The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)

Museo del Oro, also known as “the gold museum” or “museum of gold” is an intriguing and historic collection of pre-hispanic antiques located in Bogota, Colombia. The museum houses one of the most extensive archaeological collections in South America. With over 50,000 ancient relics, the gold museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the culture and heritage of South America.

Pre-hispanic gold sculpture in museo del oro, Bogota
Image of a pre-colonial gold sculpture in Museo del Oro (gold museum). Bogota, Colombia. Image by Erik Magnus / Colombia Please.

How Big is the Gold Museum?

When arriving, the museum looked somewhat small from the outside and even when first entering it seemed underwhelming. However, it was much bigger than I expected. In fact, you could probably spend the entire day viewing exhibits and researching Colombia’s ancient heritage. Generally, I’d give yourself 2-4 hours to explore.

The museum is setup in a way that navigates the visitor through each floor in an orderly fashion. There is a lower level that houses a small store and coffee shop. The cafe has some delicious coffee and sells some of the best packaged beans in Bogota, I would definitely recommend stopping in for a cup.

The second and third floor are packed wall-to-wall with pre-hispanic artifacts and literature highlighting the magnificent history of the region and culture. Overall, it’s a pretty big place.

What’s Inside the Gold Museum?

Museo del Oro houses a plethora of metallurgy (specifically gold), lithics, ceramics and other materials. The hallways are decorated with figurines, ornaments, sculptures, carvings, outfits, armbands, chest plates, head gear and a range of other religious and spiritual artifacts. Museo del Oro is one of the largest (if not the largest) collection of gold artifacts in the world.

Gold artifacts - armband - Museo del Oro Gold Museum
Gold artifacts including an armband housed in Museo del Oro (gold museum). Bogota, Colombia. Image by Erik Magnus / Colombia Please.

There are four main exhibits: People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia (second floor), The Offering and The Flying Chamanic (third floor) and The Profunditation Room.

People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia features artifacts made by Goldsmith’s from different tribes in the region before the Spanish Empire colonized Colombia.

The Flying Chamanic is a recreation of an ancient gold ceremony performed by indigenous shamans.

The Offering is divided in three parts: The Offering Room, the Offering Boat and the Lake. The featured item in the Offering Boat room is the Muisca Raft, also known as The Golden Raft of El Dorado. The raft is 600-700 years old but wasn’t found until 1969. Scholars believe the gold ornament was used as an offering and placed in a cave during a ceremony. The raft is pictured below.

The Muisca raft - The Golden Raft of El Dorado.
The Muisca raft – The Golden Raft of El Dorado. Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) – Bogota, Colombia. Image by Erik Magnus / Colombia Please.

The Profunditation Room is the last room before finishing the journey through Museo del Oro. The Profunditation Room provides video presentations, artworks and a summary of some of the most important artifacts in the museum.

The gold museum even houses a mummy! I won’t post a picture here because taking pictures of the mummy is prohibited (light can damage the artifact).

Pre-hispanic outfit made of gold housed in Museo del Oro (gold museum) Bogota Colombia.
Pre-hispanic outfit made of gold housed in Museo del Oro (gold museum). Bogota, Colombia. Image by Erik Magnus / Colombia Please.

Where is the Gold Museum?

Museo del Oro is located in Colombia’s Capital City, Bogota. The address is Cra. 6 #15-88, Santa Fé, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia. It is located near Plaza de Bolivar, the main square of the city. It’s surrounded by churches, palaces and government buildings. Almost every taxi and Uber driver will know where “Museo del Oro” is located but make sure to give yourself some extra time, traffic is horrible in Bogota.

When should I Visit the Gold Museum?

Museo del Oro is open from 9am-6pm Tuesday through Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday. Entry is free on Sundays and public holidays but I would recommend visiting a different day because it gets extremely busy due to the waived entry fee. Also, the entry fee is only around $1 (usd) or 3,000-6,000 pesos.

Tour guides are available in multiple language for $2-3 (usd) or 8,000-12,000 pesos. The museum used to have free one-hour tours at 11am and 4pm Tuesday-Saturday. I’m not sure if the one-hour free tours are still available so I would call the museum in advance to ask about the free tours. However, I would recommend spending more than one-hour in the museum. If you would like to call Museo del Oro, the telephone number is +57 601 343-2222.

For more information you can check out the Museo del Oro website.

Conclusion

Museo del Oro (gold museum) is a fascinating place full of opulent artifacts created by pre-hispanic goldsmith’s and cultures like the Tolima, Quimbaya, Muisca and Zenú.

The museum houses the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world and has a 2-3 foot steel safe door protecting the exhibits. It’s an awesome place to visit if you enjoy history, culture and art. If you’re in Bogota, I would highly recommend taking a few hours to visit the gold museum.

Tags: BogotaColombiaHistoryTourismTravel

Erik Magnus

About the Author

Erik Magnus is a writer, editor, blogger & webmaster. He is one of the main contributors to Colombia Please & has spent a significant amount of time in the country of Colombia.

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