tales.

– www.britannica.com
– www.lonelyplanet.com
– www.colombia.travel
– www.saltcathedral.com
– www.banrepcultural.org