Monday, December 24, 2012

Casa de Nariño (The Colombian White House)

A couple of days after our visit to the Colombian National Congress building, we visited the Casa de Nariño, which is where the president of Colombia lives and works. It's a similar to what the White House is for the United States. This is the view of the front of the house looking from the National Congress building next door:

You need an appointment to visit, which you can get by sending an email somewhere apparently. Anyway, it looked like the first available appointment would be the week after New Years but they contacted us a couple of days later to tell us that they had an opening last Sunday. It wasn't until the day of our visit that I found out that the Bogota soccer team (The Millionaires) was playing against the Medellin soccer team in the national final later that afternoon so there were probably a bunch of cancellations.

We arrived at the recommended 15 minutes early and signed in. The guard checked our IDs against the list and we waited along with about ten other people for our tour. I was very surprised when our guide, a super-fast-talking soldier, led us in the door without us having to go through a metal detector or even a pat-down. Could you imagine entering pretty much any major public building in the U.S., much less something like the White House, without going through a metal detector? I honestly expected a full rectal exam but we hardly even got a second look. It's not to say there was no security though - we were accompanied by another, larger soldier that didn't seem like he'd put up with any bad behavior. :-)

Unfortunately, you can't take a camera, cell phone, or even a purse (for the women or Euro guys) so I don't have any other photos. Trust me, though, when I say that it's by far the cleanest place in the entire country of Colombia. Even the dirt in the planters outside the building was clean - I checked!

The tour takes you through one wing of the house, which is named for Don Antonio Nariño who originally translated France's Declaration of Human Rights for use during the Colombian independence movement. The building and its furnishings are basic European castle styling with its share of old fittings and artwork. One of the highlights for me was seeing an awesome Fernando Botero original painting in one of the rooms.

Unlike our visit to the Congress building, I didn't have a meetup with anyone famous. I was hoping to see the president but he was probably at some swanky party getting ready to watch the big game. By the way, Bogota ended up winning, which was a big deal since they hadn't won the national championship in something like 25+ years (Philadelphia fans can sympathize...).


  1. Hey wait a minute,the Phils won in 2008.

    1. I didn't say that they NEVER won, just that Philadelphia could relate. :-)


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