Colombia Featured Travel Writing

On high in Colombia: folk tales and park life at Cali’s Loma de la Cruz

According to Caleños, as Cali locals are called, there is an eerie legend about their cross on the hill. Here, in the mid-1500s, two African slaves are said to have defied their masters by getting married in secret. The couple were betrayed, and killed, and were never given a proper burial, so it is said their souls were left wandering the hillside until the placement of a cross laid them to rest. Franciscan friars put the current brick one there in 1909 to replace a wooden cross that gave the spot its name: Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross).

This haunting story lingers on the hill, which remains a space for reflecting on Colombia’s history of slavery and civil war.

“They can silence my song, but they can’t hold back my soul,” reads a massive mural honouring the disappeared.

The hill is also home to the Parque Artesanal, popular for its views, craft stalls and outdoor cultural events. A private company opened the market and exhibition space there in 1990, to display craftsmanship from across the Americas. Soon after, it was expanded into a public park by the local authority.

Read the rest of this short travel feature at The Guardian as part of the “A Great Little Place I Know” series.

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