|The Puente Boyaca, visible along the Eje Ambiental.|
|Have you seen them? |
|Along the Eje Ambiental, |
pools represent the Rio San Francisco
which flows in a pipeline below ground.
When the Spanish first arrived in Bogotá the city was predominantly seasonal wetlands, with rivers flowing down from the Eastern Hills and spreading out across the savannah.
|The Rio San Francisco, visible |
behind the Quinta de Bolivar.
|A map near the Puente Boyaca |
shows locations of historic
bridges, now buried under asphalt.
But, once the river had 18 major bridges, a map says, across which Bogotanos traveled between La Candelaria - then most of the city - and the city's north.
Last year, during construction of the new TransMilenio line along Carrera 10, workers uncovered walls belonging to an old bridge which spanned the Rio San Agustin near the avenue's intersection with 6th St. The old bridges are considered historical and architectural landmarks, despite their invisbility, and so the TransMilenio designs were altered so as not to disturb the old brickwork. I visited the site, where the Bicentenario Station and a ramp interchange are being built, and could see no sign of the old bridge. The men working on the project knew nothing about it either.
|A homeless person's campsite |
alongside the Rio San Francisco.
One of the few rivers still exposed, albeit in a canal, is the Rio Arzobispo, which runs thru the Parque Nacional and the Teusaquillo neighborhood. Like the other rivers, tho, the Arzobispo (said to be named for an archbishop who committed suicide by leaping over one of its waterfalls during the 1800s) reeks from pollution drained into it by illegal hillside homes and homeless people who live under its bridges.
|The Bicentenario TransMilenio station. Workers doing excavations here found walls from an old bridge spanning the Rio San Agustin.|
|Rivers still flow down from Bogotá's eastern hills - but now flow underground.|
|The Rio Arzobispo runs in a canal, but at least you can see it.|
|Women cover their noses while crossing a bridge over the Rio Arzobispo. Notice the signs on the bridge prohibiting defecation and urination.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours