In the year 1537, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada arrived from the north leading a group of 500 men who were tattered and wounded due to a long and very hard journey following the “Rio Grande de la Magdalena” river. He had heard about a civilisation that made vessels to fill them with salt. People in this civilization were good for making beautiful cotton blankets. In their journey the passed through the salt producer towns of Nemocón, Teusa, and Zipaquirá . On March 22nd 1537, they went through Chía and on April the 5th made camp on the Suba hills, place from where they saw many huts and smoke columns surrounding the mountains, this place was called in Muisca language “Muquetá” (means field of flats) or Bacatá (means The end of the fields). Jiménez de Quesada gave this beautiful savannah the name of “Valle de los Alzázares”
Sends two emissaries to watch the land to settle the troops: the first one heads west, towards the Zipa’s royal seat and the second heads east, there they find a village named Teusaquillo, place that called their attention for its beauty, with vegetation and plenty of water but must of all friendly people, this place was “el recreo del Zipa” next to the big mountain, a mystic and sacred place through which a brook called San Bruno used to flow.
This affluent emptied in the river San Francisco previously known as Viracaha (Today the Jiménez Avenue).
And so in a magical landscape, in the Carrera 2 and Calle 12B, today’s Chorro de Quevedo Square, Quezada established his first troop settlement under the name of Santa María de La Esperanza, which later was called Santafé de Bogotá on August the 6th 1538. It was in this same spot that were built twelve houses and a chapel and there takes place the first mass celebrated by Fray Domingo de Las Casas.
This little village would be called after some time “Pueblo Viejo” and would turn into an indigenous housing area, forming the periphery of the colonial city and later it was part of the “handcrafts line” that used to surround east part city. One year later the foundation of the city is consolidated in a flatter spot towards west after the arrival of Belalcazar and federmán.
In the XIX century (1832) Francisco de Quevedo, father of the Augustinian community, taking advantage of the brook, built a fount in order to supply the area with water. That is how the place takes its name: “Chorro de Quevedo”, since the work as understood, beneficiated many people, as we should remember there was no aqueduct and the water was brought to the houses from the public water streams and sinks, the water bringers used to offer this service at the beginning of the XX century.
This place holds what could be largest transit of pedestrians of the eastern area of the neighbourhood La Candelaria, through this spot go students to their universities, the tourists, the people of the neighbourhood, the people who live there, some people go grocery shopping, the woman who sells arepas also is there, the coffee seller, the one who drinks beer and the one who prefers the “Amarillito”; it is a meeting point for different urban cultures, academics of the architecture, history and anthropology. Here comes the painter and the writer in the search of their Muses, also the poet and the crazy one make of this a very attractive place.
Definitely it a very strong referent for the city, filled with mysticism and stories, it has been also object of many critics, it has been vandalized and others claim not to like it, it has been built big wall in it that some people don’t want and takes us to disagreements, but today more than any other time it is a beloved place, referenced, searched, and why not, desired by many. Some say that it is a part of our live project, some others live nearby it and it is just their neighbourhood, for others it is an opportunity place, but anyways thousands have gone through the sink and remember the antique watering hole and it is a symbol of what we the people from Bogota are: Hard workers, good efforts, and passion for live.