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Thursday 24th August
Colombia Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Colombia is in northern South America. It is bordered by Panama, the North Pacific, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea.

Bogota is the capital city. Other major cities are Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena and Medellin.

The terrain consists of flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains and eastern lowland plains. Rivers include the Caqueta, the Cauca, the Guaviare, the Magdalena and the Putumayo.

The climate is tropical with cooler temperatures in the highlands.

Environment
Colombia has a number of national parks, sanctuaries and natural reserves.

Serrania de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park, stretching from the lowlands of the Amazon Basin to the slopes of the Andean Mountains, is inhabited by the Andean bear, jaguar, puma and tapir. Other animals found in Colombia include spider monkeys, howler monkeys and capuchins.

Los Katios National Park, comprising of hills, forests and plains, is a World Heritage site in north-western Colombia. It is the home to a number of threatened animal species, four hundred and fifty species of birds and many endemic plants.

In 2009 an expedition to Colombia, known to have a diverse collection of amphibians, recorded new species of frogs in the Tacarcuna area, close to the border with Panama.

Seaflower, one of Colombia's UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserves, covers around ten percent of the Caribbean Sea. It includes the Providence barrier reef, a major site of coral and fish diversity.

Architecture
Pre-Hispanic structures include underground tombs in the National Archeological Park of Tierradentro and religious monuments in the San Agustin Archeological Park.

Cartagena, built by the Spanish in the sixteenth century, is a World Heritage site comprising the Port, Fortresses and Monuments.

Santa Cruz de Mompox, another early Spanish city on the World Heritage List, was built along the banks of the Magdalena river.

Population
The population of Colombia was estimated at 44,725,543 in 2011.

Languages
Spanish is the official language. A number of indigenous languages are spoken.

Religion
The majority of people in Colombia are Christians; many are Roman Catholics.

Food
Soups and stews are popular in Colombia. A traditional stew is ajiaco made with chicken, potatoes, cream, capers and avocado or corn.

Meat or fish are part of the main course; seafood is plentiful on the Caribbean coast. Pasta, rice, breadfruit, cassava, red beans, lentils, plantains and tomatoes are available.

A number of recipes make use of banana leaves, for example, cheese wrapped in banana leaves. Tortillas, made from maize and wrapped around a filling, are another favourite meal.

Rice is often used in desserts. One such recipe is for a sweet rice dish cooked in coconut milk. A number of exotic fruits are grown.

Drinks include Colombian coffee, carbonated drinks, local wine and rum.

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