Past Watch Site

« Back

HISTORIC CENTER OF SANTA CRUZ DE MOMPOX

HISTORIC CENTER OF SANTA CRUZ DE MOMPOX
Santa Cruz de Mompox, Bolívar Department, Colombia
INFORMATION

Santa Cruz de Mompox was founded in 1540 by Juan de Santa Cruz, Governor of Cartagena, as a port and point of trade on the Magdalena River. The development of the town over time illustrates the processes of colonial penetration and dominion during the Spanish conquest, and of the growth of communications and commerce from the seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries. Santa Cruz was organized along the river and not around a town square like the majority of colonial Spanish settlements. Instead, there are three plazas along the river, each with its respective church: Plaza Central or Plaza de la Concepción, San Francisco to the north, and Santa Barbara to the south. The symbiosis between city and river has remained from the first settlements in the municipality, demonstrating an exceptional association between natural landscape and townscape that has survived to this day. In 1995, the Historic Center of Santa Cruz de Mompox was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The gradual change of course of the Magdalena River in the mid-nineteenth century left the town's river frontage stranded, depriving it of a useful port. The result was economic stagnation, which lasted until the last decade of the twentieth century. Due in part to its isolation and lack of investment, the architecture of the historic center has remained largely intact. The attractive architectural heritage of Mompox is now seen as a potential catalyst for improved quality of life and sustainable growth within the city. Through the cooperation of all levels of government as well as international entities, an integrated regional plan has been created, incorporating economic and community development, environmental management, tourism, as well as the preservation of cultural resources and traditions. Inclusion on the Watch raises awareness about the need for timely implementation to ensure that this jewel of history remains a vibrant community.

Download a 2012 Watch poster of this site (see download instructions).

UPDATE

Colombia's Ministry of Culture has been working on the revitalization of the historic center, a project called Mompox de cara al río (“Mompox facing the river”), as part of their 2003 Rehabilitation Plan aimed at the 44 historic centers within World Heritage Sites in the country. In August 2012, the rehabilitation of the Plaza de la Concepción and San Juan Street was completed. These interventions recovered the public and cultural uses of both places, which had been misused as parking spaces for several years. May 2013

IN WMF JOURNAL

IN THE MEDIA

HISTORIC CENTER OF SANTA CRUZ DE MOMPOX
Houses on Calle de la Albarrada, along the Magdalena River, 2007
HISTORIC CENTER OF SANTA CRUZ DE MOMPOX
View of the historic center toward the northwest, 2007
HISTORIC CENTER OF SANTA CRUZ DE MOMPOX
Streetscape near Plaza Real de la Concepción, 2007