From a recent trip – these are photos of the servant’s quarters, the kitchen, food stores and the passageways between the working parts of the Quinta and that of the living quarters of Simon Bolivar and his family.
Touring the rooms filled with finery, books and trophies of The Liberator is interesting, but what I find more fascinating are the aspects of life of the lower classes – the working stiffs that actually operated and maintained the quinta – cooking, cleaning, serving and protecting the rich. Getting to see the servant’s quarters and working areas was a real treat.
The origins of the Quinta de Bolívar itself date back to 1670 when the bachelor Pedro Solis Valenzuela donated a portion of land to the church of the Ermita de Monserrate.
The church owned and managed the property until January 29, 1800, when it was sold to the wealthy businessman José Antonio Portocarrero. He immediately began construction of what would hopefully become his second home – and work continued unabated until his death in 1810.
His heirs were unable to make proper maintenance of the quinta because they were in exile for being supporters of the Spanish Crown. By 1819, the year of Colombian independence from Spain, the quinta was in a state of complete disrepair.
After independence, the quinta was bought by the newly independent government as a gift for the liberator Simón Bolívar. Bolívar moved in in 1821 and lived there until 1826.
The quinta has now been restored to represent a snapshot of typical life at the time of Bolivar’s occupation.