7 Interesting facts about Santa Marta
Bolivar Equestrian Statue Santa Marta

1. Santa Marta is the first city founded in Colombia

In 1521, the Spanish crown authorized the foundation and colonization of the province of Santa Marta, that had been discovered in 1502. Officially, it is known that the city was founded in 1525 by Rodrigo de Bastidas. Although in 1510 an attempt had already been made to establish a city in territory that is currently Colombian, the city was abandoned over time. Santa Marta was the first city founded in Colombia that is still standing. And the first one founded in continental South America under the order of the Spanish crown.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Sierra Nevada peaks as seen from Valledupar

2. The two highest peaks in Colombia are located in Santa Marta

Santa Marta area includes part of the mountainous range called Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and its highest peaks Bolivar and Colon, both have an altitude of 5,775 m.a.s.l. (18,946 f.a.s.l), which make them the two highest peaks in Colombia, and take us to the next fact.

3. Santa Marta has all the thermal floors

Although the city is at sea level, Santa Marta has all the thermal floors, ranging from sea level to the perpetual snows of the Bolivar and Colon peaks.

4. Pirates attacked the city for more than 200 years

The first attack to the city was officially registered in 1543 and the last one in 1779. One of this attacks, in 1655 by William Goodson left the city in ruins and it even changed the original layout of the streets of what is now the historical center.

5. The Cathedral of Santa Marta was built thanks to the consumption of aguardiente

Santa Marta Cathedral in 1844 Watercolor
Square of the Cathedral in 1844, Watercolor

The resources given for the construction fell short. Because of that it was necessary to create a tax on each bottle of aguardiente (an alcoholic beverage). This initiative had support of Spain, and worked, thanks to this tax on aguardiente the Cathedral could be finished in 1794 after almost 30 years of construction.

6. One of the two most developed civilizations in Colombia, was in our region

In Colombia, the civilizations that achieved the greatest social and cultural development were the Muiscas and the Tayronas. Of these, the Tayronas inhabited the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and many of their most important archaeological remains are found here, such as Ciudad Perdida (Teyuna) or Pueblito Chairama.

7. You can find the same Bolivar’s equestrian statue in 4 different cities

The equestrian statue of Simon Bolivar that you can see in Bolivar Park in Santa Marta was a gift from Venezuela and is a replica of the one in the Park of the same name in Caracas. The curious thing is that the original one is in Lima, Peru, which was the inspiration to that in Caracas, so there are three of them in South America. But the story does not end here, there is another statue in San Francisco, for a total of 4.

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