|Nickname(s): Oil Capital of Colombia|
Location of the town and municipality of Barrancabermeja in the Santander Department
|Founded||April 22, 1922|
|• Total||1,154 km2 (446 sq mi)|
|Elevation||75 m (246 ft)|
|• Density||280/km2 (720/sq mi)|
|Website||Official website (Spanish)|
Barrancabermeja is a city in Colombia, located in the department of Santander. It is home to the largest oil refinery in the country and is the capital of the Province of Mares. Also, Barrancabermeja is well known as the Oil Capital of Colombia.
It is located 101 km west of Bucaramanga, on the banks of the Magdalena River in the Middle Magdalena region, which is the largest municipality and second in the entire department.
To the north of Barrancabermeja lies Puerto Wilches; to the south, Puerto Parra and Simacota ; to the southeast, San Vicente de Chucuri and Giron; and to the west, Magdalena River. It is approximately 2 hours by car from Bucaramanga, the capital of Santander. Placed in the riverbank, in earlier times a Ferry service would cross between Santander and Antioquia, on the opposite side, where further oil fields are found. A bridge now spans the river at this location.
The area is quite picturesque. However, the heat is oppressive and humid and mosquitoes thrive in the surrounding countryside. Due to the presence of oil the city sometimes has a characteristic smell.
Barrancabermeja's culture has been largely affected by the migratory movements caused by the oil boom. The city exhibits an amalgam of many regional customs from Colombia. Due to its history as an oil town, the city is often visited by moneyed foreigners, often engineers and supervisory employees and technicians of oil companies. Thus Barrancabermeja has a reputation as an open and vibrant city and may be somewhat cosmopolitan.
Barrancabermeja's night life flourishes. Salsa and merengue dance clubs abound, and the port area is vibrant as bars compete for patrons. The drink of choice is Aguila, a Colombian beer whose yellow logo is painted on walls and billboards throughout the town.
Several local and national political organizations including unions, women's organizations, and human rights groups are active. Marches and demonstrations are quite common and the oil workers union is among the most important in the nation.
The city's culture presents a strong Caribbean influence that nevertheless is not exclusive of other cultural expressions from among the variety found in Colombia. The predominant music in the city is vallenato and other Caribbean rhythms including papayera.
The commercial area of the city is adjacent to the river port ("the Port") where motor boats and canoes constantly arrive with fish and agricultural products from farmers along the river that include maize, cassava (or yuca in Spanish), plantain, and cacao.
In 1996 and 2000, Barrancabermeja hosted the Mundial de Patinaje, an international rollerblading competition.
Sister cities and Partnerships
- Vanguardia Liberal - the city's main newspaper
- Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos - human rights organisation operating in Barrancabermeja and the surrounding Magdalena Medio region
- Organización Femenina Popular - the main women's rights and development organisations in the city
- Christian Peacemaker Teams - International violence reduction work.