After the reopening of Bogotá’s Central Cemetery to guided tours and carefully crafted narrative, the District Tourism Institute (IDT) is offering visitors to the Colombian capital a similar experience with the legendary San Juan de Dios Hospital.
One of the city’s most famous landmarks and declared a National Monument in 2002, the San Juan de Dios is among the oldest hospitals in South America as it was founded during the reign of King Philip V of Spain (1683-1746). Through its iron gates, and under a myriad of arches, passed the soldiers of Simon Bolívar’s Independence campaign, and those who fought in the Thousand Days’ War (1899-1902) between Liberals and Conservatives. It was also the hospital that first treated the residents of SantaFe de Bogotá for illnesses caused by unknown tropical diseases.
The San Juan de Diós consists of 24 main buildings, of which 17, are safeguarded as architectural conservation. The thematic tours take place in three of them: the Immunological Building; San Roque Building; and Foundation Center. The district expects some 2,400 people, between tourists, visitors and residents to enjoy these tours that will run from October 28 to December 3.
Visitors are accompanied by guides taking on the roles of a nun, priest and nurse, adding extra color a place not usually considered an “attraction.” For the IDT’s director Andrés Clavijo, the objective of his latest tour is to promote the city’s architectural heritage and “rescue a memory” of a place indelibly linked to the scientific and medical advancement of the nation. Tours are held on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Information is available on the IDT platform: https://planbogota.bogotadc.travel/