About Museo del Oro
The Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) is one of Bogota’s primary tourist attractions: located in the capital of Colombia, it receives around 500,000 visitors a year and is arguably the best place to visit before exploring further afield in Colombia..
History of Museo del Oro
The Museum charts the pre-Hispanic history of Colombia, looking at indigenous cultures region by region. As such, it is a highly useful introduction to Colombia’s history. The museum belongs to the larger Banco de la Republica complex, who have been administrating, cataloguing, and displaying Colombia’s heritage since the 1930s.
However, most people visit for the museum’s namesake: its gold. Since the legend of the lost city of El Dorado arose over five hundred years ago, Europeans have been obsessed by reports of huge amounts of gold in Colombia. Whilst El Dorado was never found, Colombia was South America’s largest exporter of gold for hundreds of years, and it has been a highly prized metal used for ceremonial and religious purposes for centuries.
Museo del Oro today
The exhibitions display ornate gold objects, explaining their significance and use. All displays are in English and Spanish: there are also audio guides in multiple other languages available, and tour guides offer their services outside the museum.
The highlight for many is the Muisca Raft (also often known as the El Dorado raft) – made of an alloy of gold and copper, the raft was found by farmers in a cave in 1969. The raft depicts the ritual ceremony of investiture of the Muisca tribe and is believed to have been cast in the 8th or 9th century: the legend of El Dorado is associated with the ritual use of gold of the Muisca, hence the connection.
Getting to Museo del Oro
The Museo del Oro is in the heart of La Candelaria, Bogota, and is easily accessed from the TransMilenio station Museo del Oro, just under 200m away. Many other tourist sites are nearby, and La Candaleria is a popular accommodation spot for tourists.