|Built in 1929, this church is embedded into|
the Andes mountainside in Vélez.
The places we did not see in this charming city were: 1) the caves where the aboriginal folks hid out from the Spanish, reputed to have underground waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites as well as fossilized remains of a chief; and 2) the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snow, unique because it has an entrance on the side and it was the first church built here in 1560. Obviously this means another trip to try and see these antiquities.
|Interior view of the church in Vélez.|
|Outside entrance view of College - photo by Isabel|
|My shot of interior courtyard of National College - immense!|
The statue of a huge guitar arm representing the influence of Tiple here and the guabina music have led to festivals that offer more of the same throughout the year. Since the 16th Century, Veleñas goods have been finding favor in and out of the city... here you can find both agricultural and crafts products in abundance. The fine art of turning sugar cane into sugar was mastered here enough so that Velenas preserves were, and still are, among some of the best. Baked goods, candy, cheese, hams, canvas and sandals, along with leather goods including saddles are still sold extensively. Horse and mule breeding are among the top economic agricultural products.But the pressure for agricultural lands grew through the 17th century and so, like much of Colombia, it was learned too late that old growth trees are a greater function than just wood to burn or build with - the relatively new awareness of trees serving to anchor the steep hillsides is coming to Vélez as well.
|Privately owned former home of First Colombian Pres. Parra|
|The view from Parra's house today may be similar to 1876.|
|Our group in front of Parra's casa- Photo by Ana Elisa G.|
Another short stop was to see an orchid farm. It is right across the street from the National University College tucked inside an old house, not dissimilar from Parra's workplace above. Everywhere you looked there were orchids of all shapes, sizes and colors. Many of which will only survive in the Vélez climate.
|I really wanted this one but it is a local one.|
|Perhaps a familiar orchid to many... the one I chose.|
|Isabel's photo of this one was better than mine.|
COMING UP NEXT: Getting Away to Chiquinquirá - Please come back and enjoy more travels through Colombia!