Saturday, February 11, 2012

Los Martires' Festival of the Rock and Flower

Today, the Los Martires District celebrated the Festival of the Rock and Flower in the San Agustin Park, which contains reproductions of the famous monuments found near the Ecuadorean border.

The festival featured flowers and stonework, which are characteristic of the district, since it is the site of Bogotá's Central Cemetery. 

The festival was nice, and the little San Agustin Park is a surprising and interesting spot amidst Los Martires' traffic, industry and vices.

Bringing a renaissance to Los Martires should be a priority for Bogotá: after all, the neighborhood is in the city's heart and boasts some historical landmarks, including Los Martires Plaza, the La Sabana Train Station and several elegant old churches and grand old houses, now run-down. It also contains lots of retail, small industry, several educational institutions, the city's low-rent red light district, the notorious El Bronx, and lots of poverty and social problems.

The execution of 'La Pola'
But Los Martires also has great potential: whenever the 26th St. and Carrera 10 TransMilenio lines are FINALLY finished, the neighborhood will have good transit access - and that will improve more if Mayor Gustavo Petro follows thru on his idea of putting a regional train line on the existing corridor, which runs right thru Los Martires.

The city might consider Los Martires as the site for the teaching hospital which National University medical students have long asked for. It would be fitting, since the Nacho's original hospital was located beside Los Martires Plaza, now the site of the military recruiting headquarters.

Educational institutions and quality low-rent housing would both revitalize the neighborhood and contribute to the mayor's goal of densifying the city. The city could also find space for a green area which would truly be a central park for Bogotá. One potential space would be part of the huge lot behind the La Sabana Train Station.


A groveling stone figure. 

Some scenes from Bogotá's Los Martires district. 
Bicitaxis lined up by Los Martires Plaza. 

A pedicab, or bicitaxi, passes by the Voto Nacional church. 

A horsecart, or zorrero, by Plaza España. The driver is loading a mattress he just found. 

An aged, graffitied building on Plaza España. 

On Plaza España, concrete seats which I've never seen used. 

Vendors on Plaza España, with the Hospital San Jose behind them.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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