Statue in front of Santa Clara church.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Museo Santa Clara


One of Bogotá's most richly decorated churches, the Santa Clara is also its oldest (along with Iglesia de San Francisco). Deconsecrated in 1968, it was acquired by the government and is now run as a museum, with paintings by some of Colombia's most revered baroque artists. The church was once part of an adjoining Franciscan convent that was demolished in the early 20th century.

Built between 1629 and 1674, the single-nave construction features a barrel vault coated in golden floral motifs that looks down over walls entirely covered by 148 paintings and sculptures of saints. Interactive panels are available in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bogotá attractions

1. Observatorio Astronómico

0.04 MILES

Conceptualized by celebrated Colombian botanist José Celestino Mutis, the 1803 tower is reputedly the first astronomical observatory built on the…

2. Museo Histórico Policial

0.09 MILES

This surprisingly worthwhile museum not only gets you inside the lovely ex-HQ (built in 1923) of Bogotá's police force, but gives you 45 minutes or so of…

3. Capitolio Nacional

0.09 MILES

On the southern side of the plaza stands this neoclassical seat of congress. It was begun in 1847 but, due to numerous political uprisings, not completed…

4. Casa de Nariño


On the south side of Plaza de Bolívar, beyond the Capitolio Nacional and reached via Carreras 8 or 7, this is Colombia's neoclassical presidential…

5. Edificio Liévano

0.12 MILES

On the western side of the plaza, this French-style building is now home to the alcaldía (mayor's office). The building was erected between 1902 and 1905.

6. Plaza de Bolívar

0.13 MILES

The usual place to start discovering Bogotá is the giant concrete Plaza de Bolívar, the heart of the original town. What it lacks in green foliage it…

7. Iglesia de San Ignacio

0.14 MILES

The Jesuits began this iconic church in 1610 and, although opened for worship in 1635, it was not completed until their expulsion in 1767. It was the…

8. Capilla del Sagrario

0.15 MILES

This small baroque cathedral has more to see than its bigger brother next door, the Catedral Primada, including six large paintings by Gregorio Vásquez.