NORTE DE SANTANDER
This wealthy department is situated in north-eastern Colombia and is bordered in the north and in the east by the Republic of Venezuela. In the south, it is bordered by the departments of Santander and Boyacá and in the west by Santander and Cesar. Its surface area is 21,658 square kilometres.
The territory is divided into two regions: the plains, in the zone of Zulia-Catatumbo, and the mountainous zone on the eastern cordillera
(mountain range). This topography makes the department have a variety of climates.
The most important rivers of the area are Catatumbo, Zulia and Pamplonita.
Norte de Santander's fertile land makes agriculture one of the main sources of income. Industry is also quite important and has developed significantly because of substantial commerce with neighbouring Venezuela. The department has a good network of highways, oil and gas pipelines.
The first conqueror who arrived on Nortesantandereana
soil was the German Ambrosio Alfinger in 1530. An intense Spanish invasion began the following year. The region was populated by the Motilones native tribe, who showed strong resistance to the European conquerors.
Norte de Santander and Santander formed the Sovereign State of Santander, whose capital was the city of Pamplona. The state became a department in 1886 but was divided into two separate political units in 1908. The department of Norte de Santander was created in 1910. At present, Norte de Santander has about 1,464,900 inhabitants.
There are beautiful landscapes in the region such as Los Estoraques Nature Reserve, the Nature Reserve Tama and the Natural National Park Catatumbo-Barí.
Capital: San José de Cúcuta
The city was founded by Antonio Villamizar Pineda on the banks of the Pamplonita River in the land called Guasimal and named San José de Guasimales. A few months later, its name was changed to San José de Cúcuta. Its average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius.
Cúcuta borders Venezuela and so its economy is based mainly on commerce with that country.
This city of great historical value, was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1875. The courage and willingness of the Cucuteños helped reconstruct the city in a very short time. At present it has a population of about 900,000 people.
Among the city's more important places are the House of Culture, the clock tower, the Bank of the Republic and the Julio Pérez Ferro Public Library, where many cultural activities take place.
There are very impressive monuments and sculptures such as La Columna de Bolívar
, Monumento Padilla, Monumento a Cristo Rey
, Monument to Father Rafael García Herreros
and many others.
There are also many pretty parks and places of recreation such as El Malecón
, on the banks of the Pamplonita River, excellent restaurants, numerous discotheques and nightclubs. The city has very good hotels.