Tunja

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Tunja
Municipality of Colombia
Top left:Night view of Tunja Bolivar Square, Top right:House of Tunja Gonzalo Suarez Rendon, Middle left:Statue of Don Johan do Castellanos in Mayor Square, Middle upper left:Night view of Tunja Metropolitan Cathedral, middle lower right:The Boyaca Bridge in Boyaca Field, Bottom:Panorama view of Tunja, from north of hill
Top left:Night view of Tunja Bolivar Square, Top right:House of Tunja Gonzalo Suarez Rendon, Middle left:Statue of Don Johan do Castellanos in Mayor Square, Middle upper left:Night view of Tunja Metropolitan Cathedral, middle lower right:The Boyaca Bridge in Boyaca Field, Bottom:Panorama view of Tunja, from north of hill
Flag of Tunja
Flag
Coat of arms of Tunja
Coat of arms
Location of Tunja in the department of Boyacá
Location of Tunja in the department of Boyacá
Tunja is located in Colombia
Tunja
Tunja
Location in Colombia
Coordinates: 5°32′N 73°22′W / 5.533°N 73.367°W / 5.533; -73.367Coordinates: 5°32′N 73°22′W / 5.533°N 73.367°W / 5.533; -73.367
Country Colombia
Department Boyacá
Province Central Boyacá Province
Founded 6 August 1539
Established March 29, 1541
Founded by Gonzalo Suárez Rendón
Government
 • Mayor Pablo Emilio Cepeda Novoa
(2016-2019)
Area
 • Municipality of Colombia 121.4 km2 (46.9 sq mi)
 • Urban 13 km2 (5 sq mi)
Elevation 2,820 m (9,250 ft)
Population (2016)
 • Municipality of Colombia 191,878
 • Density 1,600/km2 (4,100/sq mi)
 • Urban 184,080
 • Metro 243,330
  [1]
Demonym(s) Tunjano
Postal code 150001-150009
Area code(s) 57 + 8
Website Official website (Spanish)
IGAC - DANE - DIAN.

Tunja (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtuŋxa]) is a city located on the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes, in the region known as the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, 130 km northeast of Bogotá. In 2012 it had an estimated population of 181,407 inhabitants.[1] It is the capital of Boyacá department and the Central Boyacá Province. Tunja is an important educational centre of known universities. It was founded by the Spanish in 1539.

Tunja is a tourist destination.[clarification needed] In addition to its religious and historical sites it is host to several internationally known festivals and is a jumping-off point for regional tourist destinations such as Villa de Leyva, Paipa, and Sierra Nevada del Cocuy. It is also a stop on the Pan American Highway which connects Tunja to Bogotá and Santa Marta and eventually to the northern and southernmost parts of South America.

History[edit]

Pre-Columbian era[edit]

The earliest evidence of human population on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense has been dated to approximately 12.000 years ago. Homus Tequendama inhabited the area by 6375 BCE. Archeologists have found human skeletons including arm bones in the area. Many archaeological discoveries were found in the area of the present-day city, dated to approximately 150 BCE.

During the First Millennium a.d., the territory was inhabited by the Muisca, who spoke Chibcha and emigrated from Central America through Panama to the Andean Region.[2] The Muisca developed their own religion, calendar and mythology. According to those myths, it was the brutal cacique and prophet Goranchacha who moved the capital for the northern Muisca from Ramiriquí to Tunja, then called Hunza.

First Muisca era[edit]

An era when frequent battles among cacicazgos took place, peace was proposed for the region and an agreement was made among caciques to choose a supreme chief to rule them all. Hunzahúa, who came from Ramiriqui was elected, and the capital of his confederation was named Hunza. Hunzahúa took the title of zaque ("great lord", the same meaning as zipa who ruled from Bacatá), and reign over the lands from the Chicamocha to Fusagasugá and from the Llanos de San Juan to Panche and Muzo frontiers, including Vélez territory. This unity helped to unify the Muisca, especially with respect to their language and religion, until zipa Saguamanchica broke this unity due to differences with the cacique of Guatavita.[3]

Tomb of Gonzalo Suárez Rendón

Last Muisca era (1490–1539)[edit]

Saguamanchica, with fifty thousand soldiers, decided on a massive attack on zaque Michuá,[4] crossing Guatavita and Chocontá. Michuá dealt with him, supported by an army which doubled Saguamanchica, battling around three hours and killing both chiefs. A new zaque, Quemuenchatocha, was installed, during the tense truce between Bacatá and Hunza.

In 1514, Quemuenchatocha found out about the expansionist intentions of the new zipa Nemequene, and asked caciques of Gámeza, Sugamuxi, Tundama and Sáchica to help him to reinforce his army. A battle was fought in Ventaquemada, and when Nemequene was about to become the victor, he was fatally wounded and his troops retreated. Iraca retracted his support and Quemuenchatocha got a truce which terms were about to end when the Spanish arrived. When Quemuenchatocha found out the Europeans were around his lands, he decided to stay in Hunza and avoided any aggression against the invaders. He forbade under strict penalties to show the invaders the path to his headquarters and when he knew they were reaching him, he sent them gifts and peacemakers, hoping to stop them while he was hiding his treasures.

Hispanic Era (1539-1811)[edit]

Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada parted from Santa Marta in April 1536, on the first main expedition into the Andes. His main goal was to find and conquer El Dorado. After months of travelling, he found many Muisca cacicazgos in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense. In his search, he acquired information about emerald discoveries and other treasures in Somondoco and the Llanos. Finally, on August 20, 1537, the conquerors arrived, with horses and dogs; Jiménez de Quesada arrived at the headquarters of Quemuenchatocha, finding him in a chair, dressed in gold in the same way as his companions who ran off, leaving him alone. The gold, the emeralds and the fancy fabrics were taken. This conquest took place where later the San Agustin Convent was built. Quemuenchatocha was taken to Suesca, with the hope he would reveal where he hid the rest of his treasure. He abdicated in favour of his nephew Aquiminzaque and retired to Ramiriquí where he died.[5]

Modern Tunja was founded nearly two years later, on August 6, 1539, by captain Gonzalo Suárez Rendón, sent by Hernán Pérez de Quesada, brother of Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.[6]

Demographics and geography[edit]

Tunja has a population of approximately 180,000 inhabitants and is located in central Colombia. The city centre is locates at an elevation of 2,820 metres (9,250 ft) above sea level.

Climate[edit]

Tunja's climate is influenced by its location and altitude. At almost 3000 m it is one of the higher cities in Colombia. As a result, the city features a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cfb) with little variation in temperature throughout the year but a distinct dry season from December to February.

Climate data for Tunja, Colombia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 19.1
(66.4)
19.3
(66.7)
19.2
(66.6)
18.4
(65.1)
17.3
(63.1)
16.4
(61.5)
16
(61)
16.5
(61.7)
17.3
(63.1)
17.9
(64.2)
18.2
(64.8)
18.4
(65.1)
17.83
(64.11)
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.15
(55.67)
13.7
(56.7)
14.1
(57.4)
14.05
(57.29)
13.5
(56.3)
12.75
(54.95)
12.2
(54)
12.35
(54.23)
12.75
(54.95)
13.3
(55.9)
13.6
(56.5)
13.1
(55.6)
13.212
(55.791)
Average low °C (°F) 7.2
(45)
8.1
(46.6)
9
(48)
9.7
(49.5)
9.7
(49.5)
9.1
(48.4)
8.2
(46.8)
8.2
(46.8)
6.7
(44.1)
8.7
(47.7)
9
(48)
7.8
(46)
8.45
(47.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 16
(0.63)
29
(1.14)
55
(2.17)
77
(3.03)
84
(3.31)
58
(2.28)
46
(1.81)
42
(1.65)
54
(2.13)
85
(3.35)
69
(2.72)
31
(1.22)
646
(25.44)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6 8 13 17 19 18 19 19 16 18 16 10 179
Source: World Climates[7]

Security and living conditions[edit]

Tunja has the lowest homicide rate in Colombia and is below average in Latin America according to the latest report from the International Centre of the Prevention of Crime for 2010,[8][9] which is 7 with respect to the most dangerous city that is 128 crimes per hundred thousand inhabitants. According to other sources, this value is four times lower than the national average.[10] Tunja is an example of a safe city.[11]

Northern zone
Emerald Quarter
Bolivar Square, Downtown
Train station, the historic center DHC Tunja
San Agustin Convent
Boyaca Bridge in Tunja, the site where Colombian independence was won

Tourism[edit]

Relevant historical and touristic sites[edit]

The streets are named according to 472[12] and Google Maps[13] nomenclatures; (C:Calle), (K:Carrera), (S:South), (E: East), (A: Ave).

Southern Sector

English Name Spanish Name Address
Bridge of Boyaca Puente de Boyacá Rural Area (La Lajita)
Flower Pot Monument Los Tiestos K14-C16
Mushroom Monument Los Hongos A Oriental
St. Martin's Church Iglesia de San Martín Libertador Neighborhood
Bullfighting arena Plaza de Toros K8-C13S

Eastern Sector

English Name Spanish Name Address
Botanical Garden Jardín Botánico BTS Highway (Autopista Circunvalar BTS)
St. Anthony's Church Iglesia de San Antonio San Antonio Neighborhood
Governorate Viaduct Viaducto Paseo de La Gobernación BTS-A.Olímpica
JNN Viaduct Viaducto Jose Nepomuceno Niño C24-Universitaria

Downtown

English name Spanish name Address
Las Nieves Church and Square Iglesia y Plazoleta de las Nieves K10-C22
St. Ignatius' Church Iglesia de San Ignacio K10-C18
*St. Barbara's Church Iglesia de Santa Bárbara K11-C17
St. Dominic's Church Iglesia de Santo Domingo K11-C19
St. Laureano's Church Iglesia de San Laureano K9-C15
St. Lazarus Hill and Church Loma e Iglesia de San Lázaro San Lázaro Neighborhood
St. Claire Royal Convent Convento de Santa Clara la Real K11-C21
St. Francis Church Iglesia de San Francisco K10-21A
Cathedral Basilica of St. James the Apostle in Tunja[14] Catedral Basílica Metropolitana Santiago de Tunja Bolivar Square
Meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días C12-K10
Our Lady of Miracles Church Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Milagro (El Topo) K15-C19
St. Augustine Cloister Claustro de San Agustín K9-C23
Cojines del Zaque Cojines del Zaque K4-C12
Republic Forest Bosque de la República K11-C14
Freedom Obelisk Obelisco de la Libertad K10-C14
City Founder Palace and Museum Casa Museo del Fundador Bolívar Square
Juan de Castellanos' Palace and Museum Casa Museo Juan de Castellanos Bolívar Square
Don Juan de Vargas' Palace and Museum Casa Museo Don Juan de Vargas K9-C20
Bolivar Square Plaza de Bolívar K9-C19
Tower Palace (Governorate Palace of Boyacá) Palacio de la Torre Bolívar Square K10-C20
Rojas Pinilla's House Casa Cultural Rojas Pinilla K11-C16
Martyr's Wall Monument Paredón de los Mártires K9-C14
La Pila del Mono's Fountain La Pila del Mono K9-C20
Royal Palace (currently a shopping mall) Plaza Real K14-C20
St. Thomas University Building Edificio Universidad Santo Tomás K12-C19
Santander Park Parque Santander A Colón
Pinzón Park Parque Pinzón K8-C23
Maldonado Park Parque Maldonado C10-C30
La Esperanza Park Parque La Esperanza
Hoyo del Trigo Park Parque Hoyo del Trigo C22-K12

Northern Sector

English name Spanish name Address
St. Agnes' Church Iglesia de Santa Inés C42-A Norte
Hunzahua's Stream Pool Pozo de Hunzahúa A Norte, UPTC
Indigenous Race Monument Monumento a la raza indígena La Glorieta
Campus of the Uptc and its natural reserve Campus de la Uptc y su reserva natural A Norte, UPTC
Museum of Natural History Museo de Historia Natural A Norte, UPTC
Museum of Anthropology Museo de Antropología A Norte, UPTC
The Independence Stadium Estadio de La Independencia A Olímpica
Olympic Village Villa Olímpica A Olímpica

Festivals[edit]

  • International Festival of Culture[15]
  • Holy Week (Semana Santa)[16]
  • Aguinaldo Boyacense[17]

Shopping[edit]

Downtown[edit]

Main places of interest are:

  • El Cid
  • El Virrey
  • Teatro Boyacá
  • Cinema Boyacá

Shopping malls[edit]

Unicentro is a shopping center that features a Jumbo and a Cinemark Theatres among many other stores.

Traditional markets[edit]

  • Plaza de Mercado del Norte
  • Plaza de Mercado del Sur

Education[edit]

Tunja is notable for its great contribution to education in Colombia, despite being considered a small town, a large part of its population are students between high school and university. Tunja has a large number of colleges, among these is the College of Boyaca, first public school in the territories of Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama and Colombia when these countries were part of Gran Colombia. It was founded on 20 October 1822 by the Vice President Francisco de Paula Santander. Among the most relevant schools are:

  • Colegio de Boyacá
  • Institucion Educativa San Jeronimo Emiliani
  • Colegio Salesiano Maldonado
  • Colegio INEM Carlos Arturo Torres
  • Colegio de la Presentación
  • Gimnasio Campestre del Norte.
  • Colegio Municipal Silvino Rodríguez
  • Normal Superior Santiago de Tunja.
  • Escuela Normal Femenina "Leonor Álvarez Pinzón"
  • Colegio Los Angeles
  • Colegio Militar Juan José Rondón
  • Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
  • Colegio Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.
  • Colegio Andino
  • Colegio American School Saint Frances.
  • Country Bilingual School

Universities[edit]

Tunja's major university, the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia (Uptc), was founded by General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, and is one of the public universities in Colombia.

Other universities are:

  • University of Boyaca
  • Universidad Santo Tomás
  • Escuela Superior de Administración Pública E.S.A.P.
  • Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia (UNAD)
  • Fundacion Universitaria Juan de Castellanos
  • Corporación Universitaria Remington(CUR-Cread Boyacá)
  • Universidad Antonio Nariño
  • Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana de Colombia
  • Instituto Universitario de la Música y las Artes

Sports[edit]

The city has two professional football teams; Boyacá Chico and Patriotas F.C.. The teams play in the Colombian Professional Football A league. Both play their games at La Independencia Stadium located in the north of the city. The stadium was rebuilt for the Copa Libertadores 2009, expanding capacity to 20,630 spectators and meeting FIFA specifications. The city organized the 2008 South American U-20 Futsal Cup in which Brazil was awarded as the championship. Colombia secured the fourth position in the tournament. The city has a professional basketball team called Patriotas that plays in the Saludcoop Invitational Cup. This team plays its matches in the Municipality Colosseum that has a capacity of up to 5,000 spectators.

Born in Tunja[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]