Barranquilla is one of Colombia’s best-known cities and is the capital of the province of Atlantico. Situated in the north of the country, on the Caribbean coast, it sits on the western bank of the Magdalena River, some 7.5 kilometres from the point where it empties into the sea, and has a dry, tropical climate. It is not known when Barranquilla was founded, although it gained city status on 7 April 1813.
Barranquilla enjoyed great economic development in the late 19th/early 20th century, when it became known as “Colombia’s Golden Port” due to its status as a trading post through which travellers and goods from all over the world would pass.
It is now home to one of Colombia’s most important festivals of folklore and culture, the Carnival of Barranquilla, which was declared an Event of National Cultural Interest in 2001 and as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2003. This celebration is one the biggest events in a city that is a thriving tourism, business and commercial centre, at its busiest during carnival and at the end of the year.
Its main tourist attractions include Las Bocas de Ceniza (the mouth of the Magdalena River), the Puerto Colombia pier, the city zoo, the cathedral, the Museo del Caribe Culture Park and the Portal del Prado and Buena Vista shopping centres.
Barranquilla is home to two major professional football teams: Atletico Junior, Colombian champions on six occasions, and Barranquilla FC, currently in the Second Division. The better-known of the two clubs at home and abroad, Junior have had some of the country’s leading footballers in their ranks over the years, including Carlos Valderrama.
Aside from hosting some of Colombia’s qualifying matches for the 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals, Barranquilla also staged matches at the 14th National Games in 1992 and the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, provided the venue for the 5th Central American and Caribbean Games in 1946 and hosted some Group A games at the 2001 Copa America.