Travelling to the XVII Century in Barichara

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May 6th 2012
Published: November 11th 2012
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Barichara, an inspiring place given its stone buildings dating from the end of the XVII century and its well-preserved and totally simillar houses, which make you go back to colonial times to experience life as it was lived some centuries ago… I couldn’t help but think of Perouge in France; although the latter is more of the Middle Ages, reminiscing all these old ages became like a search of a feeling for being there if you know what I mean.

Declared a national monument in 1978, thanks to its representative buildings with colonial architecture style from the times of the Spanish conquest, no wonder why many people state that there is not a favourite time to visit the village as Barichara is beautiful all year longñ in fact, they go so far to call it the prettiest village in the country. I must say that I prefer Villa de Leyba, though.

At 118 km from Bucaramanga, which translates into three-hour bus ride. From Bucaramanga, you take a bus going to San Gil and then to Barichara (8,000). On my way there, I saw some French people and I was delighted by it as I want lots of foreigners flocking to our country so that we can change that bad image of ours. Maybe the efforts of Colombian tourism campaigns have to do something with it.

A little bit of history about the village

Some information I found on the internet states that the village's name means "Place of resting or blooming trees" in Guane language and that it was founded by the Pradilla de La Parra Family who made it in order to venerate the Virgin of the Stone.

Apparently, the virgin appeared on a stone to a native, which was a reason why people started adoring that stone. The priest, at that time, didn't believe the story so nothing happened until Francisco Padilla decided to found the village in 1705. And that is how a village that would raise the only Colombian president from Santander, Aquileo Parra, started being famous.

Barichara, antiquity is the charm

If you are looking for a peaceful calm place, this is it, I must confess that apart from some handicraft shops, selling hammocks, tables, fountains, sculptures and the like, the place was deserted, lucky me that I could find some restaurants open. I just had this thought of working and living there, and I said, no, I just imagine the pace of the town, all slow and quiet and if this is reflected in the students I will have, I 'd better continue looking elsewhere for work.

Having said that, the peace of the town and its remarkable houses would make me think of a favourite place to retire. At that age, yes, who wouldn't like to have that quietness and peace to end your active life.

The park

Huge and with lots of trees that provide the shade needed to rest and have a pleasant chat, I said pleasant! Never thought, I would have to be running on the streets of Barichara. The lunch was good, though.

That day, I saw some vendors selling some curious things like porcelaines of turtles and squirrels that I wouldn't buy myself. I also was entertained by a little girl who was running after a balloon that
Lots of amazing street viewsLots of amazing street viewsLots of amazing street views

Por aquí tuve que correr yo
apparently had a chip inserted as there was something fishy in it. Everytime the girl was laughing, the nasty balloon would get away. seriously! that was astonishing and a very nice sight.

I guess I missed the visit to the cemetery, which was meant to be pleasant, as horrible as it sounds... but it was so sunny and it coincided with the fact that when I got there, it was high time for lunch so I decided to skip it. Talking to friends, they told me that there are some stone sculptures as well as a chapel worthwhile admiring, so please do not do like me< if you ever go to Barichara, go to the cemetery.

How I went there

I got a bus from Bucaramanga's bus station to San Gil which took me two hours, and then, after negotiating with a very slow clerk that is better remembered as "la nueva", I bought a ticket to Barichara for 4,000 pesos. So all together, it was three hours to get there. I was told that if you drive, you'll be there in only two hours.

Additional photos below
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