Santa Cruz de Mompox
The Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox has preserved its Spanish colonial character well.
The city was founded on May 3, 1537 by Don Alonso de Heredia as a safe port on the Magdalena. Santa Cruz de Mompox became quite prosperous as a port for the transportation of goods upriver into the interior. A royal mint was established here and the town was famous for its goldsmiths. This prosperity had begun to wane in the Nineteenth Century, but continued until early in the Twentieth Century when the river shifted and sediment accumulated on this arm of the river.
Map of Santa Cruz de MompoxLoad map
Although Mompox was an important and prosperous port upriver from Cartagena, it was never very large. It hasn't really grown and has a very relaxed and lethargic atmosphere. It's no wonder rocking chairs are popular here. We quickly took over a few of our own at a little cafe and just watched the river flow by.
Arriving in the early morning off an overnight bus, our first impressions of Mompox were not positive. Bus offices are at least a few blocks inland while the historic core runs parallel to the river and is only a few hundred meters long and about 2 blocks wide. Outside of this clean, preserved colonial core, Mompox is mostly a rundown and dirty village as far as we could tell. But the core is beautiful. The original buildings are also run down but in an atmospheric kind of way. There are three small plazas along the waterfront and the churches and old marketplace have been nicely restored. There are also boat tours along the river in the afternoon. Staying in one of the colonial homes rounds out the experience. This was the "quietest" and least developed of the major tourist sites we visited in Colombia.
Unless you really want to get lazy a day is easily enough to take in the sites. There are both early morning and overnight buses to Cartagena and we arrived on a direct overnight bus from San Gil that originated in Bogota so while it is still a long journey, the route to and from the south has become much simpler.
Cartagena, the masterpiece of the empire. At the same time, surraunded for pirates from England, and Holand. If you are a wealty, and aristocratic spaniard, living in Cartagena during the XVII-XVIII centuries, the smarter way to live in the area was moving to Mompox. An island in midle of the Magic Magdalena river, in midle of the rute to Honda-Bogota, and a shelter far away from Spain. Just the idea of Spain. Perhaps Seville was the model to build Mompox. One of the most magical Unesco Sites.
Seven churches. San Francisco church just an idea of baroche.
Breakfast at the marketplace. Arepa de huevo with an fresh orange juice in front of the river. You will love it.
The marketplace from the river...just divine.
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