The Watch

Santa Fe de Antioquia Historic Center

Province of Antioquia, Colombia

2010 World Monuments Watch

Deep within the Central Cordillera of the Andes in northeastern Colombia, Santa Fe de Antioquia rises more than 1,650 feet (500 meters) above sea level, between the Cauca and Tonusco rivers. Founded in 1541 by Jorge Robledo, Santa Fe de Antioquia—originally Villa de Santafé—became the City of Antioquia in 1545 after receiving its coat of arms from King Felipe II the Handsome. By 1547, it had been elevated to Parish Church by Popayan’s Archbishop, and seven years later, became the capital of the surrounding region of Antioquia. In later years, difficulties in trading eventually led to the decline of Santa Fe de Antioquia, whose status as the regional capital was transferred to Medellín. Cradled by the lush green vegetation of the surrounding mountains, the cobblestone streets of the historic center wind past homes dating to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries that are made of rammed earth, adobe, and bahareque (wattle and daub). The Cathedral, constructed in 1799, and four additional churches demonstrate the colonial influence of the Catholic Church and the architectural wealth of the town. Recent infrastructure improvements and road construction in northeastern Colombia have led to a surge of tourism in Santa Fe de Antioquia. This, along with development pressures and insufficient urban planning and protection threaten this pristine historic center.

Since the Watch

Since Watch listing, the Municipality of Antioquia has allocated $260,000 for the development of a management plan for the historic center. July 2010

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