Historic Center of Santa Cruz de Mompox
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.