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Regular version of the site

Culture Café: Columbia

On February 20th , we gathered again for yet another Culture Café, this time dedicated to sunny Columbia. The sounds of energetic Latin music filled the halls of our university on this typical grey winter day in Moscow while the Columbian students presented their history and culture to the audience.

We started by learning of Columbian flag – yellow, blue and red. Yellow color is symbolizing all of the land’s gold, blue is for the deep sea and ocean which washes the country’s shores, and the red is a symbol of the blood spilled for the country’s freedom and independence. Then we moved to the Columbian departments and main cities. Of course, there is the capital – the beautiful Bogotá, the most visited city by tourists and definitely one of the places you need to see if you are planning your trip to Columbia. If you find yourself on the shores of Cartagena, don’t forget to see Castillo San Felipe de Barajas – one of the World Heritage Sites. If you love nature and relaxing in the sun, then the beautiful San Andrés island is a place for you. And if you love salsa, then people of Cali got you covered – Cali is known as Salsa Capital and is a host of various Salsa festivals and competitions.

You can hardly find a better place to visit if you love nature. Columbia is the country with second highest biodiversity in the world, behind Brazil only. Some of the rarest species of plants and animals can be found here, and different types of ecosystems located right next to each other. Bird and whale watching, relaxing on beautiful beaches, exploring wildlife of the Amazon jungle, visiting deserts, hiking and more – Columbia has it all.  Humpback whale, golden poison frog, pink dolphins, capybaras are among thousands of animals you can find in the rich natural regions of the country. One of the most magnificent sites to see is the blooming of red algae in Caño Cristales river. Every year between June and November the waters would turn bright red, giving every viewer a completely unique experience.

Columbia is reach not only in the nature department, but in the cultural one as well. The diversity of architecture styles is astonishing – you can find ancient sites, hundreds of years old cathedrals and modern buildings all around the country. The culture of the country had many influences from other Latin American countries, as well as from Europe, mostly Spain. Visit one of the many carnivals and festivals to feel the real power of this mixed cultural life.

And, of course, we just had to learn more about Colombian cuisine. There a lot of delicious things to try and each region usually has its own recipes and twists to common traditional dishes. Ajiaco is a soup most popular in the capital, it is made of chicken, two or three kinds of potato, and corn. Bandeja Paisa comes from Paisa region and its ingredients can vary from region to region, but usually contains red beans, minced beef, chorizo sausage, fried eggs, avocado and more. The most common dish in Columbia is Arepas, different regions have not only different styles of cooking it but also special ways of eating it.

And on that delicious note, with a cup of freshly made Colombian coffee, we finished our journey through the wonderful country of Columbia. Thank you to our presenters for taking us with you!

Text: Evgenia Senkina