Palmira, Valle del Cauca
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Location of the municipality and city of Palmira in the Valle del Cauca Department.
|Department||Valle del Cauca*|
|• Body||Alcaldía de Palmira|
|• Mayor||Jairo Ortega Samboni |
|• Total||1,123 km2 (434 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,001 m (3,284 ft)|
|• Total||350,000 |
|Area code(s)||57 + 2|
|Website||Official website (Spanish)|
Palmira (pronounced pälmē'rä) is a city and municipality in southwestern Colombia in the Valle del Cauca Department, located about 17 miles (27 km) east from Cali, the department's capital and main city in the South of Colombia. Palmira is the third largest city in the Valle del Cauca, behind Cali and Buenaventura.
Palmira is located in southwestern Colombia, lying in the Cauca River valley. 3°31’48” north altitude and 76°81’13” longitude west of Greenwich. The city covers an area of 448 square miles (1,160 km2). The average temperature is 23 °C (73 °F) and its altitude is 1000 m (3284 ft) above sea level.
According to the historian William Mallama Lugo, the city of Palmira arises in 1813 when Don Pedro Simón Cárdenas gave the name of Villa de las Palmas. Its inhabitants are called "Palmireños" or "Palmiranos".
Important agricultural products are sugar cane, coffee, rice, corn, and tobacco. Palmira is known as the agricultural capital of Colombia, its main source of income is agriculture and specially the sugarcane cultivation. Palmira is home to the most important sugar mills in the country like : Manuelita Sugar Mill, Providencia Sugar Mill, Del Cauca Sugar Mill and more. The burning of waste cane is the main source of air pollution in the city.
In 2005, Palmira opened its first large and post modern shopping mall Centro Comercial Llanogrande Plaza, popularly called "La Catorce", after the department store 'La 14' located in the mall. The indoor/outdoor shopping center has become very popular among Palmireños since its opening as there are no other large shopping malls in the city. Nevertheless, Palmiranos can still do their basic shopping in La Marden or any of its other stores located all throughout the city, specially in El Centro. Before the mall was built, Palmireños had to travel to Cali to many of its shopping centers such as La Catorce De Calima and Chipichape. Llanogrande has many restaurants, several outdoor bars, an indoor cinema, casino, and a small amusement park. It is located on the city's southwest side.
Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport, which serves Cali, is located in Palmira. The citizens' most common method of transportation is the motorcycle. There are many of these in the city and many operators ignore traffic laws so that cars on the street have to drive slow and carefully in order to avoid hitting them. In fact, the large numbers of motorcycles has become a new business since the past 5 years. Since there are a lot of motorcycles, their owners have started to offer transporting people from one place to other as if they were taxis. This caused a lot of friction between taxis and "mototaxis", as many people call them, because it has reduced the demand of people willing to pay for the cost of a taxi. Another method of transportation that is very common, but mostly used as attractive complement to the colonial architecture, are the white carriages which tourists can pay for to have a tour of the city. The city recently began municipal bus service under the name TUPAL that utilize natural gas powered buses.
Palmira is also famous for having many colleges, this has led it to been called "The University City". The following universities are either located in Palmira.
- University of Valle (univalle). The university is the principal higher education institution in the South West of Colombia. It has the third highest number of students in Colombia. The University has 4 campuses, with one of them located in Palmira. The University of Valle has 30,000 students, of which 25,000 are undergraduate and 5,000 are postgraduate students. The campus at the city of Palmira is located in La Carbonera sector between the Carrera 31 and the La Carbonera Avenue, in a 50,000 m2 (12 acres) terrain donated by the sugar mill company Manuelita S.A.. The project is to be completed in three stages, the first phase started on June 15, 2007, and was inaugurated on June 11, 2009, correspond to a three-story building with a surface area of 5,200 m2 (1.3 acres), with a cost of $6 billion COP. The new building counts with a library, five laboratories for chemistry, biology, electronics, physics, and food analysis; an auditorium for 150 spectators, and 27 class rooms with Internet access. The second and third planned phases for the first stage are the construction of a similar building and an auditorium for 1,500 spectators.
- National University of Colombia (Sede Palmira). The University is a public, national, coeducational, research university located primarily in Bogota, Medellin, Palmira and Manizales. Established in 1867 by an act of Congress, the University is the largest higher education institution in Colombia with more than 44,000 students, with the largest number of graduated professionals and a total of 430 academic programmes available for tuition. It is also one of the few universities that employs post=doctorate fellows in the country. The National University is widely known as the best Colombian University, and one of the best universities in Latin America, for its high degree of education and research achievement.
- Pontifical Bolivarian University 
- Universidad Antonio Nariño 
- University of Santiago de Cali  (USC)
- Corporación Universitaria Remington
- Fundación Universitaria San Martín 
4 professional football teams have represented the city. Expreso Palmira Futbol Club played 3 years in the second division Categoria Primera B. Deportes Palmira and Palmira Fútbol Club also represented the city in the second division. Currently Orsomarso SC represents the city, and plays in the second division. There is also a Futsal team, which is called Club de Palmira Fut-Salon. Success wise, the women's football team has contributed the most. The local team Club Deportivo Generaciones Palmiranas is one of the best teams in country and regularly send's its players to form part of the Women's national squad.
The Estadio Francisco Rivera Escobar is a stadium located in the centre of Palmira, it was built in the 1950s. In 2015 the Stadium was renovated, with new stadium lights and a running track around the football pitch. This has allowed the city to also host athletic events. The stadium was used to host for America de Cali in 2011, it now used by Orsomarso SC.
The Estadio Deportivo Cali is a football stadium built on the outskirts of Palmira, situated on the main highway that links Palmira with Santiago de Cali. It is the official stadium of Deportivo Cali who play in the first division Categoria Primera A. Deportivo Cali are one of the most successful teams in Colombia, with a record 8 times league championships. The stadium was inaugurated in February 2010  It is the largest stadium in Colombia and first private owned stadium by a professional football team in the country.
- Claudia Palacios, a Colombian journalist and newscaster, lived in Palmira until she was 15 years old. She now works for CNN en Español in Atlanta, Georgia and resides there with her son Pablo.
- Santiago Eder, 19th century industrial pioneer and founder of Manuelita sugar mill.
- Elizabeth Eder de Zobel de Ayala wife of Filipino billionaire Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala Miranda whose cousin is Inigo Zobel de Ayala Urquijo, owner of Sotogrande in Andalucia, Spain and grandson of Juan Urquijo, former owner of Banco Urquijo
References and notes
- Centro Comercial Llanogrande Plaza Palmira's largest mall
- City of Palmira website (Spanish)
- Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Palmira (Spanish)
- Universidad del Valle - Palmira (Spanish)
- Manuelita - one of the municipality's largest employers (Spanish)