A secret town filled with hidden treasure sounds like something straight out of one of Gabriel Garcia Maquez's novels...and it is. Find out all about the intriguing town that boasts a fairytale history.
Mompox is like something from a fairytale. A small town on an island in the middle of the Magdalena River, it certainly has a rich history. Yet despite its 300 year old existence, it remains - quite literally - a hidden treasure. In the colonial era, its location between the gold mines of Antioquia and the port of Barranquilla meant it became an important merchants hub. The master goldsmiths from the West began to set up workshops and hired local workers to train as apprentices. Its remote location even meant it became a favoured place for wealthy Spaniards and traders to hide their gold and other treasures from pirates.
Today, the goldsmith craft continues but with the majority of the gold and silver now sourced from the Santa Rosa mines in Bolivar. Traditionally, considered 'a man's job', it was only recently that women began learning the unique techniques. We work with Lida and Liliana, the first female goldsmiths in the town. As young girls, they were often caught sneaking into their father's workshop but were told if they pursued their passion, they would never get married. Today, they run the first almost-all female workshop in the town and dedicate themselves to training and inspiring other young women to master the craft.
DID YOU KNOW?
Mompox is the inspiration behind much of the work by Nobel Prize-winning Colombian writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who spent a lot of time there visiting his girlfriend in his youth. In fact, the fictional riverside town of Macondo featured in One Hundred Years Of Solitude is utterly isolated from the outside world for over a hundred years. Ring any bells?