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Museo Del Oro – Bogota’s Fabulous Gold Museum

Museo del Oro – Bogota’s Fabulous Gold Museum

The first thing we did on arriving in Bogota was to visit the Museo del Oro – the world’s largest gold museum. Only about 15% of its collection containing roughly 30,000 pieces is on display. And what a display it is. Even if you’re not normally a museum person this one is worth visiting. It’s likely to be one of the highlights of your stay in Bogota.

The fantastic workmanship – dating back to pre-Hispanic times – and the volume of gold pieces is astounding. The only other place I’ve been that rivals this for gold is the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.

At the Museo del Oro there isn’t just gold to be seen. The pieces in stone, pottery and metal are equally captivating. It’s not only the pieces that are so remarkable; it’s the way they are presented.  They provide a glimpse into the lives of the people from pre-Hispanic times.

The displays are first class and the lighting is sophisticated. Grab an audio guide so you get some understanding of the objects you’re seeing. And don’t miss the pitch black room on one of the upper floors. You start in the dark and over the course of many minutes the walls light up revealing gold pieces – and the cylinder in the center of the floor fills with gold objects.

The curators want to leave you with an unforgettable feeling about Bogota’s gold museum – and they accomplished that.

"Gold mask from teh Museo del Oro"

Gold mask

"Gold breast plates"

Gold breast plates

"Pure gold flying fish"

The flying fish

"A tangle of arms and legs in gold"

Looks like a yoga pose to me

"Two figures in solid gold"

Two figures

"Lighting brings this piece to life"

Lighting brings this piece to life

"The Muisca's gold raft that represents the El Dorado ceremony"

The Muisca’s gold raft that represents the El Dorado ceremony

"Gold objects are beautifully displayed"

Gold objects are beautifully displayed

"Display showing how images were worn on the body"

Display showing how images were worn on the body

"Penetrating eyes"

Pottery mask with penetrating eyes

"The jaguar-man statues of St. Augustine"

The jaguar-man statues of St. Augustine

"Sacrificial victim tied to a post"

Sacrificial victim tied to a high post and pierced with arrows until he bled to death. His blood was then offered up to the sun.

"the thinker in stone"

Reminds me of ‘The Thinker’

"Pre-hispanic nose rings"

They were way ahead of us with regards to using nose rings

"Male figure"

Male figure

"Looks like he's got a mouthful of cocoa leaves"

Looks like he’s got a mouthful of cocoa leaves

"The final stop in the museum - and a cylinder in the floor filled with gold art objects"

The final stop in the museum – and a cylinder in the floor filled with gold art objects

Useful Information about Bogota’s Gold Museum

  • The museum is open from Tuesday until Saturday from 9 am until 6 pm.
  • On Sundays and public holidays it’s open from 10 am until 4 pm.
  • It is closed on Mondays.
  • The entry fee is 3,000 Colombia pesos (about $1.50) but on Sundays it’s free.
  • Audio guides can be rented in English, French or Spanish.
  • There is a restaurant and cafe on site.

Have you been to Bogota’s gold museum? 

Other posts from the Colombia trip you might find interesting.

 

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 32 Comments
  1. Wow! What a place. . .I think I’d love spending a few hours there. You’ve about convinced me that we need to expand our future travels list to include Bogota. . .someday . . .

    1. @Jackie Bogota is another big city – but there were three very worthwhile things we did – that didn’t include shopping or dining in the higher end district – the Bogota bike tour, the tour of this gold museum and a tour of the underground salt cathedral.

  2. What an amazing museum. I can just imagine what it’s like if it is similar to the Topkapi Palace. The intricacy of their work is fascinating for pieces that are so old….and our teenagers thought they invented nose rings!!

    1. @Jenny The Topkapi Palace blew me away years ago – more with the sheer volume of the gold I saw – candlesticks weighing 66 kgs – that sort of thing. This wasn’t weight per se – but the sheer number of pieces with intricate workmanship on display. They were very sophisticated designers all those centuries ago.

  3. WOW..It must have been blinding in there. I would love to visit this museum and you did a great job capturing some of the objects up close. They’re all very interesting pieces but I’m drawn to that one that looks like the Thinker.

    1. @Mary There was a lot of reflection happening off the glass in many of my shots. I was actually surprised that we were allowed to take photos of almost everything. There were a few exhibits off limits but only a few.

  4. I’m surprised they show only 15% of their collection. I wonder if some of it travels. I saw an exhibition of gold either in DC or Ottawa years ago but it was so long ago, I can’t remember if it came from Columbia.

    1. @Billie There was one section of the museum – and my photo didn’t turn out – but it was a vault you entered – with big thick doors. I bet they id have a lot of security in place but it wasn’t visible under than the usual security guard in every room that you get in any museum.

  5. This museum trip will be one of those that I never forget. As much as ALL that gold is fabulous, the story it told was more amazing. The head sets were worth their weight in gold as they add a richness to the visit that you’d never get otherwise. It was a great introduction to Colombia and entices you to areas that were not on the radar. Go stand in that round room of gold and you’ll live in the world of rainbows and butterflies forever!
    John aka Hubby of Leigh

  6. I’ve visited the Museo del Oro in Cartagena, which is much smaller, I think, but otherwise similar. Very interesting – and perhaps unique to Colombia(?), these gold museums.

    1. @Sophie I hadn’t realized Cartagena had a gold museum too. A friend emailed me after this came out and let me know of great gold that she saw while visiting some of the museums in the Ukraine last summer.

  7. All that gold is mesmerizing! I do remember all the gold in the King Tut exhibit at the Egyptian museum; one of my favorite museums in the world.

    “The Thinker” is really cute 🙂

  8. Beautiful clear shots from the museum. I haven’t been to the museum (or to Colombia, at all yet), but you’ve reminded me that I should go there. When I was in my twenties, the Art gallery of New South Wales, in Sydney, held a major exhibition from the Museo de Oro. I wish I still had the catalogue, but don’t know what happened to it.

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