Colombia has a vivid religious history and houses some of the most beautiful religious art, artifacts, furniture and jewelry in all the continent. Explore our churches, monasteries and religious art museums to enjoy the treasures on display:
Religious Art Museum, Popayan
Popayan’s religious art museum is housed in a beautiful 18th century home and contains an amazing display of religious oil paintings, carvings, jewelry, furniture and ornaments dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The museum offers guided tours of its permanent exhibition as well as conferences, concerts and educational workshops. Its collection is considered one of the finest in the country.
Santa Clara Church Museum, Bogotá
The Santa Clara is one of the most interesting churches in Colombia’s capital. It’s no longer used for worship but has since been turned into a museum so visitors can enjoy its rich decoration. The church was built some time in the early 17th century and, along with the nearby San Francisco church, is one of the oldest churches in Bogotá. It houses almost 150 religious paintings and sculptures of saints and has elaborate gold fittings too.
Religious Art Museum, Mompox
The colonial town of Mompox is famous for its Easter celebrations but, if you miss them, you can always visit its religious art museum. The collection is housed in the town’s historical center and boasts more than 350 pieces, including beautiful gold and silver jewelry, from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and oil paintings of holy scenes. Guided tours of the permanent collection are available and the museum also hosts recitals, conferences, concerts and educational workshops.
Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral, Zipaquirá
Zipaquirá is one of Colombia’s most impressive churches, built 200 meters underground within the tunnels of an old salt mine. More than 3,000 people attend services each week at the church, which is widely praised for its architecture. There is plenty for an occasional visitor to see too, such as marble sculptures and icons and ornaments hand-carved into the rock. Zipaquirá is 50km north of Bogotá and most day trippers take the capital’s Savannah tourist train to visit it.
Candelaria Desert Monastery Museum, Raquira
This was one of the first monasteries for religious contemplation founded in all of the Americas, founded in 1604 by Augustinian monk Father Mateo Delgado who took in hermits living in the caves near this Boyaca town. More than 400 years later the monastery is still active and visitors can tour the church and visit the museum, where art, crafts, antiques and other artifacts are on display. The monastery’s religious paintings are some of the most impressive items in the exhibition.
Franciscan Community Monastery Museum, Mongui
Mongui is one of the prettiest colonial towns in Boyacá and this Franciscan church and monastery is well worth a visit. It was built between 1694 and 1760 and houses religious treasures dating back to the fifteenth century. The most important exhibits on display here are the religious paintings, more than 130 of them including oil on wood, oil on canvas and two lithographs, exhibited alongside Franciscan artifacts and furniture. (You may also enjoy: Five places to visit if you want to learn about Colombia’s indigenous culture)
Sacred museums filled with stunning artwork, artifacts, literature and jewelry? Live this experience in Colombia. If you liked this article please feel free to share it on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of your social networks.