Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman -
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The White City / Photo Ideas
I have visited and stayed in Popayan 3 times - 2010, 2012 and 2020. Popayan is known as the 'white city', like Arequipa
in Peru and Sucre
because of the color of the stone that the buildings are contructed of. It is pleasant to stroll around the streets and take it all in and there are some obvious
things to take photos of and also, if you have an artistic eye, some not so obvious things to photograph. The not so obvious photos are things such as the
interesting shapes you see, doorways, windows, street lamps and people wearing colorful cloths against the white backdrop. On the other hand there are cathedrals,
bell towers, the plaza and statues. The main plaza is surrounded by white buildings - the clocktower, the cathedral (Catedral Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion)
and other buildings and shops. In the center of the plaza is a statue of Francisco Jose de Caldas (1768-1816) - a lawyer and geographer. The city has some nice
churches - Iglesia de San Jose, Iglesia de la Ermita (the oldest in Popayan) and Iglesia Santo Domingo. There is the arched brick Humillidero bridge and the old
El Puente de Custodia bridge to see also.
Walk Up Belen Hill
At the end of the street there are stairs leading up Belen hill to church Iglesia de Belen. It has a shrine beside
the stairs set in rock of 2 figures - one at the top and one below looking up towards the other. The stairway up to the church has many statues along the way.
The walk up only takes about 5-10 minutes and you get a good view of the city once you have ascended. The church itself has one bell tower with 3 bells of different
sizes on the left side and an arched doorway, there is a big cross on the ground on the right side. The church faces the north/west. In the distance towards the
left of the front of the church is a hill with a statue of a man on horseback, this is Morro de Tulcan hill and the man is the founder of the city. Popayan is a
nice place to visit for a night or 2 and is quite safe. There are some interesting places to visit in the surrounding area like Silvia which has markets on Tuesdays,
also Purace, San Juan, Tierradentro, Coconuco and San Agustin.
Bus To Cali Or Pasto
From Popayan you can travel by bus 3hrs north to Cali
(sit on the right for spectacular views down into the valleys) or to Pasto