Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox

Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox

Founded in 1540 on the banks of the River Magdalena, Mompox played a key role in the Spanish colonization of northern South America. From the 16th to the 19th century the city developed parallel to the river, with the main street acting as a dyke. The historic centre has preserved the harmony and unity of the urban landscape. Most of the buildings are still used for their original purposes, providing an exceptional picture of what a Spanish colonial city was like.

Centre historique de Santa Cruz de Mompox

Fondée en 1540 sur les rives de la Magdalena, Mompox joua un rôle clé dans l'emprise espagnole sur le nord de l'Amérique du Sud. Du XVIe au XIXe siècle, la ville se développa parallèlement au fleuve, la première rue servant de digue. Le centre historique a préservé l'harmonie et l'intégrité de son paysage urbain. La majorité des bâtiments conservent aujourd'hui leur fonction d'origine, offrant ainsi l'image exceptionnelle de ce que fut une ville coloniale espagnole.

وسط سانتا كروز التاريخي في موبوكس

تأسست مدينة موبوكس عام 1540 على ضفاف نهر ماجدلينا وقد أدّت دوراً محورياً في سيطرة اسبانيا على شمال أمريكا الجنوبيّة. منذ القرن السادس وحتّى التاسع، نمت المدينة بمحاذاة النهر واستحال الشارع الأوّل سدّاً. حافظ الوسط التاريخي على انسجام منظره الحضري وتكامله. وتحافظ اليوم غالبيّة المباني على وظيفتها الأساسيّة فتُشكّل الصورة الاستثنائيّة على ما كان ماضياً مدينة مستعمرة اسبانيّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

蒙波斯的圣克鲁斯历史中心

蒙波斯(Mompox)于1540年建立于马格达莱纳河(the River Magdalena)河畔,在西班牙殖民统治南美洲北部时发挥了重要作用。从16至19世纪,这个城市沿着河流两岸逐渐发展扩大,主要街道都担当着河堤的作用。历史中心保持了城市景观的和谐与统一。现在大部分建筑物,仍保留原来的使用目的,真实地反映了西班牙统治时期的殖民地城市画面。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический центр города Санта-Крус-де-Момпокс

Момпокс, основанный в 1540 г. на берегах реки Магдалена, играл важную роль в испанской колонизации севера Южной Америки. С XVI по XIX вв. город развивался вдоль реки, его главная улица играла роль дамбы. Исторический центр сохранил гармонию и единство городского ландшафта. Большинство зданий все еще используется по своему первоначальному назначению, давая яркое представление о том, как выглядел испанский колониальный город.v

source: UNESCO/ERI

Centro histórico de Santa Cruz de Mompox

Fundada en 1540, a orillas del rí­o Magdalena, Mompox desempeñó un importante papel en el establecimiento de la dominación española en el norte de Sudamérica. Desde el siglo XVI hasta el XIX, la ciudad fue creciendo paralelamente al rí­o y su calle principal serví­a de dique de contención del rí­o. En su centro histórico se ha preservado la armoní­a e integridad del paisaje urbano. La mayorí­a de los edificios siguen cumpliendo todaví­a su función primigenia, ofreciendo así­ una imagen excepcional de lo que fue una ciudad colonial española.

source: UNESCO/ERI

サンタ・クルーズ・デ・モンポスの歴史地区

source: NFUAJ

Historisch centrum van Santa Cruz de Mompox

De stad Mompox werd in 1540 gesticht aan de oevers van de rivier de Magdalena. De oude stad heeft een belangrijke rol gespeeld in de Spaanse kolonisatie van het noorden van Zuid-Amerika. Van de 16e tot de 19e eeuw ontwikkelde de stad zich parallel aan de rivier, waarbij de hoofdstraat fungeerde als een dijk. Het historisch centrum heeft de harmonie en eenheid van het stedelijk landschap behouden. De stadsgebouwen schetsen een goed beeld van hoe een Spaanse koloniale stad er uitzag en de meeste gebouwen worden nog steeds gebruikt voor hun oorspronkelijke doeleinden.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox © OUR PLACE
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Santa Cruz de Mompox, located in the swampy inland tropics of northern Colombia’s Bolívar Department, was founded about 1539 on the Magdalena River, the country’s principal waterway. Mompox was of great logistical and commercial importance, as substantial traffic between the port of Cartagena and the interior travelled along the river. It consequently played a key role in the Spanish colonization of northern South America, forming an integral part of the processes of colonial penetration and dominion during the Spanish conquest and of the growth of communications and commerce during the 17th to early 19th centuries. The city developed parallel to the river, its sinuous main street growing freely and longitudinally along the river bank, on which barricade walls (albarradas) were built to protect the city during periods of flooding. Instead of the central plaza typical of most Spanish settlements, Mompox has three plazas lined up along the river, each with its own church and each corresponding to a former Indian settlement. Most of the buildings in its 458-ha historic centre are in a remarkable state of conservation and still used for their original purposes, thus preserving an exceptional illustration of a Spanish riverine settlement. Founded in 1540 on the banks of the River Magdalena, Mompox played a key role in the Spanish colonization of northern South America. From the 16th to the 19th century the city developed parallel to the river, with the main street acting as a dyke. The historic centre has preserved the harmony and unity of the urban landscape. Most of the buildings are still used for their original purposes, providing an exceptional picture of what a Spanish colonial city was like.

The historic centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox’s identity as a Spanish colonial river port defines the unique and singular character of its monumental and domestic architecture. From the 17th century onwards, houses were built on the Calle de La Albarrada with the ground floors given over to small shops. These “house-store” buildings are built in rows of between three and ten units. Significant in their contribution to the townscape are the open hallways across the front facades that share a common roof. The private houses of the 17th to early 19th centuries are laid out around a central or lateral open space, creating linked environments adapted to the climate and reflecting local customs. The earliest type of house for merchants or Crown servants has a central courtyard; there is often a secondary courtyard for services attached to the back of the building. Most of the houses retain important features such as decorated portals and interiors, balconies and galleries. The special circumstances of the development of the city along the river have given it a quality with few parallels in this region. Its economic decline in the 19th century conferred a further dimension on this quality, preserving it and making it the region’s most outstanding surviving example of this type of riverine urban settlement.

Criterion (iv): The Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox forms an integral part of the processes of colonial penetration and dominion during the Spanish conquest and the growth of communications and commerce during the 17th to early 19th centuries.

Criterion (v): The special circumstances of the development of the town, which grew freely and longitudinally following the sinuous path of a road roughly parallel to the river, have given it a special quality with few parallels in the region of northern South America. The subsequent economic decline and the remarkable state of preservation that resulted confers a further dimension on this quality, making it the region’s most outstanding surviving example of this type of riverine urban settlement.

Integrity

The boundaries of the Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompoxare clearly defined and include all the elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value. The property is of sufficient size to adequately ensure the complete representation of the features and processes that convey the property’s significance, and it does not suffer from adverse effects of development and/or neglect.

Authenticity

By virtue of the fact that Santa Cruz de Mompox lost much of its economic importance in the 19th century, its historic centre has not been subjected to the pressures for redevelopment that have affected other towns of this type in northern South America. The historic centre’s original street pattern has been preserved intact, along with a large proportion of its earlier buildings. Its level of authenticity is therefore high in terms of its setting, forms, materials and construction techniques. Most of the buildings are still being used for their original purposes. The historic centre has therefore retained its original residential function. The historic centre is generally in a good state of preservation; private owners have considerable pride in their properties, which they maintain in good condition without government funding.

The Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompoxis subject to flooding. The barricade wall that protects La Albarrada and the historic centre leaks and is deteriorating; as a result, there is a risk of damage to utility networks, structural problems in masonry and harm to walls as a result of humidity.

Protection and management requirements

Ownership of the Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox is shared among private individuals, institutions, the Roman Catholic Church (the Diocese of Magangué) and local government authorities. Unusually for Colombia, there is in Mompox a tradition of retaining ownership of private houses within a single family. The historic centre was declared a National Monument under the provisions of Law No. 163 of 1959, which covers the basic principles for the management and protection of the cultural heritage. It has been regulated by a municipal building code since 1970, by means of which all construction work within the historic centre is strictly controlled. There are legal provisions to maintain and protect the urban and architectural heritage while adapting to new conditions and the needs of development. The current urban regulations for the historic centre, which devolve the responsibility for certain aspects of the protection of this historic property to local and regional authorities, were approved by the National Monuments Council in March 1994.

The Colombian Cultural Institute (COLCULTURA), part of the Ministry of Education, is the national agency responsible for the preservation of the historic centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox; it is advised by the National Monuments Council. COLCULTURA's Cultural Heritage Office carries out preservation projects through the Division of Historic Centres and Architectural Heritage and the Technical Secretariat of the National Monuments Council. There is no management plan for the property per se. However, the strict building code of 1994, the urban regulations, the national law for all sites that have cultural interest, plus the supervisory role and technical support by the National Government, exercise effective management of the area. There is control over interventions by private owners within the historic area, and specific functions are assigned to the different entities participating in its protection. This code is the model for all historic towns and town centres in Colombia. There is an effective 183-ha buffer zone prescribed in the planning regulations.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require preparing for and mitigating the high risk of flooding; and taking actions to improve the social and economical conditions of the community in order to overcome problems related to economic stagnation. Additional key management issues that were raised at the time of inscription include restoring the historic character of the important part of the city between Concepción and San Francisco plazas and along the river bank; continuing efforts to ensure the cleanliness of the river bank; and developing a detailed tourism plan that respects the quality of the visitor experience and promotes benefit-sharing mechanisms for local communities as an incentive to enhance their support for the conservation of the property. Priorities for achieving this include concerted planning and action among all relevant national, regional and local governments and local communities. The long-term sustainability of the property would benefit from the further development of an integrated plan that includes all of these actions, and the provision of adequate and sustained institutional and financial support.

Long Description

The historic centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox is an outstanding example of a Spanish colonial settlement established on the banks of a major river and serving in an important strategic and commercial role which has survived remarkably intact to the present day.

Mompox was founded in 1540 by Juan de Santa Cruz, Governor of Cartagena, who gave his name to the site. Its history forms an integral part of the processes of colonial penetration and dominion during the Spanish conquest and of the growth of communications and commerce during the 17th to early 19th centuries. It is a riverside settlement on the country's main waterway into the interior highlands, the Magoarena River, close to its confluence with the Cauca River, the other main communication waterway.

The town grew along the banks of the river, on which walls were built to protect it during periods of high water. Instead of a central square or plaza to serve as the site of government, it had three plazas in line, each with its own church, and corresponding with a former Indian settlement. Mompox was of great logistic and commercial importance: traffic between the port of Cartagena and the interior travelled down the rivers, while overland routes also converged upon the town.

The growth of Mompox was favoured by the appearance of a ruling social class of colonists, often employed by the colonial regimes and granted the privilege of possessing land and taking Indians, deprived of their lands and pushed into small reservations, as virtual slaves to work its. [something missing here] The clerics and members of the religious orders formed the other element of the ruling class in the town, and the churches and convents of the Augustinians, Dominicans, Franciscans, and later the Jesuits came to dominate its monumental appearance.

The slow development of Mompox during the colonial period is reflected in its urban consolidation: during the course of the 17th century it changed from a narrow linear settlement to a more two-dimensional arrangement of streets, connecting lanes and varied facades. It was the streets that determined the evolution of the urban fabric of the town. Further growth was limited by the flood plain lying immediately behind La Albarada.

With the early wars of independence and the ensuring civil wars Mompox began to fall into a decline, and this was made worse by the gradual change of course of the Magdalena River, which left the town's river frontage stranded and deprived it of its identity as a river port. The result was economic stagnation, which lasted until the last decade of the 20th century.

The urban design of Mompox grew from its relationship with the river. Each square has its own churches, and these churches served as forts in the early years of the settlements. The most interesting one is probably the church of Santa Barbara, dating from the late 16th century, whose delicate structure and spacious interior are complemented by its tower, the most outstanding architectural feature of the town. From the 17th century onwards, houses were built on the Calle de La Albarada with the ground floors given over to small shops. These 'house-store' buildings, which began to appear in the 17th century, are built in rows of between three and ten units. Significant in their contribution to the townscape is the fact that the open hallways across the front share a common roof. Many have now been adapted to residential use.

The private houses of the 17th to early 19th centuries are laid out round a central or lateral open space, creating linked environments adapted to the climate and local customs. The earliest type of house for merchants or Crown servants is that with a central patio; there is often a secondary patio for services attached at the back of the building. The house round the lateral patio is later and usually applied as smaller building plots or after the division of a central patio building. A subgroup results from the separation of part of a large central-patio house: single long buildings divided up into smaller dwellings survive from the early period and retain important features such as decorated portals and interiors, balconies and galleries.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Mompox was founded in 1540 by Juan de Santa Cruz, Governor of Cartagena, who gave his name to the site. This occurred only seven years after the foundation of Cartagena and two years after that of the capital of the New Kingdom Of Granada, Santa Fe de Bogota. Its history forms an integral part of the processes of colonial penetration and dominion during the Spanish conquest and of the growth of communications and commerce during the 17th to early 19th centuries. It is a riverside settlement on the country's main waterway into the interior highlands, the Magdalena river, close to its confluence with the Cauca river, the other main communication waterway. The town was sited on one of the few areas of higher ground (33 m above sea-level> in a flat, swampy region subject to flooding.

The town grew along the banks of the river, on which walls were built to protect it during periods of high water. Instead of a central square or plaza to serve as a site for government, it had three plazas in line, each with its own church, and corresponding with a former Indian settlement. Mompox was of great logistic and commercial importance: traffic between the port of Cartagena and the interior travelled down the rivers, whilst overland routes also converged upon the town.

The growth of Mompox was favoured by the appearance of a ruling social class of colonists, often employed by the colonial regimes and granted the privilege of possessing land and taking Indians as virtual slaves to work its (the encomienda system>. The Indians were deprived of their lands and pushed into small reservations. However, this, coupled with the harsh climatic and geographical conditions, made farming and ranching difficult,with the result that there was no solid socio-economic basis for the town, which grew only slowly. It also attracted a motley population, among whom smuggling was a profitable way of life. Such growth as there was during the Colonial period was due to the relatively small number of more affluent burgesses, whose wealth came from farming and trade. A number came to Mompox from Cartagena, bringing with them craftsmen and artisans to supply their more luxurious needs. The clerics and members of the religious orders formed the other element of the ruling class in the town, and the Churches and convents Of the Augustinians, Dominicans, Franciscans, and, later, Jesuits came to dominate its monumental appearance.

The slow development of Mompox during the Colonial period is reflected in its urban consolidation. During the course of the 17th century it changed from a narrow linear settlement to a more two-dimensional arrangement of streets, linking lanes, and varied facades. It was the streets that determined the evolution of the urban fabric of the town, their roles being demonstrated by their names - La Calle Real del Medio (The Royal Central Street>, La Calle de Atras (The Street Behind>, and Calle de la Albarrada (The Street of the Retaining Wall>. Further growth was limited by the flood plain lying immediately behind La Albarrada. The progress that was made by Mompox is well illustrated by the mid-18th century historian Pedro Salzedo del Villas, who noted in his Apuntamientos Historiales that "the city contained six hundred houses and stores with brick walls and tile roofs on most of them, all large and comfortable and well built; they are solid, generally one or two storeys, and have ample vestibules and gardens. There are nearly 1800 thatch-roofed houses and cottages altogether ... "

With the early wars for independence and the ensuing civil wars in the first half of the 19th century Mompox began to fall into decline, as its upper-class citizens died or went into exile and farming was abandoned under the pressure of hostilities. The insecurity led to both the town and its region losing their socio-economic dynamism, and this was made worse by the gradual change of course by the Magdalena river, which left the town's river frontage stranded and deprived it of its identity as a river port. The result was economic stagnation, which lasted until the last decade Of the 20th century, when tourism has led to some degree of revival.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation