“Mompox doesn’t exist. We sometimes dream of this city, but it doesn’t exist.”
By quoting Simon Bolívar in his novel The General in His Labyrinth, Gabriel Garcia Márquez describes the fate and nimbus of the island town in the Magdalena River as a place of longing which it is for many Colombians.
In fact, the once prosperous river port has been forgotten since the middle of the 19th century, when the Magdalena changed its course and Mompox was cut off from its lifeline by sedimentation.
In the centuries before, Santa Cruz de Mompox was a flourishing port city, handling a considerable part of the goods shipped downstream to the Caribbean ports, including gold and silver.
Mompox’s goldsmithing tradition, which has survived to this day, flourished, and the Catholic orders competed in building their churches.
The beautifully preserved colonial townscape, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995.
For some years now, the Colombian government has been gradually restoring the historic city centre, and the morbid charm of peeling facades has given way to bright colours. A growing number of small hotels and guesthouses as well as several good restaurants are available for the increasing number of visitors.
Many of the tourists are Colombians who finally have the opportunity to travel to the more remote areas of their own country after the end of the civil war.
Nevertheless, the journey to Mompox has remained time consuming and sweaty to this day.
The small town in the so-called Depresión Momposina, surrounded by swamps and canals, is one of the hottest places in Colombia.
The best starting points for a trip to Mompox are Cartagena and Santa Marta.