Bogotá, from 1991 to 2000 called Santafé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent capital district and no longer belongs administratively to that department. Bogotá is the most populous city in the country, with 7,363,782 inhabitants as of 2010. Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had a population of around 8 million in 2010.
In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest in Latin America. It figures among the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the third-highest capital city in South America at 2,625 metres (8,612 ft) above sea level, after Quito and La Paz. With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as “The Athens of South America”. Bogotá owns the largest moorland of the world, which is located in the Sumapaz Locality. The city ranked 54th in the 2010 Global Cities Index, and is listed as global city of the Beta+ kind by the GaWC.
The urban morphology and typology of colonial buildings in Bogotá have been maintained since the late nineteenth century, long after the independence of Colombia (1810). This persistence of the colonial setting is still visible, particularly in La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogotá. Also kept up are the colonial houses of two stories, with courtyards, gabled roofs, ceramic tiles and balconies. In some cases, these balconies were filled with glass during the Republican period, a distinguishing feature of the architecture of the sector (for example, the House of Rafael Pombo).
“Republican Architecture” was the style that prevailed between 1830 and 1930. Although there were attempts to consolidate a modern architectural language, the only examples seen are University City and White City at the National University of Colombia (constructed 1936 to 1939). This work was developed by German architect James Daly, although architects of rationalist trends participated in the design of campus buildings. We also see in Bogotan architecture trends such as art deco, expressionism and organic architecture. This last trend was typified by Bogotan architects in the second half of the twentieth century such as Rogelio Salmona.
In 2006 Bogotá won The Golden Lion Award at the Tenth International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, in recognition of “their efforts towards social inclusion, education, housing and public space, particularly through innovations in transportation.”
Although renowned for its beautiful preservation of colonial architecture, there are also significant contemporary architecture examples found in the downtown and at the north of the city.
In 2014 BD Bacatá will be inaugurated, taking the place from Colpatria tower to become the tallest building of the city. The building its expected to be the beginning of the city’s downtown renovation.