de Leyva (sometimes spelled
Villa de Leiva)
is a beautiful small colonial town in the Boyacá, located to the
east of Bogota some 40 kilometers west of the city of Tuna. With a
population of about 12,000 people, Villa de Leyva is considered to be
one of the finest colonial villages of
and was declared a National Monument in 1954 to preserve its
architecture and history. At an altitude of 2,144 meters above sea
level, it is located in a region where fossils from the Mesozoic and
the Cretaceous abound.
The architecture of Villa de Leyva
Spanish style. When visiting you
will be able to
in the construction of most of the
houses in the village.
Wonderful balconies, arcs
and main doors (it is possible to appreciate this in the old
buildings such as Casa del Primer Congreso, Casa de Don Antonio
Nariño, Casa de La Real Fabrica de Licores, Claustro de San
Agustín). Villa de Leyva is a place of inspiration to poets and
writers. They can find peace in its stone paved streets or just
contemplating the majestic main square, unique in Latin-America.
in June 12, 1572 the city was
named after the first president of the New Kingdom of Granada,
Andrés Díaz Venero de Leyva.
In the city the main areas of interests are the
(Main Square) where besides the Church we find many restaurants and
stores selling some handcrafted art pieces. Most of the streets
around the downtown are made of stones, similar to colonial times.
Near Villa de Leyva, about a 30 minute
drive away from the main square, we find several attractions, such
as: an ostrich farm, a museum (el fosil) and an old astronomic
observatory made of phallic stones ("El Infernito", for "little
hell" in Spanish). There is also a group of seven waterfalls named
"La Periquera" some 15 km away from the town.
A variety of fossils have been
found around Villa de Leyva. These have been deemed important
because of their sizes and their very relevant contributions made to
in 1945, The Plesiosaurus is more than 115 million years old, and is
part of the National Geological Museum’s collection. It is also the
finding place of The Ichthyosaurus, a marine reptile that lived
between 110 and 115 million years ago, which is 8 meters long and
without a tail, and is very similar to another similar specimen
found in Australia. These discoveries show that Villa de Leyva was
immersed by the sea before the Andes Mountains were formed.
The El Fósil
museum has an almost complete
kronosaurus fossil in display, in the
same place in which it was found in 1977.