The Magic of Santa Marta: This Colombian Maritime Port on the Caribbean Is Renowned for Its Tourism, Culture and History
Wyels, Joyce Gregory, Americas (English Edition)
Santa Marta's crescent beaches sparkle against the dramatic backdrop of the world's tallest coastal range, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Just up the coast, beyond the low-key charms of the P fishing village Taganga, Tayrona National Park promises an endless succession of secluded coves framed by verdant rainforest. It is not surprising that this pleasant city on the Caribbean coast has long basked in the approval of Colombians seeking sun and sand.
But Santa Marta offers more than a pretty face. The mountains whose snowy peaks soar above bathers and beachgoers conceal traces of millennium-old cities built by the Tayrona, the advanced civilization that rivaled the Inca in its creativity and intellectual development.
In contrast to the modern high-rises that line Rodadero Beach and Bello Horizonte, somnolent colonial buildings like the Customs House (Casa de la Aduana) bear witness to pivotal events that played out here, from the founding of the country to the death of the Liberator Simon Bolivar. Besieged first by pirate attacks and later by civil wars, the history of Santa Marta reads like a compendium of natural disasters and other calamities interspersed with improbable tales worthy of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel.
As he researched The General in His Labyrinth, much of which takes place in Santa Marta, Garcia Marquez himself recounts " ... sinking into the quicksands of voluminous, contradictory, and often uncertain documentation." For instance, by some accounts, the deed authorizing the founding of the city disappeared during a 1543 attack by the pirate Robert Waal. Others say that the document was lost during the fire that burned the main altar of the Cathedral in 1860. The Cathedral, described in the local newspaper as "full of mementos and legends," was completed after 30 years of construction starting in 1766. The …
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Publication information: Article title: The Magic of Santa Marta: This Colombian Maritime Port on the Caribbean Is Renowned for Its Tourism, Culture and History. Contributors: Wyels, Joyce Gregory - Author. Magazine title: Americas (English Edition). Volume: 62. Issue: 1 Publication date: January-February 2010. Page number: 16+. © 2007 Organization of American States. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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